While some may prefer to stalk those big singles and doubles on the flats, often times schooling bonefish allow us to stay in the action, especially on those low visibility days. However, it can be overwhelming to approach a school of bonefish in the hundreds knowing that the wrong cast could send so many fish in the opposite direction.
Don’t worry, we all blow shots, but here’s a few tips to stick a few more out of the bunch.
Before making your cast, do your best to establish which direction the school is moving. Just as you would lead a single fish, attempt to lead the outer edge of the school. It is crucial to determine this direction beforehand to reduce the chance of landing your fly line into the middle of the group.
Follow the Leader
We’re not entirely sure why, but often times the leading fish in the school is the largest. If time is on your side and visibility allows, try to spot the big boy in the group and target him as you would a single fish.
Aim Small Miss Small
In the event that the visibility does not allow you to pick out the biggest fish in the bunch, it is still important to pick out a target, even if it is no more than a dark silhouette or a specific corner of the school. Often times, anglers will get excited when confronted with a school of fish and throw directly into the middle of the bunch. However, the fly line that lands in the middle of the school may as well be a frying pan at that point.
Try a Heavier Fly
Unlike singles and doubles, schooling bonefish are often very aggressive. It is not uncommon to present a fly in front of a small school of bonefish in which several fish race each other to take the offering. Because of this, it can be helpful to use a heavier fly to get down to the strike zone as quickly as possible. Due to their sheer numbers, schooling bonefish seem to be far less ‘spooky’ than most singles and doubles. Therefore, the added splash from the heavier fly shouldn’t pose much of a problem.