08 Feb Tailing Bonefish
Targeting tailing bonefish is one my favorite situations on the flats. One of the most exhilarating sights in the world of shallow water fishing is watching a group of bonefish on a flat, happily waving and shaking their tails as they dig the bottom looking for food.
Work the tides
We usually find this feeding behavior around the low tides, whether is the last part of the falling water or first part of the incoming. Also, flats and edges that present a shallow bottom contour configuration, and still hold “tailing water” depths around the high tides, will be likely spots to look for tailing bones when the water at most nearby flats gets too high. Most of the times, these bonefish will be feeding across the current and moving on a zig zag pattern.
Approaching Tailing Bonefish
When fishing for tailing bones, individual fish or little groups will always be easier to feed than large groups. In most ocassions, when a large group of bones tails up, there are always fish around the edge of the visible tails that you won’t see as they’ll be down in the grass, specially when the water starts to rise up.
When fishing big schools of tailing bones, In order to not to put the whole school under alert by lining fish, always start by placing your fly, skimmer jig or live shrimp at the outer edges of the visible tails, or wait until individual fish or little groups break away from the school.
Presentation is key
When fishing individual fish, wait until the fish digs his head down in the grass to make your presentation. Try to make your fly line, leader or line land as softly as possible without making abrupt splashes or noises that can make fish aware of your presence. Also, the calmer the wind, the more stealth you will have to be.
Remember that bonefish are always on the alert from predators such as sharks, barracudas, dolphins, ospreys and boats. They always feel more vulnerable when feeding in shallow water, so approach the fish extremely quiet and be very delicate with your presentations.
Hopefully these little tips will help you catch more tailing bonefish in shallow water!
Capt Alex Zapata
Flats fishing guide
IFFF certified fly casting instructor
Miami, Everglades and the keys
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