If you are looking to get into your first bonefish, I have a way you can do it for not much scratch (ya know, relatively speaking).
Step 1. Go to Cheap Caribbean and look at either Nassau or Grand Bahama.
Why? Well, you can get package deals, including air fare for as low as $300 a person. Figure it usually costs $350 for air, and you can see the value here. You might not get the most super awesome hotel, but you’ll get to the Bahamas cheap. Sure, you can get to Miami pretty cheap too, but the fishing there is tougher and if you are starting out, it is good to have some success on your first outing… ya know… encouragement.
Step 2. Get one day with a guide.
Why? If you are starting out, it can be really hard to find your own fish. Bonefish have their own rhythms and their own environment, so, get a guide to smooth out the learning curve a bit.
- In Grand Bahama, I recommend Captain Perry (although his website is down as I write this, he is still booking trips and you can call him at (242) 353-3301) who I used and who was just a great guide and a good person.
- In Nassau, which is overall a bit less bonefishy than Grand Bahama, there are still options where the guide can put you in a skiff and get you to some fish. Aaron Bain with Secret Soul gets some good reviews.
Now, a day of guiding is going to set you back a pretty penny… about $400, plus tip, but really, you want to catch some fish when you go all that way, so you really should look into it. It isn’t like fishing the Madison where you know the place is lousy with fish. If you have DIY inclinations, you can go out on your own for the rest of your trip, like I’ve done a couple times.
Nassau and Grand Bahama are family friendly locations and you could make it a family trip, making it even more doable for the family-bound angler.
There… that’s the recipe. If you fish for steelhead or large trout, you probably have something serviceable in terms of gear. A 7 weight will work for bonefish and you can even get away with a 6 (ask Rich French). You may need a new line and you might… might need a new reel, but you can get a reel that will work for under $200.
As I read in This is Fly long ago, and I’m paraphrasing here, “bonefishing shows up on a lot more wish lists than obituaries,” so go out there and get after them.