On Caye Caulker at the Sea Dreams dock, the dock light makes things just work. Once the sun is down the bonefish mill around and they can be caught. The last night there I caught six before deciding to call it a trip.
However… in the daylight those fish are a different story. It is the same school of fish, or the same few small schools of fish (maybe 30-40 fish total), and when the lights are on they just won’t be fooled.
I tried some of the Hawaii tactics from last year. I tried going small, but the current would just carry the fly away before the fish could even see it. I tried taking out the flash and going neutral colors, but it seemed any fly, of any color or shape, would send the fish scurrying for cover. I tried leading the fish by 9 feet, but as soon as the fly line landed on the water the fish would just turn around and swim slowly away from the offending line.
So, size didn’t matter, color didn’t matter and you couldn’t cast within 9 feet. They really were pulling out their inner permit.
I, after a few hours of trying over multiple days, finally gave up.
Those same fish would eat a heavily weighted tan shrimp at the fringes of the dock light’s glow with savagery usually reserved for barracuda eats.
I fished at night.