Everybody knows that bonefish tail, right? And everybody knows that it’s cool when bonefish tail, because…well, because it’s cool. And everybody knows why bonefish tail, right?
We weren’t so sure about that last one, so we asked Bruce Chard, veteran guide and Bonefishing School Instructor, for a quick explanation of exactly what’s happening when that bonefish’s tail pops up through the surface of a flat.
Why Bonefish Tail – What’s Going On There?
When a bonefish sees a crab or something else tasty on the bottom of a flat, often the bonefish will pin the crab’s body to the bottom with his nose. In order to do that, the bonefish has to lift the back end of his body up, creating leverage to pin the crab to the bottom and start the feeding process.
Once the upcoming meal is pinned, the bonefish will turn its head to the side so it can align its mouth with the crab’s body. He sucks the crab in and mouths the crab into his crushers, which crush the hard crab shell. His tongue separates the shell from the meat, and he spits the shells out and swallows the meat, all in about two seconds.
The process is basically the same with little shells and snails – food gets sucked in, and the crusher and tongue separate the shell from the meat. With shrimp it’s a little bit different – they eat the whole shrimp but they use their crusher to kill it.
When this process is done is shallow enough water, you’ll see the bonefish’s tail and possibly back, come out of the water. It’s all about leverage necessary in the feeding process!