Fly fishing for bonefish is extremely visual. Stalk the fish, spot your target, and make your cast. Blind casting is virtually non-existent and its this feeling of ‘hunting’ that make bonefish so sought after by anglers.
Therefore it’s no surprise that weather (or more importantly, light) plays a big part when chasing bonefish. Bright sunny days illuminate the flats creating a contrast between the fish and the bottom, making fish much easier to see. Unfortunately, when the clouds roll in, the exact opposite happens and seeing fish (let alone catching them) can become difficult.
That’s not to say it can’t be done though! Here are 6 tips for bonefishing when the lights go out.
Bonefishing on Cloudy Days – 6 Tips
- Look Short. On cloudy days, visibility is going to be limited. Therefore, there’s no use wasting time trying to spot fish a long ways off. Instead, be honest with yourself and concentrate only as far as you can make out the bottom given the conditions.
- Focus on the Surface. In low light conditions, pay special attention to the surface of the water, particularly in shallow areas. Tails, ripples, or other ‘nervous water’ breaking the surface is sometimes your best bet for locating fish in the worst conditions.
- Try More Sizzle. We’re not quite sure why, but on cloudy days our bonefish seem to really like flies with a little extra sizzle – flash, rubber legs, hot spots, or any other attention getting elements. We like to think it helps to grab their attention on an otherwise dull backdrop, but hey, we don’t speak ‘fish’.. Otherwise, we’d just ask!
- Go For a Walk. When the light is really tough, often times our guides will opt to fish on foot rather than from the boat. The rationale? With limited shots at close range, two anglers are able to fish as opposed to only one when fishing from the boat, thus increasing your chances. Plus, considering most shots will be in tight, its a lot easier to sneak up on fish on foot than it is with three guys piled into a flats skiff. Regardless, clouds or no clouds, wading for bonefish is just plain awesome.
- Walk Slower. When fishing on foot, its important to walk slower on a cloudy day than you might otherwise on a bright sunny day. With decreased visibility, you may not be able to see fish until they’re fairly close, and by walking too fast you risk spooking fish before you even know they’re there!
- Use Lighter Lenses. Sunglasses with light tinted lenses are a great tool for fishing in cloudy conditions. Yellow, amber, or rose colored polarized lenses like Smith’s Ignitor lenses do a great job at increasing contrast and visibility in low light and really can make a big difference.