On the Fly: Next stop, Bonefish City | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Next stop, Bonefish City

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Writer Scott Spooner with a bonefish he caught off Christmas Island.
Courtesy of Otea Ioteba

Let’s say you’ve been fly-casting to trout for a while now. You’ve experienced world-class dry-fly-fishing on the Fryingpan, Big Horn and the Madison, conquered the spooky cutthroat of alpine lakes, and have floated the Green River to the Roaring Fork to the Bitterroot and everything in between.

What’s next? My resounding answer: a bonefish trip!

Bonefish are the next logical step for many fly-fishers because they also live in beautiful places, you don’t have to travel that far to catch one, and they provide a thrilling visual experience. They pull like hell, too. Some destinations are quite remote, others are places that provide all the amenities you could ever want. Guides are a must, at least the first few times you go. Learning to see these nearly invisible “ghosts of the flats” is a whole lesson in itself, let alone perfecting the retrieve of the fly, understanding tides and so forth.

Bonefish tend to come onto a flat with the rising tide to forage for food, and head back out to deeper water as the tide recedes. They move quickly and often require a long range yet delicate presentation. Most bonefish destinations also have other critters swimming around. Depending on where you go, you’ll have shots at permit, snook, tarpon, barracudas, jacks, milkfish, trevally and much more.

Rods, reels and lines to consider are 7 to 9 weights, and flies consist of various shrimp, bait fish and crab imitations. Most local fly shops carry a nice selection of saltwater equipment, believe it or not! Places to consider researching and visiting are the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii and Christmas Island. If you’ve got a case of the winter blues, look into heading somewhere salty for a few days. It’s always bonefish season!

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.