Has bonefishing ruined you?

I know Rebecca’s email was partly in good fun, but I got to thinking about what’s happened to my trout fishing since I discovered bonefishing.

I have to say, I do it less now and if I had to choose between walking a stream and wading a flat, I would likely pick the flat 99 times out of 100 times.  I guess I need to explain that I LOVE walking my streams. My home waters are dear, dear places to me. Sacred, even. It is an odd thing to acknowledge that they’ve slid down the pecking order and that places like Alaska or Montana are now further down on my desired destinations than Abaco and Andros.

I don’t know how to fit it all in.  I want to get on the flats every opportunity I can and yet I know that I really can’t do it that often and that I have many, many more opportunities to fish places like the McCloud, the Metolius or the Madison than I do Belize or Los Roques or Christmas Island.

At the same time I see my trout fishing slump, I know that my bonefishing has probably made me as good an angler as I have ever been.  My casting is much, much better.  I can understand stalking fish now. I understand gear better and know many more knots.

I am more well rounded, but my days on water are down to the 20’s now.  My high was the one season I guided when I was on the water (either fishing or guiding) for a total of about 200 days that year.

This weekend I’ll actually be back up on my home water (with Matt, who I met on the Cuba trip).  I’ll be on the McCloud and maybe the Upper Sac or the Pit or Hat Creek. I’ll enjoy it.  I’ll love it even.  Still… it isn’t the flats.

Have you had this experience with your own fishing?  I think I’m probably not alone.

The McCloud... Upstate California.

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  1. False Albacore ruined my trout fishing then tarpon ruined my bone fishing then bill fish ruined my tarpon fishing.

  2. I am 54 years old. I have been fly fishing since I was 11. I have been bonefishing one time about a year and a half ago. I have never done crack or crystal meth but now I understand the possible effects. I fish the local ponds and rivers here in Idaho. For trout and steelhead, some of them are quite famous, but my feelings about it have changed. I spend hours tying bonefish flies and collecting gear for salt water. I live for the next trip to the Caribbean, which may be once a year at best. Saltwater, sand, palm trees, stalking fish in skinny water. I can’t wait to do it again. I would do it almost every day if I could. Sometimes I warn others about this, but at the same time encourage them to try it. I am an addict and a pusher.

  3. I live in eastern Idaho within a stone’s throw of the Henry’s Fork, the South Fork of the Snake, and many amazing smaller trout streams and spring creeks…but I just can’t get excited about trout.

    Bonefish are my heroin and, in between fixes, carp are my methadone. They help ease the pain. Fortunately, I have a phenomenal methadone clinic (Blackfoot Reservoir) with an overflowing free dispensary of massive mirror carp just south of my house.

  4. You think you’ve got “Bonefish on the Brain”…(elipse)…I’ve got Bonefish in my DNA


  5. Exchange bonefish for redfish, bass and other big, meaty & sometime toothy critters, and then yes, my trout fishing has suffered. I was once extremely content wet-wading a small stream in 2009 & 2010. Then a trip for redfish happened…it’s amazing what receiving your first line burn on your finger can do to a person.

    I didn’t use my 3wt at all last year and have since traded it to someone for a bicycle. In that time period, I’ve added multiple 7 & 8wt rods, plus a 10 & 12wt, chicken-sized flies, wire leaders, and reels with truck-stopping sealed drag systems.

    My bank account hates me while airlines, my local fly shop & gear companies love me.

    And now I get ready for the bonefish stage of this madness in September…

  6. phil thompson

    Wading for bonefish is my second favorite. I spent seven months in San Sal, Bahamas, writing all morning and bonefishing most afternoons. Never tired of it.
    But, once you stalk big tailing permit, it’s all over. We have a saying in the Keys, “If permit jumped like tarpon, or bit like bonefish, a fly-guy would fish for nothing else.”

  7. Hi there, I’m 52 and grew up in northern Ontario fishing for pickeral (you call em Walleye) and Perch with my dad on sunday nights! Started fly-fishing 15 years ago with my husband mainly on the Grand River, Saugeen and then in the catskills…could never get enough of it. The peace n quiet and serenity, and just having nature wrapped around you was inspiring….then we went to Bahamas 12 years ago and went fly fishing for bones! Can’t think of an adequate way to describe it to others but totally exhilarating…especially when can you ‘finaly’ get your first landed and peacefully released!!! Trouble is I started going down for one week….then over the years kinda built up to 5-6 weeks at a time…and still supposedly workin for a living (smile)!! Upon retirement….I’m not sure anyone will be able to find me! Addicted? YUP! Jo-Ann

  8. My thoughts exactly! The reasonssssss why I don’t ‘fool’ with bonefish!

  9. After about 8 years catching hundreds of big bonefish here in Hawaii, give me a New Zealand trout stream in my home area of Turangi any day. Trout are way more interesting to fight, and way more fascinating to fool with all the myriad of flys in so many sizes. Of course I am spoiled by our huge NZ trout and pristine waters!!.

  10. Interesting question…For me at least this topic probably falls under the grass is always greener category . I started opposite of the way most who contract Albula Vulpes Fever, as I started with Bonefish. The fever was no less intense, as I averaged 35 days a year over the next 6 years chasing Bahamian Bones in Abaco, GBI, Andros, Exuma, Eluethra, and Bimini. When my career diverted me through the Northeast seven years ago and that same passion was lit again for Rivers & Streams . A crisp spring, or fall morning the sound of running water, a good cigar, and not being distracted by the buckets of sweat pouring off your body has its advantages as well.
    From my perspective learning to successfully catch trout was infinitely more challenging than Bonefishing (or all Saltwater fishing for that matter). I have never had a Bonefish’s beauty take my breath away – but have on more than one occasion held a native Brook, or Brown and stared trying to understand how something could be that perfect. While I lived in the NE I chased Brookies, Browns, and Bows in the Spring, and Steelhead in the Fall . Every time I fished a new Freestoner, Tailwaters or Spring Creek it was like Christmas all over again. I can understand how someone who grows up trout fishing takes it for granted, and would be willing to forsake all for the silver ghost as its new and not like anything in the States. Bonefishing is new, and pretty simple – cast far (and accurately) get the fly (any fly) in front of the fish and they will eat it. Once they eat it, they like to burn line which no freshwater fish in the states can match.
    In an incredible twist of fate – I am now living in the Caribbean for the next couple of years. I won’t lie and say that it does not have its advantages (such as fishing for Baby Tarpon, and Snook during the week after work, and chasing Big Tarpon and Bonefish on the Weekends). But to be honest the thoughts that fill my mind these days are the awesome Steelhead fishing that I missed out on this spring, and If I will be able to sell the family on a mini vacation to the Driftless Region to fish those amazing spring creeks.

  11. No, it hasn’t ruined me. That’s because I just had my third consecutive attempt at bonefishing canceled.

    So, maybe I’m better off? Nah.

  12. bonefishbjorn

    The stars will align… someday.

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