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First published September 13th 2005 - More than 9 years ago
The ghost and I
A very personal view of bonefishing from a rookie in the gameBy Martin Joergensen
I know that I caught my first bonefish ever in Belize. I caught a few more since then in Mexico, and I intend to catch quite a few more before I put my rods on the shelf for the last time.
But I still feel that I have something to say about these elusive silver shadows, and that my experience holds some knowledge, which may be useful to others, who has taken or want to take on bonefishing.
Lefty and I like it
But in the moment I said "bonefishing" with very little hesitation.
Well, there's no shame in agreeing with Lefty Kreh, and I really do find that my exposure to bonefishing, how scarce it might have been, has left me with a lasting impression of some of the most fun and exiting fishing one can experience.
Like home, and then again
On the lookout
It was not before I ventured off on my own that I actually started to grasp the idea and started seeing fish, and was able to cast properly to them. It was also at that time that I realized that it wasn't that difficult at all.
The fact that the mediocrity of my casting led to many failures anyhow, well that's a whole other story...
Distance and direction
The first lesson is learning what to look for and learning to see the difference between fishy things and less fishy things—like branches and weed. You are looking for shadows and movement, not the fish or fishy shapes.
The second lesson is scale. I once had a very hard time seeing hundreds of fish creating many square metres of nervous water, because I was looking at the wrong scale. What I looked for was small. What I finally saw was BIG! Big as a living room floor...
The third lesson is distance. At times I have realized that I have been looking for things pointed out to me, which I thought were twice (or half) as far away as they really were. Distance and direction are the crucial factors (of course), and being able to zoom in on that one right spot "10 o'clock, 20 metres out" is a good skill to acquire.
Take your own pace
One thing, which I learned was to try to relax and set the pace myself. Guides will be eager to please and other anglers may be impatient or just anxious and excited on your behalf.
Flies will be changed, desperate casts will be repeated, and fish will be spooked.
Just let that be, and try to get into your own grind. That led me to my modest success with da' bones, and it might do the same thing for you.
Maybe this will help: Fishing bonefish from a boat can be very efficient. Even though I personally find it less entertaining and thrilling than wading, the elevated stance will give you some great advantages when scouting for fish.