Boney Flies - flies for bonefish - Global FlyFisher

GFF logo



   
Bonefishing theme
Theme intro
The ghost and I
Flies for bonefish
10 ways to improve
Biology of bones
Life is good
Books and DVD's

Boney Flies - flies for bonefish


Some are well known, some are close to unknown, but they can all catch bonefish.

By Martin Joergensen

The number of fly patterns for bonefish is almost as countless as the number of stars in the sky—or maybe just as the number of bonefish anglers. Here are a few well known and lesser-known samples for your inspiration.

  
+
Gotcha - The Gotcha was the absolutely most succesful fly of the trip. This one is a bit on the large side for Punta Allen. Flies in the size 6-8 or even in the 10-range with less flash were more popular - especially with the guides. The fish seemed less concerned.
Gotcha
+
CDC&Elk - Paul Slaney\'s bonefish variation of the CDC&Elk
CDC&Elk
 
Crazy Charlie
This is the father of a lot of modern bonefish patterns. No bonefish flybox should be without. Many of the patterns I like are tied Crazy Charlie style with the wing downward and the fly fishing hookpoint-up as a result. The original Crazy Charlie is a bright and shiny fly, which has a lot of attraction—but also a lot of glare that might spook off some fish. See description and materials here

Gotcha
Another classic in the Crazy Charlie style where the wing covers the hook point and both are supposed to fish upwards. The Gotcha is a fairly dull and naturally coloured fly and can be a very efficient fly in smaller sizes like 6, 8 and 10. See description and materials here

Bonefish CDC&Elk
Many GFF visitors may know Hans Weilenmann's CDC&Elk dry fly quite well. Some may even know that a host of variations of this fly has seen the light of day (Diving CDC&Elk, CDC&Elk Streamer and many more), but few could probably imagine that this fly also exists as a bonefish fly. Welsh Paul Slaney is to blame for turning this modern, classic dry fly into something completely different.

I have tied up bunches of Bonefish CDC&Elks to use in my daily saltwater fishing for sea trout, and the work very well as a small shrimp imitation. I can see no reason why the fly would not entice bonefish in the same manner. The fly is tied as a traditional bonefish fly in the Gotcha and Crazy Charlie manner with the wing under the hook. What happens when the fly is cast and hits the water is that it turns and fishes upside down. This makes it particularly well suited for fishing on the bottom, as is the case when fishing for bonefish.

Secondly the fly is a soft lander. Due to its fibrous CDC body and the fluffy deer hair wing, it will descend and land softly in spite of the fact that it has bead chain eyes to weigh it down. And I do not doubt that the CDC fibres will catch equal amounts of air and seem equally alive in saltwater as they do in freshwater. See description and materials here and the story of the original fly here.

Blackout Kluting
Another generic, neutral, shrimpy pattern incorporating deer hair. I tied the original Kluting for fishing for cod on the bottom, but a couple of years ago that pattern was converted into a sea trout pattern.

  
+
The Blackout Kluting - The Blackout Kluting is a very generic, shrimpy or fry-like pattern, originally tied for the first time during an afternoon with a blackout. No power, no computers. Just coffee and fly tying.
The Blackout Kluting
+
Brown Bonefish Bitters - The brown variation of the Bonefish Bitters which was my most succesful colour.
Brown Bonefish Bitters
 
Its colors and material choice makes it a very generic small fish or shrimp imitation, and it's another example of a fly intended to fish hook point up.
You can read the story of the original Kluting here and the birth of the Blackout Kluting here. See description and materials here

Bonefish Bitters
I have personally caught more bonefish on Craig Matthew's Bitters than on any other fly. That is one good reason for me to recommend it.

It is also easy to tie and very durable—two more reasons.

The original is tied with epoxy—often on premade MOE-hooks (MOE: Mother Of Epoxy)—and are a bit more crab like than my hot melt glue version. I doubt the fish can tell the difference. You can get the Bitters directly from Blue Ribbon Flies, the fly shop of the originator, Craig Matthews

Read more about this neat fly in this GFF article.

The patterns


Crazy Charlie
TypeWarm saltwater fly
Originator
Bob Nauheim
Year of origin
1977
Difficulty
Very easy
Target species
Bonefish

Materials
HookSalt water, straight eye, #4, 6 or 8
ThreadPink
EyesBead chain or dumbbell
BodyClear plastic (V-rib, Larva Lace or similar) over pink Crystal Flash or body braid
WingCalf tail or craft fur, white, tan, pink or other color
HeadTying thread


Gotcha
TypeWarm saltwater fly
Tied by
Martin Joergensen
Difficulty
Easy
Target species
Bonefish
Permit

Materials
HookTiemcon 800S or similar size 4-10
ThreadPink or orange
BodyMylar tubing, clear
EyesBead chain or dumbbell
WingCraft fur, tan


Blackout Kluting
TypeCold saltwater fly
Originator
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin
2003
Tied by
Martin Joergensen
Difficulty
Easy
Target species
Bonefish
Sea trout (sea run)

Materials
HookKamasan B175, #4-8
Tying threadTan 6/0
BodyTan dubbing, hare or similar
Wing/tailNarrow zonker strip, natural tan rabbit
EyesBead chain
Head/wingNatural deer hair

Tying instructions
  1. Mount the hook upside down in any vice or normal in a truly rotating vice
  2. Start the thread just over the hook bend. Actually under when the hook is upside down
  3. Tie in the silver tinsel under the bend. Actually over when the hook is upside down
  4. Dub two thirds of the body with an even cylindrical layer of dubbing
  5. Prepare a narrow zonker strip
  6. Measure the strip for length. Make note of the position where the hook will penetrate the skin
  7. Punch the hook through the skin in this spot
  8. Pull the skin tightly up against the body
  9. Tie down the skin in front of the body and cut surplus
  10. Tie in the eyes on top of the hook shank. Actually under the hook when the hook is upside down
  11. Prepare some deer hair and stack it according to taste
  12. Flare the deer over the eyes. Keep it under the hook shank. Actually over the hook when the hook is upside down
  13. Add several drops of varnish on the bases of the hair and eyes
  14. Let dry

