A study by the Florida Marine Research Institute provides insight into bonefish feeding habits. Researchers examined the stomach contents of 385 South Florida bonefish caught throughout the year. Most were taken off the Florida Keys, Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay, and ranged from 9- to 27 inches long.
Research indicates what bonefish of various sizes want to eat, and which artificial lures you should fish.
Though the biologists didn’t find any major seasonal trends, they did discover big differences in the diets of large and small bonefish. Bones longer than 17 inches tended to eat more shrimp, toadfish and crabs than smaller bonefish. Crabs and toadfish were the most popular foods among the biggest bones. Crabs comprised nearly 41 percent of the stomach contents, toadfish 18 percent. Smaller bonefish concentrated on mollusks and insects, and did not eat toadfish.
Fishing shallow flats for these jet-propelled fighters can be great fun. The results of this study suggest that tying on a hermit crab fly or large streamer could bring more trophies to the skiff.