Recently your humble editor blew a shot at bonefish, a big bonefish in fact, and here’s what he learned..
Don’t Get Tunnel Vision!
What exactly do we mean? Consider the following scenario..
It’s early morning and the sun has yet to reach it’s ideal position in the sky. Visibility is good, but only when facing away from the light. Unfortunately, due to the given tide, the bonefish are expected to travel from the other direction, hidden by the glare, making a fish that’s already difficult too see nearly impossible to spot through the surface of the water.
You walk slowly along the flat attempting not to step on the very fish you’re trying to fool, when all of a sudden, a bright flash catches your attention..
A tail, a big tail at that, breaks the surface of the water dispersing sunlight like a prism. “This ain’t no ordinary bonefish,” you think to yourself. “This one’s a day maker.”
You begin closing in, careful not to take your eyes away from your target in fear that it will disappear underneath the blanket of glare. You make it within an honest distance of a shot, drop your fly, and begin your cast. After only a few false casts you let it fly, and your line, leader, and fly unroll softly within a perfect 18 inches of the fish’s nose, and WOOSH – The water erupts in a huge splash.. The fish is gone.
What happened? Good cast, good presentation, so what gives?
Although you made a great cast, your fly line landed on top of fish you didn’t even notice between you and your target.. It happens all the time on the flats, especially on days with tough visibility. Therefore, before making your shot its important to..
Check Your Line of Sight
When making a shot at a bonefish, especially a big bonefish, it’s easy to get tunnel vision – diverting all your focus on the target fish without considering what else is swimming around between you and your target.
Remember, whether it be other bonefish, barracuda, a school of shad, or any other critters lurking around, spooking other fish in the general vicinity will most likely spook the fish you’re after. So, before making your shot, take a second to evaluate what else is in the area.
Sure, there are times when your only option is to deliver your fly as quickly as possible.. However, if you have the time (think feeding or tailing fish), use it to your advantage and make the best shot possible.
Patience is a virtue, and sometimes your best move is to wait for a better shot to unfold.