Posts Tagged ‘Best Bonefishing’

Winter Bonefishing Revisited – Drop That Snow Shovel!

September 26, 2014

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s August “Conservation Captain of the Month” is veteran guide Capt. Bob Branham. Bob fishes the Key Biscayne and South Biscayne Bay areas and has been guiding for 35 years.  When asked to tell a favorite fishing story, he recalled a day of cold water bonefishing, excerpted from the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Blog below (read the full blog here: http://blog.bonefishtarpontrust.org/?p=2619). Bob’s story couldn’t help but remind us of Doug Schlink’s Blog post on Winter Bonefishing in the Bahamas (https://angleradventures.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/bonefishing-in-winter-water-temps/).

(BTT) Tell us one (or two) of your favorite fishing stories.

(BB)  Years ago in March we had a strong cold front pass through. It was a sunny and windless day but the air temp was low 30′s- I had ice on my windshield when I got in my car. My customer was from Toronto and when he showed up I told him it was a no-go – water temp was 54 deg. and there was no way we would see a bonefish. He looked at me and said that he had to get out of the house as his kids were out of control and his wife had some honey-do’s lined up if he stayed home. He mentioned that it looked like a beautiful day to him – he was in shorts. I put on my down parka and off we went. We were headed south in hopes of maybe catching a ‘cuda or something and when I got to Stiltsville, I couldn’t believe it. Bonefish mud was all over this flat. It seemed like every bonefish in the Bay was there, feeding hard. We stayed on that flat all day and hooked 30 fish on fly – none was less than 7 lbs. It did warm up a bit. Air temps hit 65 deg. and water temps came up to the low 60′s. – still way too low for bonefish or so I used to think.

So, if you’re interested in BIG bonefish, and being shin-deep on a tropical flat waving a fly rods sounds more appealing than being knee-deep in your driveway schlepping a snow shovel, check out our Bahamas Lodges at http://www.angleradventures.com/Bahamas.htm, give us a call at 800-628-1447 / 860-434-9624, or drop us an email at info@angleradventures.com.

Winter Bonefish

Winter Bonefishing.

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Go Small. Go Light. Go Weedless.

October 11, 2013

Bonefish on Grass Flats

Go Small.  Go Light.  Go Weedless.

by Chip Bates

You can encounter tailing fish on any fertile bottom, but weedy bottoms hold the most prey, therefore the most fish. Big fish seem more comfortable feeding in the shallows over a dark bottom.  Click here for tips on Shallow Water, Tailing Fish.

The end of the outgoing and beginning of the incoming brings the skinniest water that’s when you’ll find fish tailing over the weeds. To catch them, you’ll need a fly that doesn’t “plop” when it hits the water: go small.

A tailing fish is focused on a small area.  Frequently he’ll create a cloud of sand or mud where he’s feeding. You must put the fly in the area where’s he’s rooting, a matter of inches from his nose. You must throw a fly that doesn’t spook him when it lands: go light.

Once the fly lands in front of the fish, let it sink, then give it the tiniest of strips: go weedless.

Without a weed guard, your fly will invariably snag on grass and stripping a fly that’s hooked on a weed is like drag on a dry fly.  Click Here for Tips on Tailing Fish over Weedy Bottoms.

There are loads of excellent flies for bonefishing in skinny water, but our number one fly is the Bunny Bone when we need to go small, light or weedless.  Having a variety of Bunny Bones in your fly box is a necessity, especially when wading for bonefish.  Tan or brown (tied with tan or pink thread) rabbit fur tail with a little gold Mylar and mono eyes are top producing colors.  It’s also a great fly in slightly deeper water with small or medium bead chain eyes, instead of mono.  Try adding crazy legs and don’t forget the weed guard!  Click here for more information on tying bonefish flies, including the Bunny Bone.

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St Brandon’s Atoll Bonefishing

July 19, 2012

FlyCastaway has arrived in Connecticut and we’ve been enjoying spending some quality time with Gerhard and hearing him speak about the fishing programs.  You may not have heard, but St Brandon’s has been described as the finest bonefishing in the world.  We know it’s a tall order to fill, since there are excellent fisheries like North Riding Point, that produce quality numbers of double digit bonefish each year.  An excerpt from a FlyCastaway’s description of the May 11 – 20, 2012 trip to St. Brandon’s.  

