Crazy Charlie, Bonefish Bitters, Bonefish CDC&Elk and more. Some of these bonefish flies are well known, some are close to unknown, but they can all catch bonefish. Martin Joergensen has selected a few and tells the story.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.