Best Flies to Catch Bonefish
No matter where your bonefishing adventures take you, you always want a nice selection of flies. With bonefish everywhere largely preferring shrimp, your collection should include a few good imitations. Your bonefishing flies should also have varying sink rates, colors, and sizes. As a general rule, be sure to pack lighter flies (small bead chain eyes) when fishing at shallow depths, medium weight flies (large bead chain eyes) in moderate depths and heavier ones (lead eyes) for attracting bones in deeper waters. The following is everything you need to know about choosing and using flies to catch bonefish.
Fishing for Bonefish with a Fly
When using flies to catch bonefish, start by creating a solid thread foundation that travels down the hook shank lengthwise. You’ll want to position your thread just 3/16″ away from the eye. Next, use figure eight wraps to tie the eye just at the very top of the hook shank. Once this connection is secure, the thread can be moved until it’s just over the hook.
Known throughout the world for its effectiveness and appeal, the Gotcha was first tied by the legendary fly expert Jim McVay. Available in eye-catching pink, tan and krystal flash colors, this imitation shrimp is a favorite among both bones and anglers. If you’re looking for a fly that’s lightweight and big, go for a #4 Gotcha and then tie it with a large bead chain rather than lead eyes. Gotcha ties typically run-in sizes two through 6. No matter what size you choose, always try to pick a color that matches the flat bottom.
The Mantis Shrimp lends much of its effectiveness to its mobile, rubber legs that near-perfectly mimic the movements of a live shrimp, and its undeniable subtlety. If you’re fishing in an area where the bones appear to be especially quick to spook, try switching to the Mantis. With light brown rabbit fur at the wing, and tan flat waxed nylon thread, it blends well in many environments. When using the Mantis Shrimp, the eyes should be tied in at approximately the tail-length, and the light brown rabbit fur should be snipped, and then securely lashed to the hook shank top.
Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp
A very lifelike spawning shrimp pattern for the flats, Peterson’s spawning shrimp are known for their distinctive egg sacs. This bright orange addition is sure to attract more aggressive fish with the promise of a double meal. With its long rubber legs and conspicuous profile, most fish won’t swim past it. Given that this fly has more elements and more weight than most other shrimp imitations, it works great with all three sizes of eyes.
East End Lodge Crab
Although you’re bound to catch a lot of attention with shrimp flies, bonefish also dine on crab whenever they can. Having a few crab flies on hand certainly can’t hurt your efforts, and it will make you more versatile and better able to adapt to different environments and bonefish temperaments. The East End Lodge Crab fly has four tan, movable legs, flat, pink, waxed nylon thread, and silver bead chain eyes or silver lead dumbbell eyes. This heavier fly works well on windy days and in deeper waters.
From lifelike, moving shrimp and tantalizing spawning shrimp, to heavier crab flies, your fly box should be diverse and full. With a nice selection of flies to choose from, you’ll be ready for any surprises that your next bonefishing excursion throws your way.