Humble pie bonefishing

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Just returned from a DIY bonefish trip to N Caicos.  Second time around for this place.  We have the logistics down well.  Fished hard, usually dawn to @4pm (later on the single day the wind died).   Tough conditions, wind a legitimate 18-22kts most days......although serious cloud cover only one.  Got sick, probably the flu.  Came near to collapse one day and skipped fishing the next.   Caught fish most days......anywhere from 1-6, usually 3-4.  Low numbers, but saw plenty and cast at plenty.   The humble pie bit regards my conversion ratio.  I probably hooked about 20% of the fish I had decent chances at.    I have some thoughts that might help others also on the steep part of the DIY learning curve.


On foot, in the wind, the fish are going to be very close.  You've got to get the fly to the fish and the fish has to see it.  Use something that is either bright or contrasts with the bottom.  Leave the realistic subtle stuff for better days.  You want a fly with small lead eyes.  Usually when wading you don't.....too much splash........but in tough wind splash doesn't matter and directional turnover does.  Upline your rod.  A 9wt line on an 8wt rod is good.  Your going to be making most casts with less than the full 30' of head outside your rod tip.  Forget about shooting line.  If anything pull back to help turn the fly over.   TEACH YOURSELF TO CAST CROSSWIND 30-40' WITH YOUR WEAK HAND.  This is crucial (it doubles the number of realistic chances you will have) and is not that hard.  You're not trying to double haul or carry a lot of line.  You're just trying to lay out a straight line in front of a close in fish.   The cross wind will pull slack from your back cast so it is pretty easy to learn to make a smooth forward stroke and turn over a decent loop.  You can do it. Practice a little when waiting to find fish.  When you first see the fish make up your mind which hand you'll need to use, shift the rod, and get ready to go.  Don't quit on a spooked fish.  When it is windy and rough they often don't go very far and sometimes even circle back take a better look.   Don't expect to find fish where the were the day before.   It doesn't seem to work that way.  Probably your presence the day before has had an effect, but also, in wind, water gets pushed around and the water level where and when you found them one day will be subtly different the next.......and with bonefish a 1/2" difference in depth means a lot it seems.  Hunt shallow and slow.   The wind torn surface will kill your visibility in much over 12" of water.......and 12" is plenty of water for bonefish......too much probably since it means there is even skinnier water they likely are trying to access close by.   I'm thinking that 6-8" is their sweet spot in the wind.   


I'm curious if other's experiences are similar.           


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Great write-up. I am book for Provo in February.. Booked a guide for my first full day on the island.. then 6 days of DIY. Can't wait. Have been reading and searching for as much info as possible.


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Great post, just reread it after I looked at the long range forecast for T&C. Heading down there late next week for a DIY. Looks like the weather isn’t even as good as your week, maybe two days with little cloud cover. 

I think your assessment of bonefishing on foot in adverse weather is right on. This will be my first trip there but I’ve had a lot of DIY trips in the Bahamas. I’m going with two buddies who went there last year.  

Weather is weather, make the best of it and adapt. 

Thanks for your tips.

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