Bonefish is a popular gamefish and are known as "grey ghosts of the flats" because they are stealthy, fast swimming fish that are fun and challenging to catch. Bonefish mature at three to four years of age (17-18 inches total length), may live longer than 23 years, and grow to be three feet long and 15 pounds.


Body elongated, silvery, with darkish areas at the tip of the snout and at the base of the pectoral fin. May display faint bars. Dorsal fin single, tail deeply forked. Mouth short, underslung, ending before the eye.

Size up to 1 m.

Inhabits shallow coastal waters, estuaries and bays, over sand and mud bottoms, down to 84 m. Often in schools, except for large individuals that are solitary. More or less pelagic, but feeds on benthic worms, crustaceans and mollusks. Tolerates oxygen poor water by inhaling air into a lung-like airbladder.

Abundant to occasional South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean; rare North Florida.


Live shrimp and crabs make good bonefish bait, but bonefish also respond to fies and artificiallures. They also can be enticed to bite by anglerschumming with chopped shrimp. Casting is another test of the angler’s skill; casting too close to a fish will send it scurrying, whereas a line dropped too far away will never get its attention.Once hooked, a bonefish makes a mad dash for deeper water, often breaking the line on rocks or corals as it streaks across the bottom. Most anglers use 10-pound test line on bonefish. Although bonefish can be caught any time of day, tailing fish are most likely to be spotted in the early morning or evening. In the winter, bonefish are not as numerous in the shallows, and deeper waters are a better choice for the angler

Species Information

Scientific Name:Albula vulpes
Environment:Inshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:70-85ºF (21-29ºC)
Technique:Casting, Fly
Lure Type:Flies, Plugs, Spoons, Topwater
World Record:8.61 kg (19 lb 0 oz) Zululand, South Africa
Other Names:bonefish, bananafish, banana fish, grey ghost

Latest Bonefish Fishing Reports and Spots

Permit Me - 7/2/2013 9:08:59 PM

April-May is my favorite time of the year in the Florida Keys. One of the many reasons has to do with what I feel is the most exciting species (View)

Islamorada fishing charters - 4/29/2016 10:47:00 PM

Guess what?? The bonefish in Islamorada have been eating very good the last few months. Capt Donnie Benbow has treated his customers to many sho (View)

Bonefishing Florida keys - 6/11/2016 6:16:00 PM

The Bonefishing was very good this morning on captain Donnie Benbow's charters. Fishing the flats off Islamorada Donnie had many shots on the fl (View)

Bonefish - 10/25/2016 8:28:00 PM

It's been good! (View)

September Report - 9/13/2011 6:38:00 PM

Hey guys and girls sorry i havent been updating the fishing report lately. But to recap: July- Fishing was amazing in the Bahamas! Caught lots (View)

More dolphinfish at the FADs and massive land-based hoodlums there's plenty to read in Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 29 January 2021 🎣 - 1/29/2021 1:00:00 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 29/01/21 For Chris Webster catching dolphinfish at the met (View)

Islamorada fishing charters - 2/13/2021 1:31:12 AM

Guess what?? The bonefish in Islamorada have been eating very good the last few months. Capt Donnie Benbow has treated his customers to many sh (View)

Jay’s Bonefish Fly Tying Video - 12/22/2020 8:22:46 AM

In this video Jay ties a Bonefish fly. A good pattern to try next time you’re down fishing the salt! Hook: TMC 811s size 6 Eyes: Chicone’s Steal (View)

December Keys Tarpon - 12/12/2020 7:01:04 AM

The other day my buddy Justin and I got into some great juvie tarpon fishing on a guides day off. We are now in winter time fishing which is sti (View)

Discussion about Bonefish Flies with Jay Nicholas - 11/19/2020 2:36:03 PM

In this video Jay discusses the anatomy of a bonefish fly and the materials used to tie them. If you’re new or thinking about tying bonefish fli (View)