Originally Posted by Vince
2. loosen the drag so the bone outruns the shark, usually throwing the shark off and often working.
I've tried this a few times, without success. As soon as the bone has the fly line and 50 meter backing out there, it's too heavy of a load to drag for a bone, especially while changing direction (when the shark comes closer). With this strategy, I'm 1 for 6. The only time this worked was when there were mangroves close by, the sharks got disoriented and appeared not to be able to hone in on the prey, perhaps somewhat confused by the line whipping the surface away from the bonefish.
Just breaking of the fish, as mentioned, is an option. I've never managed to snap the leader (I use 20lbs), but unless it's hooked deep, it will often come loose from the bonefish's mouth, I find this to be the case especially with smaller bones and heavy flies. It is of course never the case when you're fighting a small one, and you spot a trophy bonesaurus cruising right at you!!
So based on my rather limited experience, I find it works best to reel the bonefish in hard, cancel the showmanship run and bring it home immediately, if it breaks off, that's fine, and if it doesn't, go between the bone and the shark, scaring them off has never been a problem. Luckily, because there is no plan B at this stage..
It does make for a good memory, I once had an evil sharkie (about 5 feet) trying to get at my bone which was almost reeled in, the shark had been a bit tentative as I was wading right at it, but it suddenly made one last go at it and the bone swam through my feet, with the shark hot on its tail. It would be a blatant lie to claim I responded particularly cooly to this, jumping roughly a yard in the air and letting out a rather high-pitched non-manly scream at the top of my lungs...
Perhaps a cool man's plan B is to dismantle the rod and use the butt-piece to fend the bastard off.
It is interesting to note how different sharks can behave, sometimes I've had them get close to an unprotected hooked bone, only to turn away. Sometimes you can hold the shark at bay by wading towards it and cutting of its attack angle, all while playing a splashing bone. Sometimes the shark is all business and heads straight for your fish, I've seen them come from 50 yards away, 2 seconds after the bone is hooked, the shark came at light speed, and there was nothing tentative about its approach. It is certainly something that triggers their killer instinct on and off, I was once told seeing the prey fish on its side was one trigger. Perhaps the different modes of the shark (and they are curious creatures always stopping for a look when they hear/see/smell something) are important for the success rate on rescuing the bone.
I don't know about jumping on a shark, but stepping on one's head seems reasonable. Since it's mouth is underneath, it can do nothing but suck on some sand. Sometimes the bone is smart enough to go high in the water, then the shark practially has to jump out to get it's mouth at the fish, a spectacular sight.