Bonefishing from a stand-up paddleboard is a whole new aspect of saltwater fly fishing
In between host weeks here in Belize my time has been spent largely behind a computer screen, but today I took a little work break and explored some of the backcountry lagoons behind Cayo Frances Farm & Fly on a SUP board.
I went searching for juvenile Tarpon that reside just behind the lodge’s property, but with the sun still quite high I decided to do a bit of exploring. Paddling into the wind can be a bit of a task, but as I came across a nice flat something caught my eye.
I was so concentrated on keeping the board moving steadily into the wind that I didn’t even realize I had just spooked a school of 50 or so Bonefish. I put down my stake to anchor the board on the flat, and hoped they would circle back to where they had just been feeding.
It took a few minutes, but eventually I could see the wave of shadows coming towards me. I had already pulled some line off the reel and was ready to make the shot, I dropped a #4 Spawning Shrimp a couple feet in front of the lead fish. Just before the fly settled to the bottom I began making the slow but steady retrieve that Bonefish love.
I watched as a fish swam at an accelerated pace towards my fly, and eventually the line jolted away from me. After a solid strip-set, I allowed my stripping line to clear onto the reel and was immediately into my backing. Bonefish are so incredibly strong it is hard to put it into words, and hooking them from a paddleboard is nothing short of spectacular.
I quickly popped the hook and watched the fish disappear onto the flat, the whole school had now spooked so I went searching for rolling Tarpon. Though my short venture was cut short by the sand flies, I was lucky enough to see a Crocodile on my way back to the lodge! It disappeared into the mangroves as I got closer, but seeing one from a board is a neat experience.
Back on the Tarpon search tomorrow morning, and very much looking forward to our second week of guests here at Cayo Frances!