Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bonefish Lessons from Water Cay: Part Four... Fish

The hints, observations and lessons from the April trip to Water Cay Lodge trip conclude with some hints on fish behavior:

Fish Behavior 
-Big bones are the last off the flats when the flats cool off following a cold front and the first back onto the flats when they warm up.
-Cool water caused by rain, wind, a cold front make the bones shy and they then act strangely at times. When the sun came back, they settled down a bit, but were still shy. 
-Bones on dark flats are still easy to see (as long as the light cooperates) because they adapt and become even darker than the bottom.  
-Barracuda hold still, suspended in the water column; bones are generally lower in the column and moving.  
-Bigger fish seem to like deeper water on windward shorelines and some wave action farther from shore than smaller fish. Due to cover? food? 
-Regarding the leaf sipping behavior of bones, seeking crabs hitchhiking on mangrove leaves on falling tides, I also heard a group of bones sipping at the edge of the channel where no leaves were present. I heard them do it 2-3 times in the span of a minute. The feeding sound was a combination of a pop and a slurp, like the sound a sea trout or snook makes while surface feeding. These fish were obviously feeding. I caught a 7 lber out of the group, who pounced on the fly as soon as it hit the water.  
-Fish travel is predictable. Bones will follow contours and structure when moving and avoid showing themselves if possible. Cast ahead of their most likely path and let them swim up to the fly until it is in their cone of vision.  
-There is feeding behavior and non-feeding behavior. I don't remember the difference, but seeing a fish dip or mud is definitely a sign of feeding behavior. 
-Do tailing fish move into the wind or into the tide?
-Bonefish make circular holes or "puffs" by blowing water into the sand to excavate prey species. Turtles make deep coffin-shaped holes in the flats, especially in creek bottoms where tidal flow is frequent and concentrated. Don't know why - it must have to do with food though. 


  1. Okay, you guys have taken all the mystique and challenge out of bonefishing. Next week will be a cake walk! We will DOMINATE those bones.

  2. Doug,
    You guys are gonna have such a cool trip! And, I think there will always be plenty of challenge and mystique, those slippery (in more ways than one!) bones will see to that!