Bonefish CDC&Elk
TypeWarm saltwater fly
Originator
Martin Joergensen, variation of the Paul Slaney pattern
Tied by
Martin Joergensen
Difficulty
Easy
Target species
Bonefish

Materials
HookStainless or salt resistant, down eye, #4-6. I use a Kamasan B175
ThreadTan 6/0
BodyLarge, natural CDC feather
EyesBead chain or dumbbell
Head/wingNatural deer hair

Tying instructions
  1. Tie in the thread at the back of the hook shank
  2. Select a large CDC feather and pull the fibres parallell
  3. Tie in the CDC feather tip first catching the fibres just in front of the hook bend
  4. Wind the thread forwards to a spot an eye width or two behind the hook eye
  5. Follow with the CDC feather. the first part will be quite smooth, but moving forwards more and more fibres will stick out and create a furry body
  6. Tie down the CDC feather and trim surplus
  7. Tie in eyes on top of the hook shank between the body and the hook eye
  8. Stack a small bunch of deer hair and trim butt ends
  9. Spin a head and wing on the underside of the hook shank.
  10. Tips should reach the hook point and the head formed should just barely cover the hook eye
  11. Whip finish, cut thread and varnish the base of eyes and the deer hair

Maybe this will help: Sometimes the mere splash or flash of a bright size 6 fly will spook the fish. If fish are there and time is not, you can always trim the flashy tail or cut off the eyes with a pair of small pliers while the fly is still on the tippet in order to get a more discrete fly. This conversion will take seconds and may be a quickest way to a fly change and a second chance.

Bonefishing theme
Theme intro
The ghost and I
Flies for bonefish
10 ways to improve
Biology of bones
Life is good
Books and DVD's
More bonefishing on GFF
Hawaii: O'io Boy'o!
Mexico: Bumpy Mexico
Bahamas: Trust me Mon!
Articles with Bonefish as a keyword

Destination links
Bahamas
Mexico
Venezuela
Belize

User comments
From: Ken Hanley  Link
Submitted October 5th 2005

Say Hey martin,

I was just looking at some of your bonefish theme... wonderful work. Nice job. However, you have mentioned that Charlie Smith was the originator of the "Crazy Charlie." That's not quite correct... please let me share with you part of an interview I had with Bob Nauheim the person who created the fly...

Here's the story directly from Bob:
It took place on a bonefishing trip to the Bahamas. I believe it was around 1977. Keep in mind there really weren't many flyfisherman chasing bonefish at this time. I was working with a guide (and lodge owner) named Charlie Smith. We were watching the bones apparently key on "glass minnows."ť I asked Charlie if that was a common food for bonefish and he replied "Sure mon."ť

That night, back in the lodge, I tied some flies with a bit of flash, some clear Mason 15 lb. Mono, a couple of feathers, and a pair of bead eyes. The eyes were adopted from steelhead patterns I'd used with great success. It was the first time "bead eyes" were used on a bonefish pattern.

The next day we had a ball catching fish with the newly created pattern. Charlie said "dat fly is nasty mon" that's when I gave it the name "Nasty Charlie."ť I'd run into Lee Perkins, of Orvis fame, and he asked me about the fly design. He'd heard how effective it was on the flats. I sent him a sketch with tying instructions. Later that year it was presented in the Orvis Catalog as the "Crazy Charlie."ť It's had that name ever since. I'm delighted it's become such a widely accepted fly.


A sad note to this story is that Bob has just passed away. He will be missed by many in this industry. He was a mentor of mine and a close friend. Thanks for giving me a moment to share this story with you.

Cheers, Kenny


From: omar romero · omaromero1·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted September 28th 2005

Very good!!!!


From: Paul Slaney · paul·at·stanco.co.uk  Link
Submitted September 20th 2005

Hi Martin,

How goes it mate?

Just read with interest your piece on bonefish patterns. Thought you might be interested to know of a "New, Old" pattern that is number 1 in my box at the moment.

Funnily enough it came about from a fly I "borrowed" from your sea trout box one day when you wern't looking ;-) I think you call it a Bjarke?

Anyway, I recieved a very nice bleached grizzle cape from Chevron Hackles a while back. The tannish colour tones immeadiatly made me think of bonefish.

Basically the fly looks like this.

Hook- size 6 or 8
Tail: A few strands of "root beer" crystal flash.
Body: Dubbed tan fur, nice and spikey.
Hackle: As mentioned above, palmered the whole length of the shank and clipped flat underneath.
Eyes: small, gold bead chain.

I fished the inside flats at Deadmans Cay, Long Island back in June. Was very lucky with the weather and the conditions made for some classic, ultra shallow water, wade bonefishing. The fish were spooky and ambush tactics were the order of the week. The pattern above outfished just about anything I had in my box by a mile.

Who said bonefish aint selective?

Cheers

Paul



Want to comment this page? Fill out the form below.
Comment
Only comments
in English
are accepted!

Comentarios en Ingles
solamente, por favor!

Your name Your email
Anonymize my information. Name and email will not be shown with comment.
Notify me on new comments to this article on the above email-address.
You don't have to comment to start or stop notifications.

All comments will be screened by the GFF staff before publication.
No HTML, images, ads or links, please - we do not publish such comments...
And only English language comments will be published.
Name and email is optional but recommended.
The email will be shown in a disguised form in the final comment to protect you against spam
You can see other public comments on this page