The Perfect Day on the Flats

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Photo by Louis Cahill

John Byron

You’re after bonefish.

An easy flight and you found all your luggage. The lodge is even more comfortable than you expected. Supper was super. Your new fishing companions seem a really great bunch. You’re excited to get fishing. 

Next morning seems perfect. Sunshine all day. The right tide. Gentle breezes, sufficient to calm the fish but not enough to hamper your casting. The guide knows his business and handles the boat flawlessly, spotting fish early and lining you up for easy casts. When you wade, it’s on hard bottom, a comfy depth and the wind and sun at your back. 

You find fish all day long, big ones in singles and doubles, larger schools all ready to take your fly, which seems to be the perfect weight, size, and color. When one spot slows down, you move to another loaded with bonefish, maybe stopping for some fun fishing alongside a big mud. It’s the perfect day.

And it happens so seldom that you should never never count on it. 

Any putz can catch fish on a day like that. Your challenge … and the great challenge of bonefishing as a sport … is bringing in fish on all the other days. It’s an okay spot, but the fish just aren’t there like they should be. Refusals and you can’t find the right fly. No wind and the fish are ultra spooky. Howling wind, the water churned and milky and you can’t see fish until they’re at your feet. Clouds all day. Dark skies over a dark bottom. The wrong tide. All the fish from the wrong direction. Wind knots and trailing loops. Ice melt got into the sandwiches. And did I mention, it’s raining. Is easy fishing really what you’re looking for?

Tough fishing. 

That’s what you came for. Not the easy fishing that seldom happens, but the hard fishing that takes all your skill and guile to deal with. That’s why you take the time and spend the money and improve your gear and plot how to make the next trip more productive. 

The rule in golf is play it where it lies. Do that chasing bonefish too. Dream of a perfect day. But enjoy the less-than-perfect days even more. 

John Byron
Gink & Gasoline
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