Being smart, stealthy, and quick is how big bones live to make it to their impressive sizes.
That’s why too many false casts can and will invariably result in disappointment. It’s incredibly tricky to cast to bonefish with a fly rod and reel. Not only do you have to cast accurately and with excellent timing, but you also have to have a variety of strategies for presenting your fly. If a bonefish eludes you on a first false cast, presenting your fly in the exact same fashion isn’t going to produce different results.
False Casts Should Always Serve A Purpose
There are times when a false cast may be unavoidable. For instance, you might need to adjust your casting distance or change your casting direction. Making the exact same cast with the same length of line, and in the very same direction is a tremendous waste of time. When you do get ready to cast again, always try to make the quickest, cleanest, and most efficient presentation possible. This way, you can deliver your fly without causing any suspicion.
Don’t Let Adrenaline Drive Your Decisions
When you spot a bone within just 35 to 40 feet of your position, don’t get so amped up that adrenaline alone is driving your decisions. You have to be able to act fast, but you also have to avoid making any unnecessary false casts that might alert suspicion. Take a deep breath and set your cast up properly, just like you would if targeting a fish that’s further out.
Know When You’ve Been “Made”
Bonefish are intelligent and when they know you’re in pursuit, they’ll let you know that they know. When you make a false cast and start gearing up to cast again, pay attention to how the fish is acting. One phenomenon that a number of seasoned fishers have noticed is that some bones will actually tilt their heads to the side and make direct eye contact while slowly sliding away. Although there’s nothing panicked or desperate about their retreat, presenting your fly in an entirely new way isn’t going to make a difference at this point. You’ve been “made”.
Give Your Line A Little More Pull When Casting
Giving your line an additional pull as you cast is known as hauling. Given that bonefish are quick to get spooked, you want to land your fly as delicately as possible. More importantly, you want to land it right under their noses. Hauling is a skill that you should start trying to develop only after you’ve mastered basic casting and are ready to add it to your repertoire of tricks. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to sign up for hauling lessons ahead of your next big bonefishing trip. With a double-haul, you’ll need to accelerate the line by pulling it through your rod right at the top of your stroke. This will significantly increase both the bend in your rod and the overall line speed. It will also give you the additional control needed for delicately dropping your fly right where you want it to be.