Bonefish are pound-for-pound some of the strongest, fastest-running saltwater fish. Their scientific name is Albula vulpes, which means “white fox.” But to anglers, they’re also known as “grey ghosts” due to their elusive nature and their ability to show up then seemingly vanish in an instant.
Bonefish are noted for moving from deeper water onto shallow tidal flats to feed, where you can find and cast to tailing fish—one of the most challenging (and rewarding) saltwater experiences. They typically retreat to deeper water as the tide ebbs. Bahamas bones can reach upwards of ten pounds, but a more representative size would be about a third of that. Trophy bones are generally considered any fish equal to or in excess of ten pounds. Large adult fish break away from schools, traveling in singles and doubles and offering great sight-fishing opportunities on the flats of Abaco and South Andros islands.
As prolific as Bahamas bonefish are, relatively little is known about them. The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) aims to change that through scientific research in conjunction with our lodges. For more information, BTT is an excellent, angler-friendly source.
More on Bonefish…
Ideal bonefish habitat includes sand and turtle grass flats as well as protected bays and areas in and around mangroves. They are found worldwide in subtropical zones. In the Eastern Pacific, the bonefish’s range includes waters off California to Peru; the Western Atlantic range stretches from North Carolina to Florida, the Bahamas, the Antilles, and the rest of the Caribbean almost to Brazil. Bonefish are also found in the South Pacific, from Hawaii to Christmas Island and beyond.
A pelagic fish, bonefish feed on benthic creatures such as worms, crustaceans, and mollusks—rooting them out from the sandy bottom. Small to medium-size bones often feed in schools. Sharks and barracuda frequently prey on bonefish, which may explain why the fish evolved such an ultra-fast body for quick escapes. Bones can reach speeds up to 30+ miles per hour.