Top Bonefish Fishing Charters
Eric was concerned about us going out because of high winds but we were here for a special occasion so his partner Dylan persevered and took us out in a bigger boat. The conditions were indeed challenging but Dylan worked extremely hard to see that we had a good time. His love of the area and the nature around was obvious and we benefited from it. My wife caught fish for our lunch and a really nice grouper that we were unable to harvest due to seasonal restrictions. We had a lot of fish on and boated, had a great chat, saw beautiful nature and even had two birds, an osprey and cormorant, go after our baits. It was a wonderful adventure. We’re going out with Eric or his crew again tomorrow. It was an awesome morning! Highly recommend them.
Stewart B. with Eric S. of Islamorada, Florida
Ben, what a guy/guide! Our family had a great time out fishing with him. Very knowledgeable and friendly! 10/10 would recommend booking with him during your vacation in The Keys!
Philip H. with Ben T. of Tavernier, Florida
We had a great time. Through windy conditions we were still put on fish and enjoy the overall experience. We will be back.
Sean S. with Eric S. of Islamorada, Florida
It was more than I expected and seamless. I would highly recommend Captain Experiences.
Lucinda C. with Jamie C. of Key West, Florida
We had 2 boats. Ben was captain on one. Our captain was Zack. He was the BEST!! So friendly, we had a blast! I would recommend him to everyone! Donna
James B. with Ben T. of Tavernier, Florida
Ben was very knowledgeable as to where the fish were. From the Barricuda my grandson caught, to all the other fish my son in law, and myself caught. The weather was tremendous. Zach, and Ben changed their schedule to accommodate the 2 families. Will definitely book with them again.
James B. with Ben T. of Tavernier, Florida
Captain Mike is the Bomb! With over 30 years of experience Captain Mike, who usually likes to bait fish around Islamorada, was more than willing to take us flyfishing, and even had an extra reel when ours got jammed. He showed us around some beautiful tarpon and permit flats and we got tons of good shots at giant tarpon and permit. Capt. Mike clearly does it all, and his experience is hard to rival down here in the keys.
David I. with Mike P. of Islamorada, Florida
Everything You Need to Know About Bonefish Fishing
What is a Bonefish?
Bonefish (Albula vulpes), sometimes called just “bones” or “gray ghosts,” are an elusive fish that are highly regarded by anglers in their difficulty to catch. They have silver sides with slightly darker to olive green backs, stripes down their side, and have a very streamlined body.
This body shape helps them to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, helping them to evade predators and to run out your line in a matter of seconds. They also have lung-like air bladders, which help them to tolerate shallower water with less oxygen, and are very sensitive to noise.
How big do Bonefish get?
Bonefish vary in size depending on what area they are in. In Florida and the Bahamas, they will typically grow to four to six pounds. In the West Indies, they are known to get up to twice that size. There are rumors that waters near South Africa and Hawaii grow to over 20 pounds.
Regardless of where you find them, bonefish reach sexual maturity between three and four years, but can live up to 19 years.
What's the biggest Bonefish ever caught?
Despite the rumors of 20 pound gray ghosts being caught, the IGFA lists the all-tackle world record at 16 pounds. It was caught off a rod and reel by Jerry Lavenstein out of Bimini, Bahamas on February 25th, 1971.
There was a 16 pound, 3 ounce bonefish caught, weighed, and released by Bob Schroeder out of the Florida Keys on March 19th, 2007, however it was never certified by the IGFA, leaving Jerry Lavenstein’s monster in the lead.
Where is the best place to catch Bonefish?
Bonefish live in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Some of the best places to catch them are the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and near Belize, though they can be found up and down both coasts of the United States, as well as Mexico, Central and South America, South Africa, and Hawaii.
When it is low tide, bonefish will head to deeper waters, up to around 300 feet....Read More
When the tide comes back in, they will follow it to search shallow waters for food, swimming in mudflats as little as four inches deep.
When should I catch Bonefish?
Bonefish can be fished for all year, however larger fish typically move to deeper waters the during hotter months. This makes the peak season ranging from March to May, and then October when they return.
As mentioned before, they move inshore during high tide to hunt and feed. This is the perfect time to target them, so be sure to check out your local reports of high and low tide.
How do you catch Bonefish?
Bonefishing, or fishing for bonefish, can be done by fly fishing or with light tackle, by either drift or still fishing. No matter what method you use, be sure to be very wary of the fish, as they are easily startled, especially when schooling. Casting from six to ten feet away will lessen your chances of spooking them.
Chumming the water with shrimp, crab, or cut conch to distract them is also another great option. From there you can use natural bait such as live shrimp or small crabs, brought rapidly across the surface, or artificial baits such as flatheaded skimmer jigs, plugs, or flies, used to create sand puffs in the water.
Sight-casting for schools, or stalking individual bones cruising or tailing will lead you in the right direction. Tailing is a term used for the action of a bonefish digging in the ocean bottom of shallow water to look for food. They use their tails for leverage to dig, by slapping the water for balance.
Once they are found, and you have your prepared bait and possibly chum, you should aim that bait a few feet away from the fish, and give it a delicate and precise cast. The more confident you are in your aim, and your ability to lay it down gracefully, the closer you can aim to the fish.
Are Bonefish good to eat?
Bonefish, like their name suggests, are fully of many, many tiny and large bones making them nearly impossible to clean. Also, bonefish over six inches long are poisonous to humans when consumed, as they contain high levels of clupeotoxin. For both these reasons, bonefish are better off being caught and released.