In search of Trophy Bonefish
We have had a stretch of bad weather for at least a week. Rain, wind, more wind and clouds. Pretty much par for the course this time of year. Mother nature is fickle, we know this, and never more so than during her transition from winter to spring. Often we go from Winter to Spring to Summer in one week but March has been different. Finally, we got what seemed to be a small window and we just had to go. Jason joined me for a trip in which we had one goal, a trophy class bonefish.
We decided to take a later start and fish more banker’s hours since we knew there would be very few boats on the water, we were right. The wind was blowing, and it was going to be a bibs and jacket kind of day. I prefer less than perfect weather, less people on the water. Due to the wind direction Foss and I put together a game plan while we idled out. Once we reached that last marker, we battened down the hatches and let her eat.
Small Bonefish Warmup
Or first stop put us into fish. It was a little slow going but the numbers increased as we expected throughout the tide. Sadly, many of these fish were small but we are not about to turn our nose up at any fish. Jason used two of these smaller bonefish as a hopeful warmup of sorts. It is always nice to see smaller, active fish.
We pushed on. Approaching from a distance was a giant fish. It was one of those fish you think, no way, for a split second while your brain catches up to what your eyes see. Even Jason who is a cool customer was a little puckered up. I can’t blame him. If this doesn’t get you going, find a new gig. Jason takes his shot. It is on a dime, but the big bonefish just isn’t interested. Another 15 minutes and time to move.
The middle of the day was slow. We made several stops and had a few shots but not exactly what we wanted. Nothing a little break and cigar can’t fix! I knew we had a limited time and only a few stops left so we had to pull out all the stops.
The next stop did not pan out, so we pushed all our chips to the middle of the table and made a run.
We pulled up to the last flat and began to pole. Almost immediately we were greeted by a pair of tails. They were crossing our bow but out at a distance, so I did not want to race up to them. We had a few close shots at little fish, but Foss really wanted his shot at the big bonefish, so we carefully worked around the smaller fish. There really is nothing like seeing tailing bonefish over lush grass. It is certainly one of the harder shots but worth it when it all comes together.
Three big fish approached, backs out of the water at 11 o’clock. “Foss, you got to play the wind on this one a little.” His first shot was a little too cautious, so he burned it back to set up his next one. A little side arm to keep the jig low was all he needed. The jig landed softly in front of the inside fish and with a bit of commotion, he was tight. All three fish lit of that flat. Exit hard stage right. The sound of line cutting in the water across the bow is just incredible.
I’m hoofing now, trying to guard against that fish leaving the flat. Thankfully, he stays up and Foss has his hands full. One long run followed by another. The cool water kept this fish energized and I closed the gap before hopping to assist with landing her. I grabbed the tape measure so we could get a length x girth on her while in the water. One quick photo was all we needed and off she went.
Big Bonefish in Hand
Foss got it done with a walk off. I still had half a cigar to properly celebrate on the way back to the ramp. The Bonefish Tarpon Trust calculator put her at 11.44lb which is Jason’s biggest to date.
A great day in less-than-ideal conditions really made for a great memory.
From The Endless Flat,