In the Keys, our bonefish are notable for their size and smarts compared to other destinations. Six pounds is an average fish, and as you can see on this site, 10 or 12 pounders are not out of the question.
It’s true that bonefish don’t have the brawn of our tarpon or permit, but they make up for that with personality and speed. Teasing a bonefish to a fly, shrimp or jig can be like convincing a kitten to attack a toy mouse. All it takes is a wiggle or two, followed by a long, steady strip, and the fish is off to the races while your drag sizzles. Our bonefishing shines because of the water clarity that on most days allows this scene to play out before your eyes.
The Florida bonefish is unique because of the complicated tides and the many different flats habitats, from sand, to grass, to marl. The fishing experience is very different in each setting. Bonefish have pigment-filled chromatophore cells that expand and contract to change the fish's color to match the flats. Bones might look gray in one place and green or even iridescent blue in another.
Bonefish are also a fly tier's dream. Florida researchers recently flushed the stomach contents of 200 Keys bonefish and found 106 types of food. Crabs and shrimp were the most common find, but the researchers also found a surprising number of two-inch-long toadfish.
As for seasons, there is no bonefish charter season per se. Generally speaking, the first warm days of spring can be excellent, and will continue all summer into the fading heat of September and October. Spectacular fishing can be had on all but the coolest days.
Catching a Florida Keys bonefish is an angling achievement you'll never forget.