Scott Gardner

How to catch your first bonefish on the fly (and on a budget)


Haggerty Lures

Beyond the Fly

There are a few bonefish lodges for fly fishing only, but most destinations also welcome spin anglers (or “light-tackle” anglers, as they’re known in the tropics). You can use a 6½- or seven-foot medium-action rod from home, but invest in an ocean-quality reel. Big bonefish can practically melt the drag on an underpowered spinning reel. Spool up with 250 yards of 15-pound braid with a leader of 12- to 15-pound fluorocarbon. Bring an assortment of 3/16-, 1/8- and 1/16-ounce saltwater bucktail jigs, including some weedless ones. And like your fly-fishing compadres, you’d be wise to practise casting these light baits in heavy wind.