Bonefish Fishing Basics

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Bonefish are found on shallow water flats and seagrass beds.

How to Catch Bonefish

Most anglers sight fish for bonefish on the flats while wading or being poled along on a flats boat.  They spook easily making them tough to approach.  To consistently catch bonefish, you must have good vision or be with someone that has good vision so you can see the fish before you spook them.  Once you see the fish, you have to make a precise cast to get a strike.  Fly rods and spinning rods are most commonly used.  Shrimp and crabs are the most popular baits; however, many fishermen use artificials such as jigs and flies.

Eating Bonefish

Bonefish are edible, however, most anglers practice catch and release with bonefish.

Fishing the Flats for Bonefish

Bonefish are one of the most exciting fish to target on the flats.  They do not grow as large as some other species, but bonefish can pull line off a spool like no other fish found on the flats.  When fishing on the flats for bonefish, anglers must have good vision and good casting ability.  Without these, it’s going to be very difficult to catch bonefish.

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How the Tides Affect Bonefish

The tides definitely play a role in where, when and how bonefish will feed.  Moving water typically helps improve the bite, just like with other fish that are caught on the flats.  Some popular bonefish destinations don’t have large tidal changes, so you will not find tons of current here, but the incoming and outgoing tides will still trigger bonefish to feed.  The high tide usually offers better fishing opportunities.  Bonefish will move onto the flats with the high tide and you can catch bonefish on either side of the high tide.  During the low tide, water levels may be too low on some of the flats to find bonefish.  If you can find some flats that still have some water during the low tide, you can still catch some fish.

How Cold Weather Affects Bonefish

The cold weather months of December, January and February can make the fishing somewhat difficult for bonefish.  During the warmer days in the winter, bonefish will still be found on the flats and they will be feeding.  The cold fronts that come in will push bonefish off the flats and it will be very difficult to find any fish to target.


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