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This past week was so windy, that I tied kite string to my toupee; and all I really wanted to do, was let my hair down!
Fly casting was nearly as difficult as trying to throw your used dental floss into that little bathroom garbage can.
When the bonefishing is that slow, at least you can talk to bikinis along the way. They don't call it "Babes Honda" for
nothing. Then the clouds came on Thursday (I found an area with bonefish; but the cloud-glare let me see them, after they
saw me, which set me up with a plan for Friday morning.), limiting my visibility; and you usually don't see bikinis when
it is cloudy, unless a new Victoria's Secret came in the mail that day.
When wading the flats solo, there is nobody to blame for mistakes but yourself, as it is you against the machine called
the bonefish (and sometimes bikinis). This one on one relationship is intimidating, intense, and intimate, once you cast
while standing in their territory. So, if you don't hook-up this time, remember, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
until you are facing into rejection. That's right, sometimes nothing bites but you. (I think we are still talking about
It is a sunny Friday morning; and after the past few days of "scouting" (Meaning that I didn't catch anything in tough
weather.), I am feeling quite confident, about the how this day of bonefishing will progress. I see 2 bones right away, before
I am ready; and botch the cast, only to spook them. It happens again; so I downsize to a #2 pink and tan fly with less
"hair" and weight. I move down the shoreline about a couple hundred yards to increase my visibility range to watch for
approaching bonefish, which sometimes may seem like waiting for your ex-girlfriend to call you. But, I am feeling the mojo
of my efforts.
About 80 yards from me appears a school of nine bonefish, heading my way at a fair speed. My knees start to shake, as I
am now more nervous than saying,"Will you marry me?" I wait to start the cast until they are about 120 feet out; so by the
time I get through the false casts and fly hits the water and sinks, it should land 15 feet ahead of them. I do a couple of
quick strips and stop, to give the fly some motion to get their attention. The bonefish see it, breaking their Geese-in-Flight
formation, and slowing down into a spreading pattern of sniffing beagles. I can only guess at the location of the fly, by
looking at the floating line and the reactions of the fish. I keep slack out of the line, and ever so slowly pull in with my
fingertips to feel any resistance, while watching their behavior. Bump, then a slight strip back and it is off to the races.
The excess line in my hand is flapping and slipping out so fast, that it reminded me of safety issues from the Industrial
Revolution. I make sure to watch the line, not the bonefish, as it can wrap around the reel or butt of the pole if not
controlled properly before the fish is pulling off the reel. I can slightly relax, as the hardest part is over now; and the reel is
screaming like a heavy metal band. I see backing; and there is no stopping until they are tired of their first run. As usual
there will be a few more shorter, yet long, runs that remind me of getting up in the middle of the night to use the
restroom. I hang on, hoping the leader knots were tied with "surgical" precision and the recently-learned loop knot holds.
It's like the feeling of wearing tight pants that seem to split open, only when you are in a public place. The leader is in;
and the Beagle has landed! Nice bonefish!
Sure, one might think that wading the flats on a regular basis gives the impression that you are lonelier
than Jim Rockford walking the shoreline after his girlfriend went missing; but as soon as you experience "fish on" and
the first 100yds of line screaming off the reel, you can't even remember her name. Bonefishing is the best
"Single-Again Support Group" there is! And, if you are married, flats fishing can become such an addiction, that it is
probably legal grounds for divorce. A vicious cycle it is.
All in all, I caught 3 bones on Friday (Hence, threebone.com), and 1 on Saturday with about 7 hours of wading each day.
It was sunny and beautiful; and just a great place to be. Good luck out there and enjoy, flats fishing for bonefish and the
scenery of the Florida Keys.
This is the first time that I have caught bonefish in November, as the water temperature usually seems a bit cool
on my cankles this time of year, keeping the bones off the flats; but on Wednesday it was not the case. I started
wading the flats at about 10:30am to make sure the sun was at a high enough angle for better visibility, and that
the water temperature would be warming. As soon as I got my game plan together and approached the water,
a 10+ pound snook was cruising the shallows. I hardly ever see snook; but I took a few shots and it wasn’t
interested in my tan-colored fly…white would have probably been better, as it worked once for me when I caught
a small 4 pounder a few years ago. Anyway, my eyes got big when I first saw the leviathan heading my way.
