Game of bones
Do you dream of fighting the fabled bonefish on the fly? In the tropical paradise of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, it’s easier than you might think.
What You Need
Unless you fly fish for salmon, steelhead or trophy pike in Canada, you’re going to need heavier gear. Bonefishing, even for smaller fish, requires a powerful 8-weight outfit, with a reel tough enough for saltwater. That power is not for the size of the fish—it’s for the conditions, because there’s a 95 per cent chance you’ll be casting in wind. But you don’t need a second mortgage to afford the gear—I used a $500 Redington rod/Sage reel combo (below), and it was outstanding.
Spool up with a weight-forward floating line. Consider one of the new stiffer “tropical” fly lines, since standard lines tend to go limp in the Caribbean’s 30°C water, making them harder to cast. For leaders, either buy some knotless tapered saltwater ones in various sizes or take spools of 12-, 16-, 20- and 30-pound tippet.
As for flies, you should have two to three dozen bonefish patterns. Preferred sizes and colours vary, so get local intel, but you need a variety of weighted and unweighted shrimp patterns (above), including a half-dozen weedless ones, along with a few weighted crab flies. That said, many guides mistrust clients’ terminal tackle, so they supply their own leaders and flies. Still, I always take everything anyway, if only so I can make a few casts off the dock in the evenings.