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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 01-16-2014, 08:01 AM
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Default Spotting bones over grass

I went out on one of the local flats for the first time this morning, but saw very little. I was out right at sunrise, and the low light made it really tough to see anything. Is there a trick to spotting bones on grassier flats? Should I wait until the sun is higher in the sky? Pretty much all my fishing will be over grass, so tips would be greatly appreciated!

I know this particular flat is good, as I've seen schools of bones there before, and been told to go there by a couple different people including a guide. Saw one fish today, and only because he was a bit bigger and pushing a wake. Took a shot at him, not sure if he bolted towards my fly for an aggressive eat or spooked, but it was my only action all morning. Did see one small lemon shark that I thought was a big ol' bone until he swam right up to my feet.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

A higher sun will surely help but I think the big thing is spending time on the water. I chase redfish here on the Texas Coast. It took me a long time to see them in the water. I see them a lot better now that I have spent a lot of days on the water. Sure, wakes, backs, and tails are dead giveaways to anyone fishing, but seeing a cruising fish, totally submerged is something that takes time. Good polarized glasses are a must too, obviously.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

I have Rx glass polarized shades in vermilion, copper and amber and a quarter century experience bonefishing and STILL have trouble seeing bones on grass, especially morning and evening. Tailing, pushing water, fine but cruising with no surface disturbance is tough enough on pale flats much more so over turtle grass. Becoming familiar and attuned to your flats is the only thing; I hear the Vieques fishing can be good.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

It never hurts to hire a good guide. He can SHOW you what to look for. Spotting bones on sand is hard enough when the sun is low. Unless their tailing or pushing water its nigh impossible over grass. I also gathered from your words that youre wading? This has you at an even lower angle. It may be a consideration to get a stand up kayak or even a SUP to fish from. your visibility will be greatly improved with more elevation
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:08 PM
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Default

I went back to the same flat, and it actually extends quite a bit farther than expected.. the front half stays pretty shallow, at about a foot deep at high tide, and that's generally where the grass is (sort of a grass over marl situation). I've seen tails at this spot before.

Further out, it's pale, sandy marl and I spotted three fish. The first was the biggest bone I've seen in the water, and definitely got my blood pumping. He was swimming away and I couldn't get a good shot, especially trying to cast into heavy wind gusts. Second fish was smaller, but actually turned to eat my fly... set the hook when I thought I saw him eat and hooked a chunk of coral and spooked him! Doh!

I think I may just try and go out mid-day and catch the later tides if possible for now, just to get more comfortable spotting fish. Now that I've seen them, they are clearer lighter and more blue-green than the marl/grass. I've only ever fished the Bahamas before, and those are clean, sandy flats. The fish stick out like crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
I hear the Vieques fishing can be good.
Where'd you hear that? I spent a lot of time researching before moving here, and found very little info. Fishing here can be hit or miss without a boat, though we do have the largest flat in PR (accessible by kayak or skiff). We do have above average sized bones, apparently a great snook fishery and a lot of resident tarpon as well.

---------- Post added at 05:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:04 PM ----------

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Originally Posted by jbird View Post
It never hurts to hire a good guide. He can SHOW you what to look for. Spotting bones on sand is hard enough when the sun is low. Unless their tailing or pushing water its nigh impossible over grass. I also gathered from your words that youre wading? This has you at an even lower angle. It may be a consideration to get a stand up kayak or even a SUP to fish from. your visibility will be greatly improved with more elevation
Saving my pennies for a Native Ultimate 14, but that will be months away. I'd love to go out with a guide, but the only guide here is expensive and it'd be a tough sell to the wife
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

If you think youre going to be fishing this flat regularly, Id go out at a minus tide and just explore the lay of the land. Pay special attention to any trenches that lead to deep water, no matter how subtle. It may pay off to do this more than once to get it ingrained in your memory. Load a beverage or two in a pack and just go for a low tide hike with your antennae up you will be at a massive advantage as the tide floods if you have topo memorized

Glad to hear you spotted some and they showed some interest! Wont be long before you post a pic of one with your fly in its maw
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

Get hold of Capt Gregg McKee, he lived there and still has a house there, he now lives in Matlacha FL. He was a guide on the Island when he lived there. The Pine Island Angler
http://www.wildflycharters.com/pine_island.htm[COLOR="Silver"]

---------- Post added at 10:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 PM ----------
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

Good advice by JBird. Getting onto the flat at the late outgoing and studying it on the wane before dead low will show you the topography, and the troughs that the outgoing flood's into where there is a decent current. Many flats in the Keys are deeper close to shore than further out.

