Today we’re kicking off a 3-part series of guest posts from our friend Michael Gracie. He’s the man behind michaelgracie.com, a veteran of FIBFest at Andros South, and a guy who thinks about angling more than your average bear.
Like he’s thought about how bonefishing improves your other fishing, and that’s what this series is all about.
How Bonefishing Can Improve Your Day on the Stream
“I wouldn’t mind going bonefishing, but it really would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool trout fisherman after all.”
A few years later I’m floating down this river, the wind is howling, and the guide is cranking the oars hard to get the boat into very specific positions. My eyes (and my arm) are working overtime, while the guide barks out very specific orders. The conditions are challenging to say the least, yet nothing is going wrong. We are into some very (VERY) fine trout, a situation I can’t help but attribute (at least in part) to lessons learned on the bonefish flats.
Read on to get the gist.
Situational Comedy, but Subtract the Comedy and Add Awareness
I know my fair share of saltwater guides, but not one of them has ever mentioned how much they love getting hit in the back with a speeding fly. What weirdos!
When you are out on the flats, there is nothing behind you for you to smack on your back cast, except the guide on the poling platform. Unlike trees, bushes, and canyon walls, however, guides scream ouch! You can draw blood from a guide, as well as piss them off enough that they want to take you back to the dock (if you hit them enough times).
When you’re trout fishing, the wind is generally blowing a certain way, you’re casting a certain way, and when you hit that bush the worst that happens is you snag a fly on a branch and have to waste time retrieving it. In the salt, the guide is poling you across a jagged flat, the target may be anywhere from eight o’clock to four, and the wind almost always seems to be hitting you in the face. Except when it’s hitting you in the ear, or the back of your neck. It may just be coming from all directions, simultaneously.
Learning to make the cast on the flats – being able to change the fly line’s direction in a split second while the boat spins, and not hit the guide – means being keenly aware of what’s going on around you, and at all times. That court presence won’t by itself guarantee you a fat bonefish.
But you will drastically reduce the number of flies you lose in those trees behind you from here on out.
Next week Michael’s series continues, with some thoughts on how Reading is Fundamental.