If there is a fishermen’s heaven, every salt water angler could tell you a large portion of it would be an exact replica of The Bahamas. There would also be a special section of that heaven for anglers who stalk the “flats”, the shallow tidal areas with rocky, sandy, and sometimes grassy bottoms that line the coasts of our islands.
These flats make excellent feeding grounds for one of the Bahamas most exciting fish, Albula vulpes, the bonefish, or as some have nicknamed it, the “gray ghost” or the “silver fox”. Whether feeding singly or in large schools, bonefish thrive on the small shrimp, crabs, minnows and other sea life found on the flats and in tidal mangrove areas. The rising tide on these flats is the equivalent of a ringing dinner bell for this game fish that are one of the fastest fish on the flats.
During the summer months, the larger fish move into deeper waters, but as the temperatures grow cooler, they move back to the flats and seasoned fishermen know the Bahamas winter months, starting with January, are some of the best times for record size bones on the flats.
The name bonefish is an apt one, with hundreds and hundreds of bones found throughout their body. Catch and release, whether on a fly rod or a spinning rod, is the practice of conscientious anglers when chasing any size, but particularly record size, bonefish.
Because we have the big ones and those that can help catch them, Bahamas bone fishing is legendary in the angling community. Ask any fly fisherman about the Crazy Charlie, said to have been invented by the famous Bahamian bone fishing guide Charlie Smith.
More Information on The Lord of the Flies, Charlie Smith
Whether you’re a captain of industry or just a captive of the sport, every angler has a chance to land a record bonefish in the Bahamas.
You can be a part of keeping the “silver fox” forever on the flats in the Bahamas by joining the Bahamas National Trust as they help to bring about legislation to maintain the mangrove and feeding areas that support healthy bonefish populations.
If you’re keen on learning as much as you can about bonefish, check out the facts, science, and reports at the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, a worthwhile U.S. based organization that has assisted with understanding more about the habitats and breeding habits of bonefish, including here in the Bahamas.
Now time for a dance break in honour of the silver fox of the flats. Enjoy Bahamian singer/songwriter Phil Stubbs “Bonefish Folley”.