Archive for the ‘fly tying’ Category

Go Small. Go Light. Go Weedless.

October 11, 2013

Bonefish on Grass Flats

Go Small.  Go Light.  Go Weedless.

by Chip Bates

You can encounter tailing fish on any fertile bottom, but weedy bottoms hold the most prey, therefore the most fish. Big fish seem more comfortable feeding in the shallows over a dark bottom.  Click here for tips on Shallow Water, Tailing Fish.

The end of the outgoing and beginning of the incoming brings the skinniest water that’s when you’ll find fish tailing over the weeds. To catch them, you’ll need a fly that doesn’t “plop” when it hits the water: go small.

A tailing fish is focused on a small area.  Frequently he’ll create a cloud of sand or mud where he’s feeding. You must put the fly in the area where’s he’s rooting, a matter of inches from his nose. You must throw a fly that doesn’t spook him when it lands: go light.

Once the fly lands in front of the fish, let it sink, then give it the tiniest of strips: go weedless.

Without a weed guard, your fly will invariably snag on grass and stripping a fly that’s hooked on a weed is like drag on a dry fly.  Click Here for Tips on Tailing Fish over Weedy Bottoms.

There are loads of excellent flies for bonefishing in skinny water, but our number one fly is the Bunny Bone when we need to go small, light or weedless.  Having a variety of Bunny Bones in your fly box is a necessity, especially when wading for bonefish.  Tan or brown (tied with tan or pink thread) rabbit fur tail with a little gold Mylar and mono eyes are top producing colors.  It’s also a great fly in slightly deeper water with small or medium bead chain eyes, instead of mono.  Try adding crazy legs and don’t forget the weed guard!  Click here for more information on tying bonefish flies, including the Bunny Bone.

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Brûlé McSprat

November 9, 2012

This pattern is a hybrid of a Green Rat body (sans rib) and a traditional Spey fly, and was designed specifically for the beautiful Petite Cascapedia River.   The first few days following its baptismal, it accounted for 6 rises, 5 solid takes and 4 lovely June salmon to net.  It deserved a proper name!  “Brûlé”, its birthplace – “Mc”, in honor of the McWhirter Clan who’ve run Camp Brûlé for 4 generations – “ Sprat”, a contraction of Spey and Rat. Thus born and duly christened, “The Brûlé McSprat” was conceived and tied by Doug Schlink, but this particularly stunning rendition was tied by the eminently more talented hands of master tier, Ben Bilello, www.benbilello.com/salmonflies/.

Born on the porch at Camp Brûlé – June 16th, 2011

Tip: fine gold oval

Rear Body: bright green floss

Veil: bright green floss

Spey Hackle: Blue Earred Pheasant, palmered thru front body

Front Body: Peacock Herl

Throat: Teal

Wing: Bronze Mallard

Three Second Rule

October 26, 2012

Bonefish Flies

One of the biggest mistakes a bonefisherman can make is failing to adjust his fly to changing water depth.  Your fly should be weighted such that it sinks quickly to the bottom and then stays near the bottom within view of the fish after you begin stripping.  If you strip the fly above a bonefish, it will never see it.
The average flat depth, whether you’re wading or poling, ranges from 1-2½ ft.  In this depth, a Gotcha or Amber Shrimp with medium sized bead chain eyes should provide close to the perfect sink rate, without overweighing the fly (and potentially spooking the fish).  A good rule of thumb is your fly should reach the bottom in about 3 seconds.  If you find your fly is not getting to the bottom, you should switch to a fly with lead eyes or add a few wraps of lead wire to the eye of the fly.

The angler who is willing to fish deeper flats will often be rewarded with the largest bonefish.  Big bonefish prefer the protection of deeper flats or shallow flats close to deep water.  When you’re fishing water 3-4 feet deep, you’ll need a fly with lead eyes to get to the bottom quickly.  Proven deep-water flies are the Clouser minnow (especially tan and white and chartreuse and white), the Simram, (a rabbit fur version of the Gotcha fly with lead eyes) and Henry Cowen’s Bonefish Scampi. Lead eyes come in a variety of weights and for joy of casting, you’ll want to carry flies with the smaller lead eyes, as well as the heavier lead eyes that cause many of us to duck when forward casting.

The last thing a bonefisherman wants to do is scare the daylights out of an actively feeding fish by casting too heavy a fly too close to the fish. Therefore, you must go light in skinny water. By light we mean no weight other than the weight of the hook. For this we recommend mono (or plastic) eyes and a body that lands softly. A well-designed fly for this situation is a pattern called the bunny bone in sizes 4, 6, and 8.

The bunny bone is made with rabbit fur, rug yarn and mono eyes.  You can throw this unweighted fly quite close to a tailing fish. Its entry into the water is soft, but it sinks well. The rabbit fur makes it look alive even before it’s stripped. All you need to do is give it the tiniest of strips. Don’t strip the fly too far or too fast when working a tailing fish.

Before you begin fishing it is also advisable to have a handy selection of the flies you’re most likely to use that day.  Have a selection that covers all water depths, so you are prepared when a quick change is required.  For even quicker adjustments to changes in water depths, have a spool of lead wire handy and wrap a small piece around the eye of the fly, as needed.

 This was another except from the Angler Adventures “Bahamas What to Bring List”.

The “Bully Special” Fly

August 9, 2011

Here’s another excerpt from Dick Brown’s revised Bonefish Fly Patterns, which was re-released this summer.  At Angler Adventures, we’re really big fans of bonefish guides that can consistently find big fish.  The fly below was created by an excellent big bonefish guide at North Riding Point Club on Grand Bahama.

