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Poling for Bonefish – 6 Tips

Posted on August 18 2009

Rick stands quietly, and listens to his guide, and has a ‘cuda rod ready, and…

So you’re in a fishery like ours on South Andros that’s loaded with bonefish, and you’re fishing from the boat, with your guide on the push pole. What should you do to make sure you’re successful?

Here’s what.

  1. Be quiet. Bonefish are really sensitive to noise, so be quiet! Close the cooler quietly. Don’t drop gear on the bottom of the boat. Don’t shuffle your feet – really. Every effort you make to move deliberately and quietly will help, a lot. The hull of your boat is like a giant amplifier for sound through the water, so be quiet.
  2. Listen to your guide. The extra height of the poling platform, together with the ridiculous eyes of your guide, enable him to see a lot further and better than you can see. Don’t cast at the fish you see – cast to the fish he sees. He’ll put you on the big one – trust us.
  3. Pay attention to the speed of the boat. Tidal currents and wind will often move your boat faster then you realize. As soon as your fly hits the water, give a strip as long as necessary to take the slack out.
  4. Keep a ‘cuda rod rigged and ready. On South Andros, it’s really common to see barracuda on the same flats where you’re looking for bonefish. When that 4 1/2 footer swims by, you don’t want to be messing around with rod holders. Keep that ‘cuda rod nearby.
  5. Strip your line into the middle of that boat. When you’re standing on the bow of the boat, it’s easy for your running line to get blown around in the wind and magically wind up under your feet. Once you determine the amount of line that you’re able to cast comfortably, strip it into the middle of the boat, and keep that area clear. When that double-digit bonefish eats, you’ll be glad that your line is able to leave the boat quickly, with no obstructions.
  6. If you’re the one who’s not fishing, mind the line. When fishing from the boat, one angler at a time is on the bow making the shots. The other angler is probably seated, but he or she has a pretty important job too – making sure that stripped-off line is coiled neatly on the bottom of the boat, and not looped around your boat bag, or your flats boots, or the butt of that ‘cuda rod. Your buddy on the bow will thank you later.
More Bonefishing Tips

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