We talk all the time about getting ‘down and dirty‘ when fighting big fish – fighting with the rod tip low and to the side. Doing so allows the rod to bend deep into the butt section, where the most power is, enabling you to put the heat on big hard-fighting fish.
The down and dirty approach works really well for putting maximum pressure on hefty fish where there’s plenty of water to work with, but when fighting fish on shallow flats it’s the last thing you want to do!
At Andros South, we’re really lucky to target bonefish in some pretty shallow water, sometimes no more than a few inches deep. Fighting with the rod tip low causes more fly line to drag through the water, thus increasing your chances of rubbing on an errant mud mound, coral head, or submerged mangrove shoot. Couple that with a bonefish’s tendency to rub his nose in the sand to dislodge a foreign object (yes, really) and you’ve got a whole bunch of ways to come unbuttoned.
Instead, when putting the wood to a bonefish in shallow water, keep your rod tip high in order to clear as much line out of the water as possible, as well as keep his nose out of the mud. Just remember, the higher your rod tip, the less pressure you’re able to exert on the fish, so pull hard!