If you’re fighting a bonefish and things get screwy, try releasing pressure on the fish so you can deal with the screwiness.
After the initial mayhem of the hook set and the first run or two, bonefish tend to fight instinctively against the pressure of the fly in their mouth. That’s normally good – you want to tire them enough that you can land them quickly. You pull and they pull back, they gradually get closer, you land them and release them quickly, and all is good with the world.
But if you’ve got the fish hooked and you drop your rod towards the fish, that releases most of the pressure on the fish and, amazingly, most of the time they’ll just settle down and swim around slowly. That can he handy if things get screwy, like in these situations.
- The little scenario picture above – on the initial run your line tangled and you’re left with a knot in your fly line. Release the pressure, the fish calms down, your boat buddy unties the knot for you, and you proceed with your battle.
- This one’s the good kind of screwy. While you’re fighting your fish, a shot at another fish presents itself. You want to minimize the ruckus caused by your bonefish blazing back and forth on the flat. Just release the pressure so your fish calms down and your buddy gets a decent shot.
- Your fish runs underneath the boat, taking your fly line with him. Release the pressure, walk calmly to the other side of the boat – and now all is good with the world.
Now this is not exactly a risk-free proposition. Since you’re fishing a barbless hook (right?), while the pressure’s off you may be slightly increasing the chances of the fly getting shaken loose. But you’re probably still better off than fighting the fish with the tangle in your line, or fighting the fish underneath the boat, or blowing your buddy’s shot, right?
Give it a try!