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Deeter: Why The Bonefish is the Perfect Fly Rod Species

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May 18, 2010

Deeter: Why The Bonefish is the Perfect Fly Rod Species

By Kirk Deeter

Is the bonefish the perfect fish species to be chased with a fly rod? I think so. Granted, I'm biased, working from a vantage point at Andros South in the Bahamas.

But really, truly, I cannot think of a species more "custom made" for fly fishing. They demand casts that test the limits, both in distance and accuracy. When they take, they test your reel to the max. In terms of the gear itself, there is no better match. Period.


I know, it all started with trout and salmon. And there is no shortage of things you can catch on fly rods. Carp, for example, are often equated to bonefish... but after you catch a few bonefish, you realize that's a fantasy... a ploy to sell more rods and reels, and to give all of us something to think about when we're fishing in a stinky, muddy river, wishing we were on the flats. The bonefish-carp comparison is like driving an Indy car around the Brickyard, and then doing a lap in a VW Mini Bus. Same track... different wheels.

Granted, bonefish aren't out everyone's back door. But if you were going to do one trip, for one species, bonefish should be it. You'll see exactly what I mean.

Deeter

Comments (16)

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from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Q: Is the bonefish the perfect fish species to be chased with a fly rod?
A: If you're a self indulgent weiner with the money to do it(not singling you out on this one). Otherwise the Carp wins hands down.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhunt2 wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I like fly fishing for panfish, light weight rod and set the drag low and they fight pretty good. Plus nothing like fish in bacon grease for a late breakfast

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Sorry Deeter. The perfect fish doesn't make your fingers bleed.

Give me a rising brown trout anyday.

I will confess my envy. I have never caught a bonefish and it has been on my to-do list for years. Two more kids to get through college...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woodstock wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Oh I agree Deeter - bonefish are incredible. To me, any form of sight-fishing is the pinnacle of angling, but here the fish themselves seem custom-made for fly anglers.

But I have to give trout the edge as the "perfect" fly rod fish. Why? Because much of the time (not always), a fly is simply the most effective means to catch them. Heh heh, you ever cast a live crab with a spinning rod to a bonefish? It's so effective, it hardly seems fair...

And to Koldcut: I'm a working stiff with a modest income, but I've managed to chased bonefish on 3 extended trips. A combo of frequent flier miles, cheap lodging shared with fishing pals (you don't have to stay at a high-end lodge), and cooking your own meals makes it surprisingly affordable. Wanna go on our next trip?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Stop the phone calls and postings! We have a winner. Deeter, sorry man...it's not you with your bonefish choice. Hook and net a 20lb steelhead.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Woodstock, I'd love to, but money is so tight I could make diamonds from coal by sandwhiching it with my last two paystatements. The golden bones are about to turn the switch on here, so I need to give chase and start posting pics of dirty water carp. Even the game warden laughs when he sees me....."You're never going to get that smell off your rod"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I'm not buyin it. Salt water fishing takes expensive, saltwater gear, and you need to care for it every time you get done fishing. It takes special clothing to cope with the heat..wind is a constant reality on the flats. Way to far away for me here in Idaho, and I like the looks of a trout vs. a fish with a sucker mouth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I hope to someday put your well-traveled claim to the test. In any case I expect to complete that task with an exhausted grin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Nope. Tarpon are much more fun in my eyes. Bone fish may be smart, and fast, but untill you have a tarpon tearing like off your 10 wt and jumping 10 feet into the air, a bonefish, is well, lame by comparison.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Koldcut,

The golden bones are in full swing here in Ohio. My son and I cleaned house Saturday afternoon. Try the "fiberglas arrow fly" for best results. They're deadly on carp.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Is this a "shoot me down" post? I don't see how a line ripping fish is tailor made to fly gear, considering other types of reels have superior drags. Distance limits tested, OK I'll give you that. Accuracy demands? Not so much. Bonefish are a roving predator and aren't as finicky and picky as many wild trout. Trout often require much more realistic looking flies. They might be the most fun on a fly rod, I'll give you that, but to say they are tailor made is a little off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

An aspect that is special to all of fly fishing is sight fishing. The hunt, the stalk, and then a presentation made correctly to a fish you see, and see the take, is special. And then the power of a fish not all that big like a bonefish is very impressive. All saltwater fish fight exceptionally hard. It is just the domain of the well to do..the need for expensive gear, expensive travel, etc. Alaskan lodge stays now can run $4-$7,000 a week. I'll side with the do-it-yourself-er that hikes into a small stream, or floats rivers in a driftboat like myself that gets lots of enjoyment without mortgaging the farm.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Koldcut, I think you and I could have some fun. My father is obsessed with catching a carp on a fly rod here in Ohio as well. I go with him and even give it a try. About three or four casts later, I go grab my bow out of the back of the truck and put some serious fish on the bank. Gotta love the "fiberglass arrow fly".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

sorry, I was talking to buckhunter

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

On many Western trout rivers, white fish are called the poor man's bonefish, and the freshwater bonefish. They can be lots of fun, and challenging to catch on a fly. You have to wade quietly, but can get close as they tail in shallow water just like bonefish, and can be the size of a small bone as well. They are often feeding on midge larva/pupa as they rise to the surface, and it takes a quiet cast, and the take is subtle. I use a 6 1/2' 3wt using light tippets and small flies, often soft hackles, as what appears to be fish taking dries, is an emerger right at the surface, or just under. A little imagination, and you are on the flats catching bones.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PZabel wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

Glad you finally agree with what I've been telling you for years!

