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“Many days a lot when you wouldn’t normally go fishing due to high winds, clouds or rain, you go anyway because people have booked the trip and come from a long way away. Guides have to go and make the most of it. It is the guide who can make a good day out of a potential cancellation that becomes a hero to his customers. Chumming for bonefish is excellent for this situation.”
One of my favorite things is to do is sight casting - it’s all I did when I first started guiding. When the sky is clear, it is a great thing to do. I did not learn how to chum for many years and simply relied on good weather to fish the way I wanted which was by seeing the fish and then throwing to it. However, eventually with fishing there are days where you just can’t sight fish (rainy or cloudy days). If you are a professional fishing guide you get put in this situation often. Many days a lot when you wouldn’t normally go fishing due to high winds, clouds or rain, you go anyway because people have booked the trip and come from a long way away. Guides have to go and make the most of it. It is the guide who can make a good day out of a potential cancellation that becomes a hero to his customers. Chumming for bonefish is excellent for this situation.
First off you want to go to a place that is a good spot for bonefish. In order to do that you can look at charts or you can look at Stu Apte’s “Fishing in the Florida Keys and Flamingo” where he has pictures and locations where to find Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit and more in the Florida Keys (click below to purchase).
FISHING IN THE FLORIDA KEYS AND FLAMINGO
It is by far the best thing that has been done on the subject. Apte describes in detail the techniques that have made him a legend in a region that attracts the tops in guides and sportsmen--experts like Ted Williams.
Anywhere oceanside from Key West to Key Largo is a good start and look at maps to find Bonefish.
Maybe you already know some good spots or you settle on some info you got from a chart or elsewhere. Tide is important. I personally prefer an outgoing tide when I am going to chum for Bonefish but often you don’t have the choice. Most times, the weather has forced me into a chumming situation. The most important factor is the strength of the current rather than the direction. If you don’t have much tide flow, you probably won’t bring in many fish because the scent just does not travel very far.
For your rod you will need your standard 7’ rod, medium to medium/heavy action, 10-15 pound braided line and for chumming I will use a 3/O plain shank offset J-hook (usually I use a 2/O). You will also want some Split Shot because you want the bait to be presented right on the bottom. If you are planning on chumming, buy 6-8 dozens shrimp in the morning.
Check out how to keep shrimp alive with Jeff Maggio for the next day if you don’t use all of them.
So once you have the shrimp you will break them (or cut them) into little 1/2 inch pieces and throw them in front of the boat where they will be in small area and go right to the bottom. This is the tricky part - you need to be careful of how much chum and the frequency you throw them out. If you throw all of the shrimp in your well you will attract every other fish species that is out there. If you throw out just a handful and also put 2-3 pieces of shrimp on your hook and throw it right where the chum is you should be in a good position.
You should also throw it just out of sight, if you can see 20 feet out, then I will usually throw it about 40 feet out. And this is why I prefer the outgoing tide, this will wash the sent out to the Bonefish and they will come in. Then once you have cast, set your rod in the rod holder (this is called Rodney) and wait for it to bend and line to rip out.
Listen to the podcast for more details.
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See you on the water,