Re-acquainting with our backing knots

Re-acquainting with our backing knots

Tracy&James | Sunday, 6 November 2022

Bonefishing can be exhilarating, but it can also be frustrating. With the higher water levels this time, we are adjusting our notes on pretty much all the ‘flats’ we previously fished. However we have found some new flats where the fishing’s been great with bones eager to snaffle our flies. I love to stalk the bonefish and watch where they move, anticipating the direction and casting suitably in front of them, to see if they will take the fly I cast.

I prefer casting to singles or pairs as it is easier to target the cast accurately. When it goes well and the bone chases the fly and picks it up and you get to strip strike, it is amazing fun, though you do need to keep in control of the fish as it can go into a ‘snaggy’ area that can lead to a breakage. This happened to me a couple of days ago when I couldn’t stop a nice fish reaching some dead trees, resulting in a cut leader.They can run extremely fast and you have to make sure the loose line is not caught in any way (around your bum bag for instance) and then check for snags. Yesterday I had a close take from a good size bone and had lots of loose line to clear, which I did, but then I noticed the line, and then backing, was dragging through a snag. I had to walk towards the ‘snag’ whilst still playing the bone, keeping the rod tip low to try to determine what the ‘snag’ was. The backing was dragging through a sandbar and by pointing the rod toward the ‘snag’, fortunately the backing came free and I was able to continue playing the fish with the rod high and retrieved my backing and some of the line onto the reel before it ran again. This fish I did land, however sometimes it can be a close call. A few days ago, the bone I was playing ran through lots of weed and I ended up with as much weed as the fish probably weighed on my leader – this is difficult as it can cause the fly to be dislodged from the bonefish or the leader to break if not played very carefully. Fortunately James was nearby and came to help, so was able to assist in grabbing the bone whilst there was still a significant amount of weed on the leader. Also this meant I was able to have a photo with the bonefish, rather than my usual selfie.

It’s lovely, after three years, to be re-acquainted with our backing knots – these haven’t seen the light of day for a long time but are now visible as they fly out of the tip ring on an almost daily basis when a bonefish runs. Even though we’ve mentioned the higher water levels, we are still finding plenty of bones and catching them. Although our next trip will definitely be back to our usual spring time, mainly for the better light during spring, we are enjoying this holiday - albeit with a few more health issues as we are both getting on a bit.  We are looking forward to the next few weeks before we go back to the UK.

I’m still hoping to catch something big, either a shark or a cuda, I don’t mind which, though I would be absolutely ecstatic with both. We have seen a few big shark but have not been successful as yet with catching them, however we haven’t seen that many big cuda. I had a few small cudas today on my bonefish rod with a toothy-critter leader that James made for me. It was fun to catch them but it would be even better to catch one much bigger. Thankfully, James had an opportunity yesterday and caught a nice sized one whilst I was catching snappers and jacks from a creek opening. He saw it chasing a few bones and decided to go for it – it slammed his fly and after a tense fight, all photographed by me, he unhooked the biggest cuda of the trip so far. Hopefully I’ll get one of these soon too, although my record for landing them isn’t great (according to James I don’t drive the hook in hard enough).  

We record where we go each day and what we catch and I’m loving catching lots of different species, currently we’ve caught bones, cudas, mutton and mangrove snappers, bar and big eye jacks, garfish, mojarra, wrasse, pompano and a stunning triggerfish. So sharks are the species we have yet to land – preferably we’d like to catch a good sized one, or two.

Whatever you do this weekend, tight-lines,

Cheers, Tracy