You spotted your bonefish, made a beautiful cast despite the wind, retrieved your fly at just the right pace to get the follow, and the fish took the fly. You even fought the urge to trout set, and instead strip set the fly making a solid connection. Fish on! Although you did everything right, your trophy bonefish had other plans and just headed into the mangroves – what now?
Often times bonefish will try their best when spooked or hooked to run straight for the mangroves, as this is an easy safe haven from predators at higher water levels. We hear many stories here at Andros South about the fish of the day being lost because he headed into the mangroves.
If you see your fish headed towards the mangroves, by all means put as much pressure as you can on them in order to encourage them to change direction. However some fish, especially big fish, are not able to be turned on the first or second run. If this is the case, and a bonefish takes you into the mangroves, try this.
Loosen the drag on your reel down as much as possible without causing it to backlash. Allow the fish to take as much line as it wants to. Since there is hardly any tension on your line, the fish is much less likely to break you off. This may also cause the fish to slow down as it gives the impression that it is no longer being pulled against. As the fish begins to tire, work with your guide or fishing buddy to slowly pick up your line that is tangled up in the mangroves as you approach the fish.
It’s always best to keep bonefish out of the mangroves whenever possible. However, should you find yourself with a big boy who takes you in deep, try loosening up – it might save the day!