: Albula vulpes
Silver Ghost, White Fox, Macabi.
The bonefish is a tropical species and is seriously fished only in the
south end of Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami and the Florida Keys and also,
of course, throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean. Stragglers are
sometimes caught north of the preferred habitat, usually from the surf,
although a few are taken from the Indian River. The Long fin variety is
rare in Florida.
Bonefish do much of their foraging on shallow mud or grass flats, where
they can be sighted and cast to. They also frequently gather in large
schools over fairly deep, soft bottom, where their feeding stirs up
patches of silt or "mud."
Thick-bodied but streamlined. Dark back, usually greenish, and silver
sides; pointed snout with underslung mouth; forked tail. A smaller and
much lesser-known variety, the Long fin Bonefish, looks almost
identical, except for streamer-like extensions of its dorsal and anal
Common from 2 to 10 pounds; sometimes to 15 pounds, and possibly to 18
or 20. World record 19 pounds.
: 15 pounds, 6 ounces.
Although popular in the Bahamas and tropics, Bonefish are seldom eaten
in Florida. They are indeed very bony; and too highly prized as game
fish to kill for, at best, a mediocre dinner.
Legendary for long-distance runs in shallow water. Strong, jack-like
fighter in deep water.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
For sight-fishing in the classic style, the most productive tackle is a
spinning outfit with a light rod of 7 feet or longer and 8-pound test
line. Bonefish are also among the top favorites of fly fishermen, whose
standard gear is an 8-weight outfit. Lighter fly rods get some spot use,
if wind conditions allow, and 9-weight outfits are not too heavy for
good sport. Live shrimp is the bait of choice among spin fishermen, but
cut shrimp, conch (in the Bahamas and Caribbean) and crab all work well.
Best lures are "skimmer" jigs, 1/8 or 1/4 ounce, with horizontally
flattened heads that help keep the hook upright. Most fly fishermen lean
toward very small flies with monofilament weed guards on No. 2 or even
No. 4 hooks, but standard streamers on No. 1 or 1/0 hooks work. In a
less-than-classic approach, Bonefish can be caught by bottom fishing on
deep flats and in channels near the flats.
Casting; Still Fishing.