About the Florida Bonefish
Called the “Grey Ghost” or “Silver Bullet” of the flats, bonefish account for about 95 percent of the recreational fishery in the Keys (BTT’s Annual Bonefish Census estimates a total population of 320,000), but they are almost transparent to the naked eye. Bonefish mature at three to four years of age, may live longer than 23 years, and can grow to be three feet long and 15 pounds.
The Allure of the Lure
They remain elusive because of their legendary skittishness, a result of a life on the run from lemon sharks, osprey, and other predators. Sure, there are bigger species to catch in the Keys, like the tarpon, which can weigh more than 100 pounds, but few are harder to catch. Therein lies their appeal, according to Dr. Aaron Adams, director of science and conservation for the Key Largo–based Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) and an avid bonefisherman: “If it’s too easy, it’s not worth it.”
What You’ll Need
“If you want to do it yourself, you can be here for months before you see anything,” says Braun, who insists that enlisting the help of a guide is key, since the flats are always changing depths with the tides. Couple that with unwavering patience and a cast refined over months in your backyard, and you just might have a chance. Keep in mind, though, that true bonefishermen employ a strict catch-and-release policy for the horrible-tasting fish. No matter; the real trophy here will be the most epic of fish tales for years to come.Little Palm Island Resort & Spa // Ocean Key Resort & Spa