Bonefish Blues

Bonefish Blues

Tracy&James | Sunday, 28 June 2020

I am missing Bonefishing – I’m wondering when I will be able to go catch a bonefish or two! For the last couple of decades or so, James and I have had a trip somewhere in the world where we can fish for bones. This will be the first year when we have not been able to do so.

I’m thinking this as I doubt we will be able to organise a trip somewhere later in the year. Currently due to the potential 14 day quarantine rules everywhere when you arrive, any planned holiday could take quite a bit longer than the actual fishing trip. There’s also the potentially expensive flight costs and the likelihood of countries having a second spike and further lockdown measures occurring which means the risks associated in booking are high.

So all I do now is look through my past Bonefishing trips and reminisce. The first time I went salt water fly fishing was ~21 years ago in Cayman Islands; I didn’t catch anything whereas James caught a jack and cast at some decent sized tarpon. I remember going to a waterside restaurant where the tarpon would congregate and feed on the scraps from the kitchen; diners could look over the wall and watch these huge fish feed. I know it was that long ago as we were there for my friend’s wedding and she celebrated her 20th anniversary last year.

Following this, we went to Mexico and had a couple of guided days; again I didn’t catch anything mainly as my fly casting in the wind wasn’t up to the job back then. The guide was amazing as he took us out on the second day for the whole day, dawn to dusk, and James caught his first bonefish near the Boca Paila bridge.

I caught my first bonefish on Eleuthera, a Bahamian island, after advice from friends in my local fly fishing shop (still our favourite family run tackle shop). They gave us details on where to DiY fish, plus where to stay and eat. I also worked on my casting, learning to cast much better in the wind. Although during our first trip to the Bahamas I only caught 3 bonefish, lost a few and cast at many more, I was as hooked on fishing for them as James. I found that I would often strike up (like trout fishing) when the bone took my fly, rather than strip, so this was something I realised I needed to work on. Also being accurate was essential to getting a take, so another aspect of casting I would need to practice.

Since then, I have significantly improved my casting, learnt to double haul and had James running around a field, pretending to be a fish, so I could practice my accuracy casting. The fault of striking took a bit longer to resolve as in between the saltwater trips I would fish for trout where ‘striking’ becomes a bit of a habit.  

James and I have fished in many more Bahamian islands, Mexico, UAE, Honduras and on Kiribati in the Pacific for bonefish, and lots of other species, every year, so to not have the opportunity to fish for them this year is really frustrating. I’ll have to plan for more trips in the next few years to make up for this one – Covid dependent of course.

In the meantime, James is recovering from his injury, so he is now able to drive and fish the local rivers, which he did yesterday.  I hope to join him soon to fish for trout and grayling in the beautiful welsh rivers set in stunning scenery – so I think I will cope.

Whatever you plan to do this year, stay safe and tight lines,