- Posted by Jared Nelson
Trout Set, Bonefish. First and foremost and before all else, I am a fly fisherman. To get a bit more specific, my species of choice is trout. Now, I don’t discriminate against trout species. I will happily catch rainbows, browns, cutthroats and so on (I may not love the Apache but hey). Of course I fish for the small-mouth and large-mouth during the spring but it’s not my main art form.
Bonefish present the next logical challenge in terms of fishing on the fly. My wife generously allowed me to make our yearly vacation a fly fishing one – to Belize! Arranged through Taylor at Cross Current Travel Group we booked a trip to the Blue Bonefish. All-inclusive guiding and lodging award basically the perfect excursion.
To say bonefish fishing offers a more difficult presentation than trout is a massive understatement. Casting on calm, flats water offers a much different experience than on a flowing river. Our fantastic guide, George, indicated that I wasn’t the first trout fisherman he had experienced. Though I have relatively flawless technique for fresh water – it caused some “bad habits” fishing to bones and permit.
On the second day we ventured to the northern side of the island and found the perfect spot for catching all the main species. Schools of permit and bones swam all around the boat. I experienced the frustration that my own clients probably feel sometimes with George constant telling me I “spooked” the fish. I even became tangled my feet in my own line – rookie move!
Around midday a beautiful school of permit came through and I laid the cast just so. Set hook and get ready to reel it in! Alas, I utilized my regular and very effective “trout set” and what I had was immediately lost. George looked at me in disbelief. How could a professional fisherman miss that huge permit? Turns out it happened because hooking these bony mouthed creatures is not the same.
Same art form, different execution. I learned my lesson and ended up with some beauties on this trip. It left me with a longing to go back and try to perfect this ever so slightly different craft.