Fly-Fishing for Bonefish by Chico Fernandez

Can you wade into one more bonefish book? Well if you’re ready to roll here goes. This is the last one in my collection and so, sadly, our foray onto the turquoise flats of the world must end here. 

Up at bat this time is Fly-Fishing for Bonefish by Chico Fernandez, a highly experienced saltwater fly rodder fully qualified to cover the subject. This book was published in hardbound by Stackpole Books in 2004. At that time it carried a cover price of $49.95.

Like the Kaufmann title, it hosts large 8.5″ x 11″ pages, although lengthwise it is shorter at 191 pages. In the graphics department there are plenty of color photographs  and some nice watercolors by Millard Wells. The foreword is by Sandy Moret of Florida Keys fame; the bonefish biology material is courtesy of well-know authority AAron J. Adams PH.D.

The book is broken up into three main sections- The Bonefish’s World, Tackle and Equipment, and Catching Bonefish on a Fly Rod. Each contains several chapters of solid information. The first section holds the best life-history of bonefish in any book to date. But it is in the second section that book really starts to shine. Chico’s advise on tackle is extensive and in far greater depth that we have seen before. For instance when covering  bonefish fly rods, he has more to say than Babson, Brown and Kaufmann combined. Chico does a great job as well with fly lines and flies, although some readers may find it odd that the author dwells as he does with old school patterns such as Pete Perinchief’s Horror and Chico’s own Bonefish Special. Continuing on, the second section offers valuable information on reels, and proper rigging. And his explanation of leaders is very good too, with a insight into leader material, knots and leader design.

In section three we head to the water. Here we get the author’s advise on casting techniques and the importance of learning accuracy. Next he informs us how to correctly wade a flat and how to work with a guide from a skiff.  If you new to bonefishing this is going to be very helpful to you. Believe me. Following that, we look into how to lead a bonefish based on conditions. Fly placement is critical stuff. And then Chico goes into  retrieve speeds, hooking and landing you bonefish. With all that behind us, he gives help with other gamefish we may encounter on the flat.

Lastly we come to the subject of travel. Here, unlike either Brown or Kaufmann, Fernandez doesn’t give cover specific bonefish destinations. Rather he spends his time telling us what to bring on a trip, and how to prepare our carry-on bag,  pack our camera, and our rods.  


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