Bonefishing in Downtown Islamorada | Sport fishing magazine

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The flats adjacent to downtown Islamorada are a favorite spot for bone fishing.
Jen Grantham / Stocksy United

Throughout this village of islands – Plantation, Windley, Upper Matecumbe, Lower Matecumbe, Indian, Lignumvitae and Tea Table Key – bonefish use their conical snouts to traverse fertile seagrass beds and extirpate an abundance of crustaceans, invertebrates and small fish.

Convenient for anglers, much of the action takes place on apartments adjacent to downtown Islamorada (mainly Upper Matecumbe), close to renowned sites such as Cheeca Lodge and Spa, Worldwide Sportsman, Library Park , the 1935 Hurricane Monument and Robbie’s Marina.

Bonefish roam oceanfront flats, especially on clear, calm days that make sight fishing easy, but Florida Bay’s vast habitat holds the lion’s share. The bay also provides more windbreaks on windy days.

Captain Jared Raskob says fresh shrimp or crushed blue crab are the natural bait, while fly fisherman often trick bones with shellfish patterns. Whichever you choose, be aware that the Bones of Islamorada are very cunning and do not tolerate intrusion.

“It’s like playing chess,” Raskob said. “You’re trying to find a way to get your bait into their window of opportunity without them knowing how it got there.”

Get it right and your hook launches a missile into shallow water that will wipe out half your reel in the blink of an eye. Blast it with a splash cast or too much pressure slipstream and the bonefish will validate its “gray ghost” moniker.

Learn how to catch them here and you can catch these shiny speedsters wherever they swim.

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