Fishin' Dad, I hope you hook one. I grew up watching the American Sportsman every Sunday, back in the 60s with my dad. Will never forget seeing the episode of Curt Gowdy and baseball great Ted Williams fishing the keys for bonefish. It was so different from any type fishing I had experienced in west Texas and my dad's favorite reel was a Ted Williams baitcaster. Many years later (1987) I moved out to south Florida and fished the salt almost every day either before or after work off one of the fishing piers in the Miami-Ft Lauderdale area. One night I was trying to catch bait (pilchard) in the surf with a 6 hook sabiki rig and pulled up four 5 inch bonefish.. it wasn't anything like what I had imagined and could only laugh thinking back to what I had seen with long runs and screaming drag. I'll never admit that I used them for snook bait that night.
It would be 16 years later before I got the real experience of the fish picture I posted earlier. Hooked it on a jig and saltwater assassin while targeting trout. I swear that first run was over a hundred yards and I was so convinced my baitcaster was going to explode that I held it as far away from my face as possible. From that day on I became a bonefish bum. For the rest of that summer bonefish became my target of choice. It was almost two weeks of fishing every day before I actually saw my first school of tailing fish. I was mesmerized. I just sat there and watched them feeding on a flat for half an hour. I wanted to see how they moved in relation to the wind and current and where they went. They were working back and forth.. back and forth in a 50 yard stretch of scattered grass. There were about a half a dozen of them and there tails were huge sticking up as they fed in two feet of water. I was using a spinning rod this day, with small jig and quarter size live crab. As the fish worked their way towards me I picked out the biggest tail I had seen and made my first cast into a strong quartering breeze.. aimed on the same line I would have picked if I were punching a 7 iron at the flag. Wasn't sure what to expect when bait hit the water in front of two of the fish, but those fish fought for it. I didn't get the one I aimed at but got his buddy. What a rush... my second big bonefish, another about 8 lbs. So many stories of those fish.. once had a bone fish rooting up against my wading boots, its tail popped up so close to me that I was afraid it would spook if I cast so I just froze. Darn fish came right between my legs in less than a foot of water. Try making a decent cast to a fish between your legs.. I tried but spooked it. Later that summer I went to only fishing at night.. so much light from downtown Miami, especially when there was low cloud cover that would work like a mirror. At night those fish make more racket than spawning carp. Would nearly always hear them coming before seeing them.
Perfect bonefish conditions on hot summer Miami night.
My biggest bone.. estimated 14 lbs from length girth measurement.. 33.5 length, 18.25 girth. Picture does no justice to size of that fish. Fork in tail was up against front cockpit which is 4 inches beyond my footpegs on kayak.