Fast and accurate casting is essential for making the most of your bonefishing trip. You have to be able to cast the distance for bonefish and it is important to do so with stealth. With little time to prepare for your cast and extremely windy conditions to contend with, there is nothing better than practice to prime you for this experience.
Practice One Skill At A Time
If possible, practice over still water that has a flat, shallow bottom and use an eight or nine weight rod with a tapered leader. Distance is extremely important, however, you’ll often find yourself in situations in which 30-40 feet is sufficient for getting your line in front of a feeding bonefish. Start by casting at 25 feet and then gradually work towards 30-35 feet and then 40. Focus accuracy and speed while slowly building your distance.
Account For The Wind
Remember that you’ll often be casting into and against strong winds that will significantly alter your ability to control the line. When you practice casting, try heading out on days when the wind is high and spend time casting both into and away from the wind to get a better handle on how this will affect your movements. No matter how good you are at casting to a target in still conditions, you won’t land anything spot on until you account for the way that the elements will be working against you.
Bring The Rod To A Complete Stop At The End Of The Cast
It is also important to learn how to bring your rod to a full and complete stop at the end of the cast so that the rod doesn’t sweep forward and down. While you’re working for distance, using too much force in your casting hand will increase your stopping time and waste a lot of energy. This will cause your rod to drift forward after the cast and create waves on the line. In addition to distance, efforts to move stealthily can also impact stopping times. It is also vital to note that a soft, slow cast will not allow for a graceful presentation of the line. Instead, work for crisp, tight movements that create a tight loop. Your stopping time will improve, the fly will land quietly and you’ll have the best possible chance of reaching your target. Best of all, crisp casting and a tight loop will allow you to sidestep the challenges of the wind.
Clear Bottoms And Vegetation
You want the bonefish to be able to see your fly. On clear bottoms, let your fly land directly in the mud or sand and gently strip it to make small clouds or puffs, much like the ones that occur when small creatures are busy feeding. If the flat bottom is rich with vegetation, however, keep it slightly elevated so that bonefish can see it. Keeping the fly elevated on bottoms with vegetation will also prevent it from getting hung up. To land your fly properly, you’ll also have to familiarize yourself with the sink rates of your flies.
Practice will indeed make you perfect, but too much casting at one time is never a good thing. During your practice, you’ll be building muscle memory, reflexes and speed. If you overwork yourself while practicing, your movements will invariably become sloppy. These are not the movements that you want your muscles to remember. Try practicing in 20 or 30-minute increments so that your motions stay tight, crisp and focused. When you’re out on the flats, false casting can spook the fish and cause you to miss out on a host of incredible opportunities.