Biggest Surprise Bonefishing

Bonefish in Clear Water
The clarity of the water? Photo: Tosh Brown

One of our favorite questions to ask guests after a trip is “What surprised you the most?”

We find we get some really insightful answers, and, frankly, we learn a lot about what we may be missing when we describe what our trips are all about.

So today, we fire that question your way! ¬†Those of you who have been bonefishing, think back to your first trip…

What surprised you most about bonefishing?  Leave us a comment and let us the world know!

More on Bonefishing


  1. Rip Woodin says

    My first trip to the tropics was to Turneffe Flats 5-6 years ago. I was hooked immediately. My casting was passable but the biggest problem was seeing the fish. I generally had to cast in the general direction the guide suggested. This was okay in a large school of smallish fish where one would usually hit. But it was much more problematic trying to see cruising permit on the same trip. Wish there was a video that would teach you to see fish, whether in salt or freshwater.

  2. Reese says

    – I was surprised how cool I was in May and June on the water or wading. The trade winds were steady and the water was 68-75. An occasional shower gave me a chill.
    – The colors were almost too much.
    – As Rip says, training yourself to see the fish was a trip. I figured initially I saw about 50 pct of what the guide saw and he probably saw about 60-70 pct of the fish that passed us. Eventually, somehow your mind or subconscious learns to see something, even if it isn’t the full fish. A shadow, a wake or busy water or the glint of a fin, or an eye. Singles and doubles are the hardest to pick out. Schools are easy. Then you start seeing other fish beside bones, sharks and barracuda.
    – I knew I needed to learn to cast but just didn’t know how badly I needed to till I had to deal with quick casts in the wind.
    – Less is better with gear in these environs. Just the essentials which includes a couple bottles of water if you’re wading.
    – The sun and salt can really take it out of you even with protective clothing and sun block.

  3. Lawrence says

    The agresiveness of the fish while feeding. They reminded me of a swarm of Me109’s in formation pouncing the enemy.

  4. Bruce Mahony says

    I game fished for about 18 years and have caught my fair share of big and fast pelagics, I could not believe how quickly a fish this size could turn and accelerate so hard in ankle to calf deep water on 8wt fly gear and make that initial 100+ metre run. It just blew me away. That’s why I will continue to go back to Kiritimati (Christmas Is). It’s even better knowing all of the Bones you’ve caught were on flies you had tied.

  5. Andrew Dober says

    What surprised me the most was how quiet it was out on the flats. The guys I fish with did a great job of prepping me on all the expectations of fly fishing for bonefish. I was prepared for the sightfishing, seeing schools, seeing tailers, seeing other fish, the speed of the bonefish, casting from the boat, wading, etc….but what I really noticied when I got out there was how quiet it is. I love the silence. You hear the occasional splash off in the distance, and you can actually listen to the wind. Its incredible and hard to describe. Almost like going back in time, and totally “off the grid” You have to experience it.

  6. Mike D says

    A shark or sharks ate a few of my hooked bonefish including my biggest. I have photo proof showing me holding half a bonefish. I live and fish in South Florida, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

  7. Dennis Poulin says

    The single thing that surprised me the most was just the raw speed of a 5lb bonefish running well into my backing. I learned quickly that if there was anything anywhere hanging loose for the line to catch on… it would. And it was interesting to come to grips with the difference between a delicate presentation on a trout stream with a 5wt and having to learn to double haul quickly and shoot 80’…. highly addictive sport…

  8. MGP - Canada says

    First bonefish outing was several years ago with an experienced friend out of Provo, Turks & Caicos. Now after many outings – Turks + Bahamas + Florida Keys – what stands out for me is the’hunting’ aspect. Since a youngster I’ve enjoyed hunting. Tracking. Sneaking in for the shot. Searching for nests & dens & cover & such … Wading is my preferred method by far – searching for those singles & pairs … Zeroing in on them, stalking closer. My friend (Still fish with him.) told me that first morning, “You have to walk like a heron.” … I’ve flushed a lot of fish trying to be quiet, to go slow, trying to make it look like I’m not even there … I’ve watched a lot of herons since that day. Flats bonefishing while wading is my favourite fishing by far ….

  9. Kyle Shea says

    Awesome MGP! Couldn’t agree with you more, there’s certainly something special about stalking bonefish on foot. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Aubrey says

    Thinking back on my first bonefish trip, one word comes to mind: SPEED! Nothing I had read adequately prepared me for how fast a 2lb bonefish can get into your backing. I think the second thing that I did not expect was that they aren’t terribly difficult to catch. Finally, I think I underestimated how much fun I would have as well as the extent to which my fishing horizons would be irrevocably altered by that first screaming bonefish run. The fish gods are capricious. They give us permit to haunt our dreams. And they give us bonefish to sustain our need for something that is actually within the range of our ability.

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