Discover The Largest Bonefish Ever Caught in Florida

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Published: February 1, 2023
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Bonefish are common off the coasts of southern Florida. There are nine species, although this wasn’t known in the past. Bonefishing is a popular sport in Florida and the Bahamas. They are premier fly and light tackle game fish. Keep reading to discover the largest bonefish ever caught in Florida!

About Bonefish

One of the fastest fish, the bonefish can live for up to 20 years. They are relatively small, and their shape assists them in swimming quickly.
The bonefish can live for up to 20 years. They are relatively small, and their shape allows them to swim quickly.

©Leonardo Gonzalez/

Bonefish are typically released when caught; however, some people enjoy eating their catch cooked in pepper sauce. These fish also mainly live in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans and can live up to 20 years in the wild. Are you ready to learn more about bonefish? Keep reading to learn about their appearance and interesting behaviors.

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Size and Description

These unique fish are silver and olive green. Some species have silver sides, while others have silver sides that darken to olive green. Their scales are also very shiny and hard to see in the water, which is how they got the nickname “gray ghosts.” Sometimes the bases of the pectoral fins are yellow. Bonefish are slender fish with narrow snouts. They use their narrow snouts to dig into the sand when hunting for food. They aren’t very large, but anglers love the challenge of fishing for them. Bonefish can reach 31 inches long and weigh about 14 pounds.


Bonefish are carnivorous fish. They hunt fish in shallow sandflats or mudflats. Bonefish mainly eat small fish and crustaceans. They aren’t picky eaters and will sometimes hunt in groups. However, it’s not uncommon for a bonefish to hunt alone. Some common animals in their diet include crabs, shrimp, snails, worms, and small fish.


men holding fresh bonefish caught in cuba close up
The scales of the bonefish are super shiny and hard to see in the water, which is how they got the nickname “gray ghosts.”


Unlike other carnivorous fish, bonefish aren’t aggressive. Instead, their defense against predators is to swim quickly. A few natural predators of this fish include sharks and barracudas. Bonefish typically hunt and migrate in schools. They are wary fish and will scatter when spooked, even in large groups. This is what makes them so hard to catch.


Bonefish hunt and travel in small groups. This is a form of protection and also helps them hunt better. They are most common in shallow water, often roaming underwater seagrass flats and white sand. Bonefish hunt under high tide and look nearly invisible. They also move quickly and change their direction frequently.

The Largest Bonefish Caught in Florida

Bonefishing is a popular sport in Florida. Even for the most experienced anglers, bonefish are challenging to catch. These large bonefish aren’t easy to catch, so it’s impressive when someone does. The largest bonefish ever caught in Florida weighed 16 pounds and 3 ounces. This is impressive, considering most bonefish only weigh between 3 to 5 pounds, but they are larger off the coast of Florida. On March 19th, 2007, Robert Schroeder caught this large bonefish in Islamorada, Florida.

Saltwater fishing is very popular in the state. Other impressive records include a 142-pound greater amberjack, caught by W. A. Colbert, Jr. in Islamorada, Florida. Many of the saltwater fishing records were caught in Islamorada. For example, on April 29, 1981, Ted Damiano caught an impressive 61-pound and 8-ounce longbill spearfish.

Are you curious about the largest bonefish in the world? It’s a bit hard to determine since many types of records exist. However, Jerry Lavenstein holds the IGFA’s official Atlantic Bonefish All-Tackle World Record. On Feb. 25, 1971, he caught a 16-pound Atlantic bonefish with a 19-inch girth off Bimini in the Bahamas.

Other Common Fish Found in Florida

Florida has no shortage of amazing fishing spots. This state is unique and has a diverse environment. For example, you can fish in a freshwater or brackish lake in the state. You can also fish in the Ocean on a pier or by taking a boat further out. Florida is a popular fishing destination and hosts fishing tournaments every year. There is something for everyone.

For example, while fishing in freshwater, you can find largemouth bass, redear sunfish, black crappie, sunshine bass, bluegill, and chain pickerel. While you can fish these species, you need a valid Florida fishing license. If you want to fish by the ocean or beach, you have better luck finding flounder, dolphinfish, black drum, tuna, barracuda, striped bass, lemon shark, and blacktip shark.

The best fishing spots in Florida for saltwater and freshwater fish are Islamorada, Key West, Destin, and the Atlantic Coast.

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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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