I didn’t manage to land a proper ‘big’ bonefish but I did hook one. From the moment I saw it tip-up and inhale the fly I knew I was in a little bit of trouble. This trouble took the form of two sizeable dead trees that were on the flat, one at about 40 metres from where I hooked the fish and the second about the same distance again past the first. The initial direction of the fish’s run wasn’t a problem, however this was heading straight for a sand bank where it would have to make the decision to go left (safe open space) or right (around the back of the trees from my position). Obviously it chose right. At this point I was already heading towards the sandbank in order to change the angle of pull and prevent the line hitting the tree. Tracy, aware of what was happening, was charging as fast as she could towards the tree – we often employ teamwork like this if we happen to be close together. Unfortunately the bay in which the trees were located had an increasingly soft bottom and we both soon found ourselves struggling in knee-deep mud. As it transpired I managed to avoid the first tree only for the fish to spit the hook somewhere as it powered at full pelt past the second tree. Perhaps I’d pulled the hook out by using too much pressure?
Tracy also had a near thing with a very big bonefish. We were walking up a narrow, rocky flat together when Tracy pointed out a small shark coming our way. As I focussed I quickly pointed out that it was actually a bonefish which was so large its dorsal fin was protruding from the surface as it swam in the skinny water. We were taking alternate shots at this point and Tracy was up – she produced a perfect cast which saw the fish charge the fly instantly and then tail, and what a huge tail it was. I’m still puzzled why the subsequent strip didn’t pull things tight, perhaps the fly was badly orientated on the rough bottom or it was one of those split second timing issues. As it was the fish sidled off into deeper water, out of sight.
Another regret I have is not landing a big jack. We saw them, and in fact I hooked a nice one but there seemed to be a bit of a ruckus with the other jacks accompanying it and I think they probably dislodged the hook from the one I was playing. One issue we found with targeting jacks is that they tend to hang out in the same sort of places as do ‘cudas. They are a bit leader shy and won’t (often) take a fly that’s attached to a wire. Unfortunately if you remove the wire then you’re almost certainly going to get a take from a ‘cuda first – this is something I need to work on next time.
This weekend sees the BFCC at the Sportfish Reading show. This is a fantastic event, lots of casting and tackle demonstrations, talks on entomology, destination fishing and specific species etc. as well as a cookery teach-in plus food and beers available on site. What more could you want? – a casting tune-up from the line-up of fantastic BFCC instructors, Mark, Sekhar and Mike, the three MCI’s, obviously? More details can be found on the Sportfish website and their FB page, if you’re going please drop by and say hello to Tracy (and me) on the stand.
All the best, James