Hey SFOTF - Dale “Bulldog” Freschi here. I wanted to drop in and add some value about some of our fishing experiences. This was when we were in Cuba.
But first, let’s talk about the Bonefish….
The first species that usually comes to mind for fly fishers when thinking about tropical destinations is most probably the Bonefish as they are typically found in many tropical locations around the globe. They tend to inhabit tropical flats and lagoons with a variety of bottoms (sand, grass, coral, etc) and feed in both schools and individually in many different depths of water.
We have fished for them in several locations including Cuba, and our recommended setup basically consists of an 8 weight rod, disc drag reel with 200 yards of backing and floating fly line. The weight of the flies themselves provides the latitude to cover different depths of water and types of bottom.
For example, when fishing over a shallow grassy flat you would want to use an unweighted fly, possibly equipped with a weed guard, and over deeper sandy flats a more heavily weighted fly to get it down to the bottom.
The type and strength of tippet material is dependent on the water you are fishing and size of the fish being targeted but remember that fluorocarbon sinks so it is great in deeper water but can cause snags in shallow water situations. Heavier tippet material may also be required if there is coral on the flat as it is obviously very abrasive.
There is a large selection of bonefish flies to choose from and everyone seems to have their favorites but most imitate shrimp or crabs. We usually go with what our guide recommends as they are very familiar with what catches fish in their area and if we are at a “do it yourself” location we will often do some research beforehand as well as experiment once we get there.
I would like to transition into what I like to call, General Tips from Dale. Are you still with me? I said you were going to need some time on this one.
It is often breezy in the tropics so an 8 weight rod helps to punch your cast through the wind.
Bonefish are surprisingly strong for their size and will often take you well into your backing on long screaming runs thus a heavier rod and good reel with lots of backing are certainly useful.
Let’s bring this home!
Be sure you have a “tropical” fly line, they are specifically designed for warmer water, your cold water line will simply turn to mush.
There is lots of information available on the Web for fly fishing for bonefish, and be sure to catch a great new bonefish episode in Series 22 of SFOTF airing in spring 2017 where we share additional tips and tactics for targeting “big bones on the fly” in Cuba.