When fishing for bonefish from a flats skiff, it’s common practice to strip a generous amount of fly line off of your reel onto either the deck, or better yet, the floor behind you as you hold the fly in your non-casting hand. We call it the ready position, but in case you’re not sure what we mean, check out our post on it, here. Or, check out our post on a more advanced ready position, here.
One thing we see a lot of at Andros South are anglers hopping onto the bow of the skiff and stripping off nearly their entire fly line onto the deck. It’s easy to think that you might as well strip a bunch of line off ‘just in case.’ However, unless you can accurately cast 100 feet of fly line AND are able to spot bonefish 100 plus feet out, it usually causes more problems than it solves. It’s important to be honest with yourself about how much line you can control as well as the distance you can actually see on a given day, and only strip off the appropriate amount of line. Here’s why:
- More line means more tangles. There’s nothing worse than gearing up for a shot at a trophy fish to discover a tangle in your fly line. The more line you have coiled up in the boat, the more chances you have to develop a tangle.
- More line means more line to get on the real. The most vulnerable part of any fish fight occurs from the time when the hook is set to the moment you get the fish on the reel. At Andros South, a majority of our shots are only around the 30-40 foot range. Therefore if you have 80 feet of line off of the real, that means after the hook set you have 40-50 feet of line to ‘deal with.’ That’s a lot of time for the fish to throw the hook, especially if he runs at you.
- A good presentation is better than distance. It doesn’t matter how far you can cast if the leader and fly line ends up in a heap above your fly. A cast that is a few feet short but easily turns over your fly, leaving your line straight, is far more productive. Your cast is only effective to the distance you can put your fly, not how much line shoots out the rod tip.
More Bonefishing Tips