As anyone who has done a bit of flats fishing can tell you, bonefish can be a spooky fish. Seeing as how many predators swim in the waters where bonefish live, its no surprise they seem a little ‘on edge’ most of the time.
However, not only are bonefish constantly on the lookout for predators under the surface of the water, they must also be weary of predators from above as well. Birds eat bonefish, which sheds light on the reason they often spook on a poor presentation.
Sure, we’re all aware that a loud slap of the fly, leader, or fly line on the surface of the water will send a bonefish running. But, so can the subtle flash of a leader, the shadow of a fly line, or the spray unrolling from a wet line and leader when false casted directly over the fish. Each does a great job to imitate a bird over head, and bonefish don’t tend to eat flies if they think they’re about to be scarfed up into the sky.
Therefore, if you must false cast (the fewer the better, of course), try false casting just short of your target, and shoot the remaining last few feet when presenting the fly. Doing so will keep the fly line and leader from flying over head, placing only the fly in the fish’s field of view.