You never want to let a rush of excitement spoil your chances at catching a tailing bonefish. Happier, more aggressive and much less likely to spook than a fish that’s lazily swimming near the bottom, tailing bonefish still require an incredible amount of stealth and skill. When you spot an exhilarating flash of tail just breaking through the surface, take a deep breath and collect yourself so that you don’t rush the shot.
A Good Shot Trumps A Fast One
Cruising bonefish only provide a very limited window of time for anglers to cast. With these fish, the goal is to simply present your fly as quickly as you can. With a tailing bonefish, however, you have time to plan your movements. More importantly, you need to plan them. Accuracy will get you a whole lot further with a tailing fish than will speed.
Check The Scene
Although your vision may be trained on the tailing fish, there may be other fish around. Failing to take note of them could send out a flurry of panic that blows the opportunity entirely. If several fish are nearby, a misplaced fly line will invariably cause them to spook. This is also a good time to scout the waters for a bigger fish. If you do, consider whether it’s feasible to switch your target and still make a stealthy entrance.
Find Out Where’s He Off To
You want to land your fly right next to the bonefish while his tail is out of the water and he’s still actively feeding. With his focus solely trained on nearby food, he’ll be busily changing directions the entire time he’s in the area. A fly that’s been dropped right into his feeding zone will provide the highest likelihood of getting a hookup.
Don’t Strip From Behind
Knowing which way the fish is traveling will allow you to strip the line from the right direction. Bonefish spook when you strip the line behind them, whether they’re tailing or cruising. This gives them the sense of being chased. Always lead from the right direction and try to remain cognizant of the wind. Wind direction and wind force will affect how each of your movements play out.
Choose The Best Cast
Determining which casting technique will provide the most accuracy given the wind conditions and the movements and direction of the bone. If neither a standard cast nor a back cast will do the trick, think about turning the boat around for a better approach. Ask your guide for advice on how to cast for the bone in the current conditions.
Don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in the excitement of spotting a tailing bonefish that you forget to consider the most important factors. The direction of the fish, wind conditions and fly presentation are but a few of the points to review. Simply stop, take a deep breath, assess your options and then take action from a calm and controlled place. You’ll be glad you did.