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Old 06-29-2011, 09:34 AM
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Strange Bonefish Behavior

I witnessed some interesting bonefish behavior in the Bahamas over the last few years. I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on this, and whether or not anyone else has seen this.

There is a certain small flat that has a good sized school of bones (75-150 fish) After fishing to these fish and hooking a few, the school often moves a short distance off (100-300 yards) into slightly deeper water (4-6'). While in this deeper water, the school hovers near the top, and occasionally fish will porpoise, with their whole head out of the water. I took a couple photos from a distance away.

Could these fish be looking for us fishermen, as predators? It really looks like they are looking at us. This was my initial reaction after I saw the photos I took.

Or are they feeding on something near the surface? Or spawning?

They wanted to be on the flat, away from the sharks and barracudas in the area,and we feeding, but after we spooked them off, they exhibited this behavior.

I did read something about this on the BTT website, and it sounded very similar. I believe they thought the fish were spawning. However these fish were feeding in shallow water, and only moved out deeper because of our presence.

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Last edited by Vince; 06-29-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2011, 02:58 PM
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Vince -

I've got it... they were flipping you the "middle fin"
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
Vince -

I've got it... they were flipping you the "middle fin"
Probably as close as we'll get to the real answer!
Jon
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:49 PM
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As crazy as it sounds, I really think they may have been checking us out!
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:05 PM
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They wanted to be on the flat, away from the sharks and barracudas in the area,and we feeding, but after we spooked them off, they exhibited this behavior.

Something like what you said above. I have never seen bonefish do that. Don't know if they were watching you or not but they were probably on the surface to avoid predators, like you see bait fish do sometimes, and waiting for you to leave or until it felt safe to come back on the flat. After all if there is a shark out there they were the bait fish.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:21 PM
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I've seen the same thing several times now. It looked to me also as if the fish were looking at us, but I doubt it very much. One observation is that casting into one of these schools on the surface is an almost certain hookup, and that they spook no where near as easily as on the flats. The cast requires an immediate fast strip to keep the fly up at their level. We have asked some of the natives about this and they do not seem to have an answer.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:30 AM
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I know this is an old thread but I just ran across it. I haven't seen that behavior before, but I had a really interesting experience with bonefish behavior about 7 years ago that still has me perplexed. I was on South Andros and walking down the beach from the lodge to go fish a nearby flat. I was very close to the lodge still when I saw a good-sized bone maybe 5 pounds or so swimming maybe 5 feet off the shoreline very slowly and lazily towards an outlet only about 5 feet wide that was one outlet that drained/filled a very large mangrove "lake" inshore.

I immediately stopped and started stripping line to cast to it, and put a nice soundless cast about 5 feet in front of the fish. It ignored it and continued to swim towards me, so I dropped to my knees and continued to cast to it, putting another half dozen casts right in front of it. The fish never changed its swimming speed or reacted to the fly at all. An employee of the lodge happened to be there too and was on his knees next to me as the fish swam closer and closer. It finally got to about 15 feet away and I gave up on trying to catch it and the two of us stood up. The fish could certainly see us but still didn't change its course or speed. We were right on the edge of the outlet, and the fish swam to the outlet within a few feet of us and then started to swim up it.

I was so surprised by its behavior that I took my rod tip and gently poked the fish, which made it give 2-3 slightly more powerful pumps of its tail, but it didn't really spook. It just kept swimming lazily up the outlet into the mangrove lake. There was nobody fishing anywhere in sight, so I seriously doubt the fish was tired from a long fight or something like that.

It looked like a perfectly healthy, normal bone. Any ideas?
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:56 AM
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I've also seen the same schooling behavior in Los Roques on my last trip.

I've also had fish act like the one you describe Scott.

Maybe they are just wise old timers who know better!
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince
I witnessed some interesting bonefish behavior in the Bahamas over the last few years. I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on this, and whether or not anyone else has seen this.

There is a certain small flat that has a good sized school of bones (75-150 fish) After fishing to these fish and hooking a few, the school often moves a short distance off (100-300 yards) into slightly deeper water (4-6'). While in this deeper water, the school hovers near the top, and occasionally fish will porpoise, with their whole head out of the water. I took a couple photos from a distance away.

Could these fish be looking for us fishermen, as predators? It really looks like they are looking at us. This was my initial reaction after I saw the photos I took.

Or are they feeding on something near the surface? Or spawning?

They wanted to be on the flat, away from the sharks and barracudas in the area,and we feeding, but after we spooked them off, they exhibited this behavior.

I did read something about this on the BTT website, and it sounded very similar. I believe they thought the fish were spawning. However these fish were feeding in shallow water, and only moved out deeper because of our presence.

I've seen this behavior 3 times on separate trips on the same flat in Grand Bahama.
Which Island was this on?
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:22 PM
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Acklins island.

I have also seen this on Los Roques several times in different areas.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:47 AM
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Vince, I forgot to post in this thread after my trip this spring, but I saw a school doing this on Andros this April. They were in deeper water and it was by FAR the biggest school I've ever seen. They covered 500 feet wide and long easily and were in 6 feet of water from the bottom to the top. I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were 10,000 or more fish in the school of every size including double digit fish that I saw rolling on the surface (and hooked one but broke it off!). They were porpoising and seemed to be feeding in a channel where the tide came out of the flats on the south end of Andros. I've never seen them porpoising like that but I caught probably a dozen or more fish out of the school before moving on because it was just way too easy. I was hooking fish 4 or 5 times on some casts because there were so many and they weren't getting the fly the first time. I think I had fish on 6 consecutive casts at one point!
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