Let's plan a trip!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Q: Is the bonefish the perfect fish species to be chased with a fly rod?
A: If you're a self indulgent weiner with the money to do it(not singling you out on this one). Otherwise the Carp wins hands down.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhunt2 wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I like fly fishing for panfish, light weight rod and set the drag low and they fight pretty good. Plus nothing like fish in bacon grease for a late breakfast

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Koldcut,

The golden bones are in full swing here in Ohio. My son and I cleaned house Saturday afternoon. Try the "fiberglas arrow fly" for best results. They're deadly on carp.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Sorry Deeter. The perfect fish doesn't make your fingers bleed.

Give me a rising brown trout anyday.

I will confess my envy. I have never caught a bonefish and it has been on my to-do list for years. Two more kids to get through college...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woodstock wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Oh I agree Deeter - bonefish are incredible. To me, any form of sight-fishing is the pinnacle of angling, but here the fish themselves seem custom-made for fly anglers.

But I have to give trout the edge as the "perfect" fly rod fish. Why? Because much of the time (not always), a fly is simply the most effective means to catch them. Heh heh, you ever cast a live crab with a spinning rod to a bonefish? It's so effective, it hardly seems fair...

And to Koldcut: I'm a working stiff with a modest income, but I've managed to chased bonefish on 3 extended trips. A combo of frequent flier miles, cheap lodging shared with fishing pals (you don't have to stay at a high-end lodge), and cooking your own meals makes it surprisingly affordable. Wanna go on our next trip?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Stop the phone calls and postings! We have a winner. Deeter, sorry man...it's not you with your bonefish choice. Hook and net a 20lb steelhead.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Woodstock, I'd love to, but money is so tight I could make diamonds from coal by sandwhiching it with my last two paystatements. The golden bones are about to turn the switch on here, so I need to give chase and start posting pics of dirty water carp. Even the game warden laughs when he sees me....."You're never going to get that smell off your rod"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I'm not buyin it. Salt water fishing takes expensive, saltwater gear, and you need to care for it every time you get done fishing. It takes special clothing to cope with the heat..wind is a constant reality on the flats. Way to far away for me here in Idaho, and I like the looks of a trout vs. a fish with a sucker mouth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I hope to someday put your well-traveled claim to the test. In any case I expect to complete that task with an exhausted grin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Nope. Tarpon are much more fun in my eyes. Bone fish may be smart, and fast, but untill you have a tarpon tearing like off your 10 wt and jumping 10 feet into the air, a bonefish, is well, lame by comparison.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Is this a "shoot me down" post? I don't see how a line ripping fish is tailor made to fly gear, considering other types of reels have superior drags. Distance limits tested, OK I'll give you that. Accuracy demands? Not so much. Bonefish are a roving predator and aren't as finicky and picky as many wild trout. Trout often require much more realistic looking flies. They might be the most fun on a fly rod, I'll give you that, but to say they are tailor made is a little off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

An aspect that is special to all of fly fishing is sight fishing. The hunt, the stalk, and then a presentation made correctly to a fish you see, and see the take, is special. And then the power of a fish not all that big like a bonefish is very impressive. All saltwater fish fight exceptionally hard. It is just the domain of the well to do..the need for expensive gear, expensive travel, etc. Alaskan lodge stays now can run $4-$7,000 a week. I'll side with the do-it-yourself-er that hikes into a small stream, or floats rivers in a driftboat like myself that gets lots of enjoyment without mortgaging the farm.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Koldcut, I think you and I could have some fun. My father is obsessed with catching a carp on a fly rod here in Ohio as well. I go with him and even give it a try. About three or four casts later, I go grab my bow out of the back of the truck and put some serious fish on the bank. Gotta love the "fiberglass arrow fly".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

sorry, I was talking to buckhunter

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

On many Western trout rivers, white fish are called the poor man's bonefish, and the freshwater bonefish. They can be lots of fun, and challenging to catch on a fly. You have to wade quietly, but can get close as they tail in shallow water just like bonefish, and can be the size of a small bone as well. They are often feeding on midge larva/pupa as they rise to the surface, and it takes a quiet cast, and the take is subtle. I use a 6 1/2' 3wt using light tippets and small flies, often soft hackles, as what appears to be fish taking dries, is an emerger right at the surface, or just under. A little imagination, and you are on the flats catching bones.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PZabel wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

Glad you finally agree with what I've been telling you for years!

Let's plan a trip!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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