“Dat was a nice 5 pound bonefish.” Says the guide.

The question for the angler is “Was it?”

I often wonder about the reported sizes of fish and I have had more than one guide add a pound, or even two, to a fish once it was released and out of sight.

It makes me look back at my “7.5 pound bonefish” and question if it really was.  That was my first day of real bonefishing and that fish was maybe my 5th bonefish ever landed.  That would make it my biggest bonefish to date.  I have not caught a 10 pounder, even though I’ve cast at a few and seen a maybe a dozen.  I have yet to actually tie into one that I can say for sure was that large.

I really try not to inflate the size or numbers of fish caught simply because if you do it once, well, then why not again?  If you just say you caught X number of fish and they were X big it kind of cheapens the whole thing unless you actually did.  You might as well have not left the dock.  I really do try to be very honest about my fishing, as I try to be very honest about all other things in my life.  I think my boss would prefer I was a little less honest, but I think he also understands at this point that the tiger can’t change his stripes.

So… how much do you think guides inflate and have you ever argued with a guide about how big a fish was?  You ever catch a fishing companion knowingly adding inches or numbers to a day?

I’d say it was at least this big.

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  1. When asked how big my tarpon was the guide replied, “how big do you want it?” In Mexico the guides have caught onto “the size to tip” ratio formula.

  2. Very true Vince! Being primarily a DIY Bonefisher, where proof and/or validation as to exactly “how big” that nice bone was left totally to tape measurement and photo documentation; then using a popular length/girth/weight formula to estimate the potential poundage. Between my buddies and I, much scrutiny is involved when witnessing the actual taking of measurements (when practical) as well as post photo scrutiny where virtually every photo pixel is counted and compared to real world measurements.

    Friendly competition isn’t so friendly at this point…but it’s still fun to rub it in…

    For example, my best Bonefish was 26 1/2 inches fork length and I estimate it at and/or around 8lbs…not far off in my opinion!

    And to finally answer you’re question…I’ve seen “QUICK” mesurements take place where I’d have certainly liked to revisit the positioning of the measure one more time. But, in the real world…”IT JUST DOESN”T MATTER” does it? You’re in the tropics…catching bones…wading the shallow flats…and doing everything that your heart has desired for months or years on end. Now is not the time for petty games.


  3. I have never measured or weighed a bonefish, the thrill is in getting it, and the release. However, everyone that got off was a ten poundr!

  4. I’m saddened to say (now) that I have put 4 bonefish to the boga-grip in my life. Didn’t know it was bad, just wanted to see if I was estimating fish correctly. 3 of my guesses (before weighing) were only 1/4-pound off (under) the actual weight. First fish I said, “That’s a 5-pound bonefish.” It weighed in at 5 and a quarter. The worst I’ve been off was 1/2-pound on a fish I thought went 7 but was actually only 6.5.

    So, based on this I’d say there’s very little inflation for me… nor has there been with the few guides I’ve fished with. Charlie, for instance, will politely set me straight if I say, “That was a 10-pounder.” He’ll say, “Close enough.”

    Having said that, I still talk about bones mostly in terms of how they looked or how they fought. You know, “it’s head was this wide, man… like a puppies.” Or, “that fish took 150 yards, easy. We had to start chasing it down the beach.”

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