There comes a time in a man’s life when he must take the next step! For fly fisherman, that’s a step out of the boat in pursuit of bonefish. There are usually opportunities to wade anywhere you bonefish. Then, there are destinations that are literally all wading. To tackle them you need to start thinking outside the boat. Click on the links below to up your game or find a new destination.
Wading puts you in the bonefish’s environment. It allows you to get close to the fish. It provides the opportunity to approach fish down wind. Two anglers can fish at the same time. It’s good exercise. It enables you to fish water too shallow for a boat. Sometimes it’s easier to catch fish on foot, sometimes it’s harder. Regardless, there’s a lot of satisfaction to tracking down your prey on foot.
Less than 140 anglers fish South Caicos each year, creating one of the most remarkable ratios of angler per thousand bonefish anywhere short of Christmas Island or Seychelles. The remoteness of South Caicos is most savored when you cover mile upon mile of it’s gorgeous, shallow flats by airboat and never see a “prop scar”. You realize no one else fishes here. It’s all yours. Everything about South Caicos … “south” as it’s called, is different … in a good way. It’s all wading.
Use a triple surgeon’s knot when tying leader to leader and the improved clinch knot or better yet the non-slip mono loop knot when tying the tippet to the fly. Many experts have abandoned the blood or barrel knot in favor of the surgeon’s knot for connecting leader to leader and likewise have abandoned the clinch knot in favor of the non-slip mono loop. Your guides may continue to use barrel knots and clinch knots, so we recommend you learn to tie the knots we recommend for yourself.
Every time you or the guide ties a section of leader to leader, or you tie the tippet to the fly, you should test the knot strength by affixing the fly to something stationary and pulling firmly. More fish are lost due to leader or knot failure than any other reason.
Over the last few years, more and more clients fishing Bair’s Lodge, Andros South, Pleasant Bay or Mars Bay are catching big bonefish. The 7 – 10 pounders are being landed every month. Mars Bay has kept a record of the bonefish caught this season, here are some highlights.
You can encounter tailing fish on any fertile bottom, but weedy bottoms hold the most prey, therefore the most fish. Big fish seem more comfortable feeding in the shallows over a dark bottom. Click here for tips on Shallow Water, Tailing Fish.
The end of the outgoing and beginning of the incoming brings the skinniest water that’s when you’ll find fish tailing over the weeds. To catch them, you’ll need a fly that doesn’t “plop” when it hits the water: go small.
Protect Your Feet with a good pair of wading shoes or boots designed for flats fishing, a few pairs of wet wading socks, and don’t forget to break in your shoes. Wading shoes and socks will help to keep sand out and reduce blister forming friction, as well as giving support for a day of wading. But, if the first time you put on your wading shoes in the Bahamas, it’ll be a long week. Break in your shoes by wearing them around the house for an hour or two a couple times per week. It’s much better than blisters or sore arches. Do Not wear last years sneakers with cotton socks or open sandals – your feet will thank you.
Being in the right place at the right time, then having it confirmed by the sudden appearance of an enormous tail, creates an explosion of urgency, nervousness, opportunity and energy …. An adrenalin rush beyond compare. You get pretty good at judging the size of the fish by the thickness and width of the fork in his tail. Think jaws of life, not pruning shears!