Unpressured bones will often hang around in those on the outside of the flat to catch what's coming off the flat much like trout, and you may find that blindcasting is very productive when nothing is on the flats on the outgoing.

Then you can stay and watch how the incoming floods the flat.

As for seeing them, grass is the worst if the water is even slightly deep. However, if you have little minnows there that we call hardheads, fatheads or bigheads here or glass minnows, both will "shower" or "spray" out of the water for both cruising bones and snook. Not so much for sharks, and hardly, if ever, for rays or cuda. Don't wait to see the fish in those conditions, cast immediately ahead of where you think he is heading.

Lots of rays on flats are a good sign, and bones will frequently follow them or their mud/sediment/broken grass trails . They will also follow your trail if you are wading steadily, so scan behind you as frequently as everywhere else and pay frequent attention to the area behind cruising rays.

If you see several or more fish very close to the rays, they are likely small jacks and not bones however.

Water being pushed in a straight line for quite a ways in shallow water is nearly always a shark, so don't get too fixated on them. If the water is deep and you see a little nervous water and then again in close proximity to the first, go ahead and cast to it. Cuda's almost never cause nervous water. Steady, nervous water is usually rays (or sharks) , but ocassionally can be a bone on the go, though they usually act more like bird dogs. Mullet you will get used to quickly.

Like Aggie said, time on the water is the big thing. And time on the same flat is really a good way to go. You will not only learn the flat, but if you're lucky, you'll begin to learn a regular or two - a certain huge fish, for instance, that has a particular routine identifiable from the rest, and likely accompanied by only one other fish, if any. Take mental note of areas with exceptional numbers of crabs, what they look like and how they swim. Bonefish size ones used to be thickest here in the Spring.

Flats fishing for bones, where there are still bones, is the most addicting fishing I've ever done. You'll get it.
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

I misread a tide chart today and actually ended up wandering around during low-tide for a couple hours and really getting a lay of this particular flat. The flat is not as the ones I've explored in the Bahamas, probably 50x150+ yards, with some much smaller flats continuing on down the coastline. It also gets the brunt of the trade winds, so it's a tough spot to fish. The good news: I timed my drive to this spot this afternoon and it takes me exactly 10 minutes to get there

I was also getting a steady stream of clouds keeping the flat in shade for much of my fishing time today... so I broke down and started blind-casting the edge of the flat the last fifteen minutes before needing to head home. I desperately need the casting practice in these winds. Actually caught a little jack, which was officially my first fish on a fly in Vieques! It was sort of funny... set the hook when I felt him, and then held my line out waiting for it to start peeling out, and nothing. Didn't even get on the reel. Bones are going to make me pay my dues.

Going to go out and try again tomorrow and then give this flat a break. High-tide is at 10:30AM, so I might actually get a good morning of fishing in. Other than the damn wind, conditions are actually pretty ideal

---------- Post added at 04:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:24 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by nctribute View Post
Get hold of Capt Gregg McKee, he lived there and still has a house there, he now lives in Matlacha FL. He was a guide on the Island when he lived there. The Pine Island Angler
http://www.wildflycharters.com/pine_island.htm[COLOR="Silver"]

---------- Post added at 10:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 PM ----------
I actually exchanged a few emails with Gregg right after I moved down here, but he was a little vague with his info... just like a good guide . I've since met an ex-guide and a working guide, and both have given me good info to get started. The island is fairly small, so there are only so many spots to fish. So far, I have about a half-dozen spots I want to look into, I am just sort of pumped on this one flat as it was the first place on the island I actually saw bones.

We were on a hike one day and I saw about 40-50 tails sticking up.... conditions were obviously just right, as we saw sooo many fish just casually hanging out on this flat and totally ignoring us. I didn't have a rod, but it's what reignited my need to fish. Just hoping to see another day like that.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: Spotting bones over grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonism View Post

We were on a hike one day and I saw about 40-50 tails sticking up.... conditions were obviously just right, as we saw sooo many fish just casually hanging out on this flat and totally ignoring us. I didn't have a rod, but it's what reignited my need to fish. Just hoping to see another day like that.
Typically what happens when you can't fish.
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