Best Techniques

Fly Fishing

While it is possible to catch bonefish with artificial lures and live bait, most experienced bonefish anglers will target them with fly fishing gear.  Floating line and sinking flies are preferred for targeting the shallow water bonefish on the flats.  Choosing the weight of the fly is very important.  If your fly doesn’t sink fast enough, bonefish will just swim by your fly as it sits too high in the water column.  If the fly sinks too fast, your fly will end up getting caught up in the turtle grass.  Since most anglers are fishing in only a foot or two of water in most situations, the biggest factor in choosing the weight of the fly will be the wind and the currents.

There are so many different flies on the market that will work for bonefish.  Some of the top anglers will actually tie their own flies.  Some of the best flies do a good job of imitating a shrimp or small crab, although, there are some great flies on the market that do not imitate either food source.  Keep an open mind and feel free to experiment with several different flies to see what works best for you.

Still Fishing

Still fishing is a popular way to fish the flats when you are in a good area, but you can’t quite sight fish the way you would like.  Cast a lively shrimp out and have it sit on the bottom while you wait for a bite.  Depending on how much current you have, you can probably get away with some lighter weights due to the shallow water you will most likely be fishing.

Sight Fishing

Sight fishing is the most popular way to target bonefish on the flats.  Most anglers will search for the fish first, then make a cast.  You can do this by wading the shallow flats or by having a partner maneuver your flats boat throughout the flats with a push pole.  A good pair of polarized sunglasses will help you spot more fish.  Once you spot a bonefish, it is very important to be able to make an accurate cast to where you think they are going to be, not where they currently are located.  Bonefish move fast and often, so anticipation of where they will be once your bait hits the water is essential to catching more fish.  Sunny days are definitely better than cloudy days for sight fishing.  You can fish with live bait, artificial lures or flies while sight fishing for bonefish.