The week started off with an absolute bang, the neap tides meant we had ample time to fish some of our Bonefish hotspots and we literally climbed into the monsters St Brandon’s has become renowned for. Simply put, the fishing was off the charts! Each day at least one team would return home with an image of a weighed double digit Bonefish. For those not in the know, most dedicated saltwater anglers will go his entire lifetime without ever holding a 10lb fish….and we were doing it on a daily basis. By the end of the week we racked up no less than ten fish, which weighed over the 10lb mark, two of which were eleven pounds!

The average size was equally impressive, and when guys started putting their noses up at eight pounders we had to give them a little pep talk. Something along the lines of “each fish is special” and “you don’t know when you’ll get this opportunity again”. Added to this we had some scary good sight fishing for these hogs as they tailed in water no deeper than our gravel guards …

The “schooling” bonefish are in the 6 – 7 pound class, one or two 4-pound bonefish may be the smallest bonefish you’ll see, and there are bones there pushing 14-pounds.  Oh, the fishing is 100% wading and there are only 8 anglers fishing these flats every other week over two 3-month seasons each year. If you love bonefishing, this might just be having your cake and eating it too!

Nice Bonefish from St. Brandon's Atoll

Bonefishing in Winter Water Temps

September 28, 2011

One of the top 3 questions we get asked is, “When is the best time to go bonefishing?”  While the answer varies on the anglers’ expectations and their destination, here’s a good argument for fishing the winter months by Doug Schlink of Angler Adventures

For years I’ve heard that you shouldn’t go bonefishing in the winter months (December, January, February, even March) because of the risk of cold fronts.  I’ve also heard and read that bonefish are temperature sensitive and it’s futile to fish in water temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Hogwash!  In 25 years of booking bonefish trips and making plenty of them myself, I’d like to offer my “observations” on the subject.   While I haven’t adhered to strict scientific doctrine, I always carry a stream thermometer on bonefish trips and check water temps frequently.  And in my opinion, it’s more important which direction the water temperature is moving. 

Yes, when a cold front pushes in and chills the water temps on the flats below 68 – 70 degrees, bonefish will start moving off the flats if they feel the temperature dropping, into deeper, warmer water.  It’s generally accepted (and I agree) that smaller bonefish are more sensitive to cooler water temps and the bigger boys will stay up on the flats feeding longer with dropping water temps (and be the first to return on rising temps).   I know a few trophy bone hunters who go in January so they won’t have to weed through the smaller fish!  As the water temp continues to drop, the bigger fish will also move off into deeper, warmer water.  But I’ve witnessed bigger fish feeding on the flat until temps hit 65 degrees.   If the temp continues to drop or holds steady at less than 65, fishing will be slow.

However, bonefish need to eat, and by design, they take their nourishment on the fertile, food-rich flats.   Deep water is Slim Pickens for a bonefish so they don’t like to stay there long.  It’s been my observation, that even when air temperatures are in the low to mid-60’s, if the sun is out, the flats will soak up the sun’s radiant heat and warm quickly.  As soon as the bones sense the water temperature is rising, they will return to the flats and feed voraciously.  And the fishing can actually be fantastic.  I’ve experienced this on numerous occasions, but perhaps the best example took place in late February on Grand Bahama a few years ago.   

North Riding Point Guide Bully with a Huge winter bonefish

Notice the Fleece? And the 14 lb January Bonefish?

My fishing buddy, Mark Hatter and I arrived during a “cold front”.   The water temperature on the flat was 63-64 degrees our first morning.   But the sun was strong, and the flat was soaking in the radiant heat, and the water temp was rising.  We barely got line stripped off our reels before we were making shots at hungry bones.   The sun held and the water temperature continued to slowly rise (I checked it several times during the day), and the bones fed like gluttons all day!   At 3:30 pm as we reeled in, I checked the temperature one last time – 69 degrees.  We had boated 32 bones, all between 5 and 9 ½ pounds, and the water temp never even hit 70 degrees!  It was a spectacular day of high quality bonefishing – in the dead of winter, on the tail of a cold front – when you’re not supposed to go! 

I’ve had other similar experiences that support my position.  And on the flip side, I’ve lost fishing days to wind and sideways rain in April and May, so called “prime time”.   The weather can bite you in the tail anytime.   The guy who said, “the best time to go fishing is when you can get away”, may have known something the “experts” didn’t!   So…Fear Not Winter Bonefishing!  You might just hit some of the best bonefishing you’ve ever had!

Want to learn more about bonefishing bonefishing in the winter months or go on a winter bonefishing trip – Call Doug in the Angler Adventures office (800-628-1447 / 860-434-9624) or email Doug@AnglerAdventures.com.


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