Bonefish can weigh up to 8 kg and grow up to 104 cm in length. They are silvery in colour with dusky fins, with the bases of the pectoral fins being yellow in colour. They are heavily schooling fish with some of the larger individuals sometimes travelling singularly instead of in schools. The Bonefish is also known as phantom or grey ghost.

Interesting Facts

Bonefish are probably pound for pound the strongest and fastest running fish in the collective of salt-water fish.

Scientific Name Albula vulpes
IGFA World Record 16lb 3oz (Bob Schroeder, USA), Islamorada, USA, 2007
Largest Recorded 19lb, Zululand, South Africa, 1962
Other Names albule (French), damenfisch (German), macabi (Spanish), peixe-banana (Portuguese), albulid (Swedish), albula (Polish)


Bonefish are predominately a coastal species that tend to inhabit the shallower water that covers the sand flats often venturing out into the deeper channels. They can also be found in great numbers amongst the turtle grass beds and mangroves. When the tide sweeps back and forth over these areas the Bonefish will probably follow.

Feeding Habit

Bonefish feed mainly on small crabs and shrimps benthic worms, fry, crustaceans, and molluscs that inhabit the shallower waters in which they hunt. They are also known to follow Stingrays looking for the small prey items disturbed by their rooting.

Tackle and Methods

For best results and fantastic sport we would recommend a Multi-piece 7 or 8 wt. Fly rod in the nine foot length. A fast tapered saltwater rod that has been specially designed for the riggers of the salt. Good models to choose from include the Sage RPLX, G. Loomis GLX and the Scott Saltwater series, all in three or four piece.

Fly Reels should hold a minimum 150 yards of 20 lb backing and be specifically designed for saltwater Fly fishing if possible. Smooth disk drags, plenty of backing capacity, and sturdy aluminium anodized frames are features to look for in a reel. Models to consider are the Sage 5000 Series (5300 or 5400), Tibor “Everglades”, Billy Pate “Bonefish”, Abel (2 or 3N) and Streamline (SL 3N).

Fly Lines need to be a weight forward floating line. These lines are specifically designed for saltwater Fly fishing with a special braided monofilament core that provides the proper stiffness to allow excellent shooting while resisting tangles, even in tropical heat.

Leaders: Tapered saltwater leaders made from clear monofilament (8 – 15 lb. class) 10′ – 12′ are the best for this style of fishing. Umpqua Bonefish Leaders and the Rio Powerflex Knotless Bonefish Leaders are good choices.

Fluorocarbon leaders are another good choice as they are near invisible in the water, perfect for spooky fish in very clear water.

The following list of flies should cover most of the bone fishing situations you will encounter:

  • Crazy Charlies #6 (silver, amber, crystal pink, crystal chartreuse)
  • Blind Charlies #6 (silver, amber, crystal pink, crystal chartreuse)
  • Mini Puff #6, # 4 (pink, tan/orange, chartreuse)
  • McVay Gotcha # 6 (chain bead-eye)
  • Christmas Charlies #8 (tan, pink, yellow)
  • Nasty Gilbert #6
  • Mangrove Critter #1/0

    Bonefish Holidays

    Bonefish & Tarpon Experience Fishing Adventure

    Bonefish & Tarpon Experience

    This 8-day trip takes us to the Florida Keys to do battle with the sleek silver Bonefish and giant Tarpon. Fish the crystal clear shallows in a super fast speedboat and do battle with some of the hardest fighting fish there are. This tour is suitable for all types of