I took my time looking over the area, waiting for a little lower water level and high sun angle, before I waded out
about 100yds on the white sand, on this beautiful brochure-looking day. A friend and I watched and waited, as
the current was flowing, on the outgoing tide. About 1/2 an hour later, they came…a school that I called, The
Magnificent 7, these bonefish looked huge, due to their shadow and angle of approach. At about 50 feet away,
I cast 40ft, and start to strip/twitch the fly, and Bam! Now that’s one aggressive bone. It took at least 3 long runs
and didn’t want to come in without making me work. This maybe 3 pounder had more power than I would think for
a fish of that size. About 45 minutes later, another school of big Florida Keys bonefish came by; but we had a few
really bad casts, blowing our chance. Yet, So far, a great day!
We later moved to the farther along down the beach, still on the Atlantic side, to have a go at it. As soon as we
got out on the sand near the turtle grass, I was surprised when, from out-of-nowhere, I spotted a bonefish about
20 feet away. My friend wasn’t ready; so I had to cast fast, as it was heading away. Strip, twitch…boom, it grabbed
the fly and the spool was spinning! Once again long runs and difficult to tire; but I had the privilege of landing
about a 3 pound bone. Bonefishing in the Florida Keys at its best!
The fly I used that day was a creation for experimentation that I named the Pink Necktie, as it is basically a blonde
fly, with pink chenille wrapped around the front of the shank. It worked for the 2 bonefish; so there are no complaints
about it’s success. I hope the water temperature stays warm enough a little longer; so I can have bonefishing on
Thanksgiving, fly fishing on the flats in the Florida Keys!
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It has been tough trying to get the bonefish to take a fly over the past couple of days; but at least I have had some shots
at a few small schools of 2 - 3 bones to keep my fly fishing skills in test mode. The solitude of wading also allows for time to
gather your thoughts, take notice of your surroundings, and ask yourself questions, such as: "Why is it that women like
kayaking more than men?" Kayaks are on the flats most of the time; and the women to men paddling ratio seems to be
about 2 to 1, which is better than going to a singles bar! Henceforth, I fish in front of the kayak rental rack to increase my
odds of hooking up. Fish on! I'm not sure if it is a female, but it weighs about 4 - 5 pounds. I told you it would work.
Do-It-Yourself Florida Keys Flats Fishing Report
Your Virtual Flats Fishing Guide to Bonefishing
by Mark Sanders
|October Official Sport Fishing Report - Wade The Flats with Light Tackle
Whew! It has been some hard work trying to find bonefish lately. I am putting in maximum effort and not seeing very many
bonefish around, as I have not caught one since last report. I hope I see more in the near future, because I worry about the
bonefish population now that I am not seeing the numbers that I believe that I should be. I will try again tomorrow; but I have
not blinked in about a month...I am looking as hard I can.
It was an all-day affair trying to find this bone; and I even caught it on my own creation of a fly that I call the "Alaskan Cotton"
(See Flies Page). There is not much size to the bones that I am catching; but they are all trophies when considering the
time and effort it takes. I hold it up like a proud father!
A double-header day today! I got very lucky in the morning, which made my day. I didn't see any more
the rest of the day; but a great day on the flats nonetheless. I hope I start seeing more bones
throughout the days ahead, as I have population concerns.
|Best Florida Keys Flats Fishing Reports Updated
|Updated Fishing Reports from Key West to Islamorada, regarding saltwater inshore fishing, flats fishing, and Bonefish reports. These
fishing reports are recent when written from daily to weekly, if available, dated, and as close to on-target as possible. I report accurate
numbers with photos of the catch that speak for themselves, and not the broad generalizations of brochure-styled seasonal and monthly
fishing reports of sales professionals. I want you to know the experience, before you arrive for inshore shallow water angling.
|A Personal Inshore Annual Bonefish Flats Fishing Tournament
Bonefish have been few and far between lately, as it has taken me about 20 hours per landing. It is truly a joy just to see
them; and maybe the conditions are not perfect for schooling bonefish up on the flats. Also, the few fish that I spot and get
a shot at, are being very cautious about taking the fly. Sometimes they pay no attention to your presentation and slowly
swim by and away, while I stand there wondering what they will eat. Seeing mostly singles and triples, I am happy to get a
couple shots on most days. I can't wait to get a great tide at a great time on a cloudless day. This 5 pounder had a beasty
attitude and took 3 runs. Beautiful fish!
The last fishing report posted is the last fish that I have landed. If it
has been some time, it must be due to weather or possibly a lower
bonefish population in the Florida Keys, as the fishing has been very
difficult this fall. Please see the Fishing Blog for more Information.
Thank you. Mark
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