Big Hole River 3460 cfs
Last month on Andros Island my good friend Jim Finney caught a huge bonefish on his first ever bonefish excursion. I asked him to tell the story in his own words so we all could enjoy the experience, so here goes.
By Jim Finney
I’m fishing solo. Thre are five of us, but three of the guys are way the hell and gone on the other side of a big flats bay. Al, the fourth in the group, convinced that I was jinxinghis day, suggested I move into a likely area wherebones might travel to and from the ocean. Now, the thing I do best is take expert advice–and Al is truly a giver. Forget the jinx thing. Al thinks in fish, even talks some. Anyway, I did as he suggested and Al immediately got a big fish on: it was a barracuda, a good sized barracuda. So what if we’re bonefishing! We hadn’t seen anything all day but a couple of small sharks. Nada. Zip.
Maybe an hour later, I’m thinking this bonefish highway is for the birds. The only things that are biting are the mother of all pests, the infamous Doctor Fly. They love Al, but since Al is now a quarter of a mile away, they decide I’ll do. The only good trait they have is that they are easy to kill and so I dispatched the three that were having me for lunch.
As I looked up, I could not believe thatwhat I was seeing was real. IN about eighteen inches of crystal clear water and twelve to fifteen feet in front of me, was this gorgeous lunker of a BONEFISH1 The day before, I had caught a five/six poinder and this fellow was much, much bigger. He either didn’t see me or he figured he could take me easy. (Did I say earlier that this was my first time for bones?) He was so close that I was afraid to cast for fear of spooking him, so I waited til he moved out from me another ten or so feet. We were out of the shrimp imitators we had used the first three days so Al had tied on a pink “something” that I silently questioned.
I threw the pink something at him/her and it wasn’t pretty. Still cruising, I laid a perfect cast about three feet to her/his right which I strpped skillfully and he ignored. Further, he was now slowly moving further away. Alarmed that he’d soon be out of reach, I started to follow when, for who knows why, he turnd back my way. At twenty five feet. I tossed the jilted fly a third time and after a couple of strips, all hell broke loose. I yelled to the two of us, ‘FISH ON’ and a bunch of other stuff I can’t recall. I was on the backing in milliseconds and he was headed toward the open sea. I had the drag cranked down as tight as I dared and he was still taking line with ease. Then, for some reason, he turned and ran 90 degrees to the left but was still tight-lining (my word)
I’ve been told by those who know that bones don’t do aerials. Bull Pucky! This baby sure as hell did. Four feet up and traversed eight to ten feet right in front of my unbelieving eyes. I used the holyS word with four e’s.
The next ten minutes were take it in, give it back several times and pure fun. Soon, however, he was within netting distance. what net? No net, no skiff with hemostats, no Al. The choices were one: dog-walk Boney two hundred yards to the beach and release him there. It took about twenty minutes and we were at the shoreline and in thre inches of water. It struck me- they’ll never believe me! I thought of imprinting Boney in the sand, but was certain that would for sure kill this wonderful creature. So, I decided to use my rod to measure his length. Butt end to his tail, his nose fell 1/2 inch shy of the second guide. I repeated this three times to be certain and then walked my friend out to the deeper water where he slowly tailed away.
We put the tape to my rod when we got back to Hank’s Place and the number read 41 1/2 inches.I swear on my sainted mother’s grave. First timer. Go figure.