Now, Sarah has a leg up on most folks starting out trying to find their own bonefish. Her husband is one of the best anglers I know, my friend Shane. She’s had a pretty good teacher and that can really reduce the learning curve, but it is still an accomplishment to score your first bonefish.
Here’s Sarah’s story in her own words:
I’ve been on seven bonefishing trips in the last several years. I’m grateful when I realize
that’s twice (oaky maybe 7 times) as may as most anglers dream about…in a lifetime. A
couple of those trips I didn’t even get any follows. During the earlier trips, my husband
and guide, Shane was slowing teaching me the ways of the ghost of the flats. What to
look for, how to spot them, how to cast into the wind, how to clear your line when the
fish takes off, how not to lose a finger while they run…About four years ago (with the
help of husband guide by my side) I was able to spot, cast to, and land my first fish and
then my second the same day. It was a huge accomplishment. And those two bonefish
remain the biggest I’ve landed since then. We weren’t married yet at the time, but I
secretly think that’s when he starting thinking about making me his wife.
As any bonefish angler knows, when chasing the elusive flats dweller, Murphy’s Law
truly applies. I’ve done it all wrong, many many times. I’ve seen a large school, gotten
excited only to cast and find out the hard way that my line is wrapped around my foot.
I’ve cast to a bonefish shaped clump of turtle grass only to be frustrated when it didn’t
try to eat my fly. Then, there’s casting in the wind. I’ve stared at objects “that could
be a fish” so long with the hopes of using my jeti mind skills to somehow will it into
becoming a bonefish. Not so much. I’ve made the most beautiful casts only to plop the
tiny fly down on the fish’s head so as to spook him so bad he tells all his buddies to steer
clear of that flat for the rest of the day. I’ve tried to make casts into the wind only to have
my line fall in a jumbled mess a few feet away. I’ve broke fish off because I didn’t “let
him run.” Did I mention the wind? What can go wrong will go wrong when bonefishing.
But, once in a great while, the fish gods smile down upon you and everything goes right.
Today was that day. Husband guide dropped me off to walk a flat by myself while he
walked the boat a ways away. He was a good 200 yards away when I spotted 6 fish
coming at me on my right side about 80 feet away. Wind and sun at my back. (“That’s
when all the conditions are right for a good time.” – Alan Jackson) So, my heart starts
thumping and I make my cast…about 50-60 feet. One cast. Three strips. Fish on. Big
smile, giggles out loud. I had done it all…all by myself!! All is right in my little world
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Tags: bonefishing, first bonefish, fly fishing, Sarah Kohlbeck, Shane Kohlbeck
That is a dang nice fish! Very well done.
Very cool story!!!!