Florida Keys Bonefish Charters

Hunting for Grey Ghosts
in the Lower Keys & Key West

About Florida Keys Bonefish

(Albula spp.): 

One of the best comebacks of all time in South Florida is the recent story of the Florida Keys bonefish.

The bonefishing in south Florida during the 80’s and 90’s was arguably some of the best in the world both for size and numbers of bonefish.

The fishery was on a noticeable decline during the turn of the millennia and peaked low about 10 years later.

Through the implementation of conservation practices both on and off the water, we saw a dramatic recovery of bonefish stocks within the last 10 years.  Double-digit days on bonefish are possible once again and the average size of fish increases every year.

key west bonefish
lower keys bonefish

Florida Keys Bonefish on Fly

Bonefishing with a fly rod is epic and can be compared to Formula One Racing!  Bonefish on fly are usually targeted with an 8 – 10 weight rod and floating line, fly rods are fast action and reels must have a serious drag system.

The most effective bonefish flies for the Florida Keys are typically small crabs and shrimp flies.

The Gotcha fly and its variations are some of the best patterns for Florida bonefishing.

Small crab patterns such as the strong arm crab and the Merkin crab are the most well suited for Keys bonefishing.

Bonefish flies typically have heavy weighted eyes that make the hook ride point up and get the fly to the bottom fast.

Bonefish prefer to eat right off the bottom so your fly and presentation must be in the lower half of the water column to be effective.

Long steady strips are used when presenting a bonefish fly and the fish usually decides to eat the fly or not several feet away from it.

permit crab fly
gotcha bonefish flies
langosta bonefish fly

Florida Keys Bonefish Charters:

Dade and Monroe Counties, Miami and FL. Keys are the southernmost two counties of Florida and the only places in the United States where you can target bonefish, otherwise, it’s an international flight to The Bahamas or Central America.

On an Outgoing Angling Charter, Florida Keys bonefish can be seen on almost any flat less than three feet deep with ample tidal flow.  They typically travel in small schools depending on their size, it’s routine to see small groups of two to five bonefish in a school but it’s not uncommon to see groups of bonefish in the 100’s.

Throughout the world there are several different species of bonefish, Florida has three of these five plus different species of bonefish Albula garcia, Albula vulpes and Albula goreensis. 

A lot is being discovered currently about bonefish biology and the species distinctions, it seems every year science reveals yet another species or classification of bonefish.

Bonefish readily take a fly or live bait and are typically hard to find or see meanwhile remaining fairly easy to hook because of their aggressive tendencies.

A spinning rod and a live shrimp work very well for bonefish, where an unweighted hook or small jig is used to cast the shrimp and provide a delicate presentation.

Bonefish fishing requires a medium action rod and a reel that can hold a lot of line!

lower keys bonefish on fly
keys bonefish
double bonefish

A recent study by scientists at the University of Miami estimated the value of a single bonefish in the Florida Keys to be $3,500 each year. That’s nearly $75,000 over the lifespan of the fish! Most bonefish anglers recognize the value of bonefish as a gamefish in Florida and practice catch and release with the bonefish they catch.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee

Photos from our Florida Keys Fishing Charters

bonefish on jig
bonefish on fly