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Old 10-03-2012, 10:20 PM
wjc wjc is offline
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Default Re: Moving from the NW to Vieques, PR

I'm really excited for you. If I were younger I'd move away from the US too. Since you are moving there, you will learn quickly enough where the bones etc. are, what to use and how to spot them. I've never been there, but I've caught bones for a lot of years.

I did a quick search and see that PR has glass minnows, pilchards and greenies (thread herring). Bones like glass minnows - especially the younger bones - and will race around like crazy chasing them. It is actually pretty comical to watch them doing it. They remind me of young dogs chasing butterflies around the yard.

The glass minnows will "spray" or "shower" (jump in groups) ahead of bones but generally not for sharks, rays or baracuda. The minnows will spray even if the bones aren't after them. Sharks normally travel in a straighter line than bones too, and I think the glass minnows just part for them. Feeding snook act very similar to bones when chasing minnows , and the minnows act the same as well. So if you see minnows spraying in random patterns get that fly in front of them quick.

Keep looking for nervous water, the slightest little ripple and so on. Even in very shallow water, often just the very tip of the bones' tails will periodically get close to or just barely above the water and make very discrete little disturbances that can be passed up as a lone finger mullet or something that lost his school. So keep track of them even if you think they are nothing. Bones usually don't push much water unless they are pissed off (from seeing a bad cast) or are excited and chasing down something.

When they are pissed off at you they will hump up and push a huge amount of water - sometimes slapping their tails too. The most pissed off I ever saw one get was when I cast at him after my buddy, about 50 yds up the beach spooked him. This was a big bone. He no sooner got settled down on his way toward me that I cast at him and he went ballistic. He smacked his tail like a freaking beaver, humped himself up and then swam about a 3/4 circle around me pushing a huge wave in front of him and smacking his tail about every 15 feet. It was hysterical.

Bones will sometime be close around the rays too in shallow water. Deeper and there will likely be a bunch of pesky little jacks around them like a school of remoras but I don't remember ever see the jacks like that in real skinny water.

I like shrimp immitations when fishing in either turtle or bay grass rather than crab immitations and I would imagine the turtle grass there would be bright green as it used to be here years ago and still is further down the keys in places.

Here are some pics of my go to flies when fishing grass for bones. I don't know what the name of them is. The top one is a Biscayne Bay fly that I'm guessing is a small mantis shrimp facsimile. I can't imagine what else it would be. If it is, it looks like it's already been cooked. A friend gave it to me and I've not used it - but I do know that he's very successful with it on Biscayne Bay bones.

Click the image to open in full size.

If I were in PR, I'd find out where they hang out and wade for them. On Google Earth it looks like good wading to me. Boats are a big pain for bones - especially for a single angler - except they can be handy for getting to flats not accessable by car and foot. The only time I've fished from a skiff for bones alone was a mucky area where it was impossible to wade - but then I only fish for them on flat days, since I can pick the day the same as you will be able to do, YEAH!, and only when I think they will be tailing. I never could get excited about deep water bonefishing.

In my opinion (and I'd like to hear other opinions on this) I don't think bonefish like wind on their wet tails any more than I would like dragging my bare ass through the snow. They like warmth as much as me, and that's why they don't live in Maine either.

The higher and cooler the wind, the less they like it. A hot or very warm light breeze they don't seem to mind so much, so I think its the evaporation cooling factor. On those days they are in deeper water - and nearly impossible to see without a poling platform, a high sun and no clouds in the background. But trying to control or stake out even a light skiff in the wind, secure the pole noislessly, and grab a rod without losing sight of them - not worth it to me. They don't just sit there waiting for you like cuda do.

I'd rather wade for them in a spot I'm pretty sure they will show up at on a good tide, late on a calm afternoon. Then, if you have good eyes you can sometimes see them a long ways off as well. Just don't run down the beach unless you are in soft sand.

When wading, you will see and learn a lot more than you will from a boat - like exactly what the crabs look like, how they act and their general size range. Then you can start to tie them up yourself. You will also learn exactly how the flat floods and where the fish will likely move onto it from. But I'm thinking from a Keys perspective, and those flats may not be as "flat" as these down here. Nonetheless, unmollested bones are really very habitual creatures and if you wade a flat for a while, you will actually get to know them - the local bones that prowl that flat- and since you are also prowling it, you can try to figure out why they are doing what they are doing.

If you are in a boat and go racing off for a "better" place, you'll never know if they showed up after you left or not. They could well have been swimming around off the edge then heard you leave and said "lets go eat, that idiot in the boat finally left".

Looking at google earth, it looks like crab immitations would work well in the sandy areas, and you might get lucky and get a permit bite as well using crabs. They don't seem to mind wind on their tails as much as bones either, but they range much further north too. You won't be seeing anything on a mottled bottom like turtle grass on those windy days anyhow.

I've rambled too long. You'll figure it all out. When you do your strip strike, don't grab the line very hard. Their reaction time is explosive, and their tails are pretty big for their size.

Good luck. I'm sure you're going to love it down there. Make sure you get back to us after you get there.
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http://www.miterclamp.com/Images/N_Amer_FF.jpg Cheers, Jim
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