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Pro Tips: Keys to a Successful First Bonefish Trip

Anyone who reads fly-fishing magazines and websites knows that the bonefish is one of the real prestige species for saltwater anglers, but, despite the fact that I edited one of those magazines, I’d never even seen a bonefish in person until I was in my 30s. My whole fly-fishing life had been spent chasing trout and salmon. Aside from a few trips for striped bass in the Northeast, I hadn’t focused on fishing the salt at all. Finally, I figured it was time I remedied that situation, so I started to look into making my first tropical saltwater excursion.

Everyone I talked to agreed that Belize is the place to go if your main goal is simply catching a few bones. There aren’t a lot of trophies down there, but there are so many fish that you’re almost guaranteed to get tons of opportunities to hook up—weather permitting, of course. I headed south for a few days at El Pescador on Ambergris Caye.

On my first night in Belize, I sat around with the other anglers staying at the lodge, many of whom had a lot of experience with bonefish, and I tried to ask as many questions as I could about what I should expect. They gave me some pointers, explained to me the many pitfalls to be avoided, and assured me that I would do fine. As it turned out, they were right, and I did catch my first bonefish the next day.

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