A tailing fish is seen feeding on a scattering crab. Your guide lines-up the skiff. You cast at the perfect moment. Strip, strip, strip…you got the fish. And the bonefish takes-off on a line-screaming run. The tropical sun lights up the flats like a pinball game as the backing comes off your reel, and your stoked you chose one of the best bonefishing destinations in the world.
Fly fishing for bonefish is a thrill—from sight-fishing to cruising or tailing fish to the myriad of colors on a remote saltwater flat to the fun and intriguing personalities of the best bonefish guides. Bonefish may be the perfect fly-fishing species and they are found in many places.
Here, all in one place, are The 8 Best Bonefishing Destinations in the World
Famous for well-known bonefish guides, islands home to some of the largest bonefish in the world, and easy accessibility, a Bahamas fly fishing trip is the quintessential bonefishing trip. From the remote flats of Andros Island to the white sand flats of Grand Bahama and Abaco, anglers will find plenty of fish in this island chain. The islands of the Bahamas comprise a 100,000 square mile archipelago that covers more than 500 miles of clear flats. Close proximity to the U.S. makes this a fast and easy destination for anglers with regular and direct access to islands like Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, and Nassau. We offer many Bahamas bonefishing packages perfect for novice anglers searching for a great first saltwater trip flats fishing for bonefish or to challenge their skills against some true trophies.
Home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the saltwater flats of this tiny country create an ideal habitat for bonefish. Bonefish here may not be as large as their Bahamian cousins, but what they lack in size they surely make up for in numbers. It is not uncommon for anglers here to see schools of hundreds of bonefish, many of them tailing in ankle-deep water. Whether you’re looking for a fishing-focused adventure, a first-time saltwater experience, or the perfect couples or family vacation; fly fishing in Belize truly offers something for everyone. Tucked just below the Yucatán Peninsula with a population of 300,000, Belize is the smallest country in all of Central and South America and the only country where English is the official language.
The bonefishing flats in the Seychelles are as remote as they are teeming with fish. Considered by many anglers to be the finest saltwater flats fly fishing in the world, the shallow waters of the Seychelles offer unbelievable wading and amazing fly fishing opportunities for an incredible number of different species. When you take into account the sheer diversity of fish species found in the Seychellois islands, the seclusion, the epic scenery, and the overall action, these are saltwater fisheries that are truly unlike any other found on the planet. Not only do plentiful and large bonefish swim here, in these area waters you will find bonefish in extraordinary numbers, several different types of trevally, milkfish, triggerfish, bumphead parrotfish, permit and dozens of other reef and flats species.
Considered by many as the greatest fly fishing island in the Caribbean, a bonefishing trip to Cuba shouldn’t be overlooked. Travel to Cuba on a Yellow Dog Fly Fishing trip is 100% legal. And, if you are targeting bonefish, your trip will also be 100% a smart decision. There are several locations for consistently good fly fishing in Cuba, each with its own unique qualities. The fishing can be exciting and productive, but a visit to Havana and to the some of the more rural areas of the island to experience the sights, the sounds, the people, the great old cars, the music, and the overall culture that Cuba has to offer is what makes these trips special.
Many people know of the Cooks Islands for their beauty and seclusion, however, their reputation as a legitimate bonefish destination is growing. That being said, the bonefishing here is not your traditional shallow water sight-fishing game. Because the flats here are little deeper and larger predatory sharks exist more so than in the Bahamas or Belize, the bonefish here tend to be 3 to 6 feet of water instead of less than 1 or 2 feet. But, that means the bonefish that swim here tend to be large. The Cook Islands offer outstanding opportunities for recreation, from fishing to snorkeling, as well as relaxation. Aitutaki is home to some of the most pristine, white-sand beaches and water the color of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, and for this reason, it is an ideal destination for devout anglers, couples, and families alike. The fact that non-stop flights run from Los Angeles to Rarotonga make this destination impossibly easy to get to from the United States, which means you can be sipping that cold drink out of a coconut much sooner than you think.
Home to Ascension Bay, Scorpion Atoll, and Chetumal Bay, the flats of the waters around the Yucatan Peninsula have rich turtle grass and plenty of bonefish habitats. With guides spanning generations and family traditions, a bonefishing trip in Mexico should be on every anglers radar. As an overall fishing destination, we love the Yucatán for a variety of reasons. Travel is quick and reasonably priced, with direct flights to Cancun from most major U.S. cities. Lodging and fishing packages are also affordable, offering the best value in the entire world of saltwater flats fishing. The diversity of species and fishing scenarios make the Yucatán the perfect destination for first-time flats anglers and intermediate anglers looking to improve their saltwater game.
This island atoll is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—a three and a half hour flight from Hawaii. Located in the South Pacific, equidistant between Hawaii and New Zealand, sits Kiritimati Island – the largest atoll in the world known to anglers as “Christmas Island.” Kiritimati is a remote and largely-undeveloped island that is part of a long island chain that makes up the country of Kiribati. It takes a bit of time to get here, but once you arrive, you find a saltwater wilderness area that is absolutely massive: an area that is home to impressive numbers of bonefish. The interior and exterior flats of Christmas Island are a mix of hard white sand, coral, and turtle grass, creating the ideal setting for wade fishing enthusiasts. For those looking for diversity of species and solid numbers of bonefish, Christmas Island is hands-down one of the top destinations in the entire world of saltwater fishing.
Although not traditionally thought of as a destination for bonefish fly fishing trips, a few areas of this Central American country are home to some great fishing. From the remote helicopter-required destination of the Faraway Cayes to the more accessible flats off Roatan, a fly fishing trip to Honduras is legit. Honduras is filled with natural treasures – biosphere reserves, national parks, wildlife refuges, and pristine coastal waters. And of all of these ecological treasures, the three Bay Islands (the Islas de la Bahía) of Roatán, Utila and Guanaja are perhaps the most exceptional. Situated on the southern end of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest coral reef in the world), the islands are home to beautiful flats, impressive numbers of bonefish, and excellent wade fishing opportunities.
Honorable Mention Bonefising Destinations
St. Brandon’s Atoll is one of the most remote saltwater flats atolls in the world. Over 250 nautical miles off the coast of Mauritius, this small Indian Ocean outcropping consists of 50 small islands. The magnificent condition of the shallow coral reefs and the lobster-infested outer reefs is proof that other than a handful of Creole native fishermen who seasonally live on Raphael Island in the north, this area has had very little human interference on any level. The flats fishing for trophy bonefish, Indo-Pacific permit, massive Giant Trevally and a variety of other species in the waters of St. Brandon’s is simply world class.
Australia is a land like no other. Much of the northern and eastern flats of Australia harbor bonefish. But, these flats are also home to such an array of exciting saltwater gamefish, the bonefish may cause you consider an Australian fly fishing trip, but the variety and size of many of the other species will keep you there and keep you coming back. Australia is home to over 2,500 marine species and many of the prime flats species are available to saltwater anglers. From GTs and a host of other Trevally species to Permit and the endemic Blue Bastard – you’ll find yourself needing a species book to work out what you have caught. And, if you have the opportunity to spend time on the reefs you may find yourself hooked to Spanish (King) Mackerel.