Fall Bonefishing in South Florida

Article Written by Honson Lau. Learn More About Honson Lau Below / Article Read Time: 5 Minutes

Fall is perhaps one of the most exciting times of year for targeting bonefish in South Florida. This is the time of year when we transition from the dog days of summer to cooler weather and water temperatures are more consistently in the mid 80s. The bonefish will remain active throughout the day with the cooler temperatures. The bigger tide swings in the Fall will make it more comfortable for some of the biggest bonefish to make their appearance on the south Florida flats. 

Fall can bring both windy and calm days. A 9 weight fly rod is the hammer and nail standard of bone fishing, particularly in the fall when windy days and deeper water might require you to have a delivery system for bigger, heavier flies. The standard leader taper for a 9 weight is an 8 foot section of 50 lb butt section, 2 foot section of 25 lb mid section, and 2 to 3 foot section of 12 to 16 lb class tippet. I prefer Cortland Fluorocarbon Leader Material for building my entire bonefish leader as it offers less resistance against a fly’s sink rate. Having your leader below the water’s surface also makes for less surface presence when stripping the fly. If you can train yourself to read the fish in respect to where your fly has landed and predicting where your fly is located rather than relying on the end of your fly line, you will get away with more shots when fishing Cortland Clear liquid crystal fly lines as this offers a stealthier approach in situations such as quartering shots.

When it comes to flies, the golden rule is to choose a fly that is heavy enough to sink down quickly in the depth and current you are fishing but one that is not too heavy as to make a big splash when it hits the water. Higher water typical to the fall means you will be using heavier flies often as most of your fishing will be done in deeper water. As the tide falls and you have windows of lower water, you drop down in weight of your fly. Slimmer shrimp patterns work well over harder bottom and wider body crab patterns work well over grassier bottom. 

Bonefish favor big tides and the Fall pattern has typically some of the biggest tides. The windier days and greater mass of moving water are key ingredients to finding an environment favorable for bonefish. The potential of early season fronts bringing in high pressure and bluebird skies is also a key element in visibility for sight fishing bonefish. Whether you are fishing flats from Key Biscayne to Key West, you will find the Fall to be the best time for Bonefishing in FL. Stealth is key once you have found where the bonefish live. Keep your liquid crystal fly line lubed and clean, keep your loops tight, give the fish the proper lead, and strip your fly proper… God speed.

About the author

Capt. Honson Lau grew up native to Miami and the upper Florida Keys and has been fishing these waters since the early 90s. His guiding career started in 2009 though poling a skiff goes beyond a career. It is how the captain prefers to spend his days both on and off the job. Honson has spent a number of years fishing all over Florida but Miami and Islamorada are where he calls home.  Capt. Honson’s obsession and overly analytical approach to this fishery, has afforded him the opportunity to partner with some of the best in the fishing industry to help in the development of the latest and greatest products.

Products Mentioned in this article:
Fluorocarbon Leader Material
Liquid Crystal Series Fly Lines

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