The Bully Special

It's not pretty, but it is effective

Bully Special Fly Photo: © 2011 Dick Brown

A Bully Bevans design. Sample in photo was tied by Bully on a size 4 34007 hook and measures horizontally 2″ in length from hook eye to end of tail; bottom tip of wing is about 1 3/8″ below hook shank. A second sample from Bully measured 2 1/2″ by 1 3/8″ on a larger hook. Fly rides hook-point up.

Hook: 34007; sizes 4, 6

Thread: Fluorescent (Gotcha) pink or orange (actually burnt orange in hue) Danville Flat Waxed Nylon 3/0

Eyes: 5/32″ Spirit River nickel-plated I-Balz weighted barbell with green iris

Tail: Heavy (about thirty to forty strands) copper Krystal Flash

Body: Wound pearl Diamond Braid

Wing: Heavy (about thirty to forty strands) copper Krystal Flash

Prey notes: Suggestive of dark and medium brown mantis shrimps found in the Bahamas.

Anecdotes: New England fly fisher Ledge Mitchell was one of the first to use the fly, and he later scored a trophy fish with it. “Bruce Bauman and I were fishing with Bully at North Riding Point three years ago,” says Ledge. “We were doing OK but had had a couple of refusals, so I asked Bully if there was anything else we should try. He reached in his pocket and pulled out an all–gold-copper pattern, saying, ‘Try this.’ We had good luck fishing that fly— five bones, as I remember—and when I asked what it was called, Bully replied, ‘I don’t know.’ So I said to Bully, ‘I’m going to name it after you.’” A year later Ledge returned to NRP and took a 14-pound bone while fishing with fellow angler Carl Soderland and guide Deon Leathen. The fly? You guessed it—the Bully Special, which Ledge had tied on a big #2 hook. Author’s note: This fly, or one very similar to it, appears in the 2008 new and revised edition of Fly Fishing for Bonefish as the Deepwater Cay Club Fly. I have Ledge Mitchell (see his anecdote above) to thank for tipping me off that the pattern was, in fact, the Bully Special from the North Riding Point Club.

Bully Bevans is a superb bonefish guide. He is the North Riding Point Club’s “big fish specialist” and one of the guides most often requested by guests there. His fly has been extremely successful on Grand Bahama’s productive north shore.

Tying notes: Bully says he came up with this very effective big bone fly because he was out of flies and needed something to fish with for a client the next day. Good tying materials are notoriously rare in the Bahamas, so in a moment of pure serendipity, he tied his creation out of what he had on hand. It worked from the first day and is now his favorite fly. He ties it in sizes 4 and 6 only—he does not like it any bigger. He likes lead eyes for normal 11⁄2- to 2-foot depths and bead chain for shallower water, but none for tailing. Author’s note: I received three samples of this fly tied by Bully: two from Bully and a chewed-up sample from Ledge Mitchell (which may be one of the first Bully ever tied). One had I-Balz eyes and pink thread, one had unpainted lead eyes and brown thread, and one had nickel-plated eyes and fire orange thread . . . and all looked very fishy!

Reprinted from Bonefish Fly Patterns, 2nd Edition by Dick Brown, ©2011. Published by Lyons Press an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT

Bonefish Fly Patterns – preface excerpt

May 24, 2011

The following is from the preface to the second edition of Bonefish Fly Patterns by Dick Brown.  There are some great bonefish flies included in this edition that we’ve been recommending to our clients, specifically the Simram and the Bully Special (by Bully Bevins of North Riding Point Club – one of our favorites).  Check out the image of Trodella’s Ghost, it’s like a modernized version of our favorite skinny water bonefish fly – the Bunny Bone!

 This revised edition of Bonefish Fly Patterns contains forty-seven new flies that were not in the original 1996 edition. Some are recent patterns created by new flats anglers with fresh, inquisitive eyes—like Victor Trodella’s killer Ghost tailing fly and Omeko Glinton’s Meko Special. Others like Eric Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, Vic Gaspeny’s Threadhead, Rick Simonsen’s Simram, and Patrick Dorsy’s Kwan and Bone Slappa are creations of skilled flats veterans willing to pass along the exact recipes of go-to favorites they’ve relied on for winning tournaments. Still others are well-known classics that I simply could not get into the original book for one reason or another—like the Horror and the Mini-Puff, which have produced on flats around the world for decades. A few new creations, like the Toad and the Slinky Toad, were developed in response to the significant findings of recent bonefish feeding studies that have established the importance of newly discovered prey forms in the diet of Florida and Bahamian bonefish—especially the gulf toadfish. Four—the Bastard Crab, Big Ugly, Merkwan, and Bunny Crab—come from Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Aaron Adams, who is both a marine research scientist and an avid angler. Finally, several new entries, like the Skok/Boyle Reverend Laing fly, the Bevin’s Bully Special, and Trodella’s Ghost, were driven by new tying materials and new uses of existing materials, which have enabled tiers to find novel solutions to old bonefish challenges like flash intensity and splash impact.

 Reprinted from Bonefish Fly Patterns, 2nd Edition by Dick Brown, ©2011. Published by Lyons Press an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT

looks a lot like a Bunny Bone

Trodella’s Ghost Fly Photo: © 2011 Dick Brown

Bonefish Flies 2.0

May 18, 2011

Saltwater flats fishing authority, Dick Brown, is releasing the second version of his Bonefish Fly Patterns book in June 2011.  Both of Dick’s books are considered must reads for any angler interested in improving his skills and learing more about bonefishing.  Sharing Dick’s passion for the sport, we’re excited to celebrate this all-new second edition by posting exclusive excerpts from Dick’s 2 books (Bonefish Fly Patterns and Fly Fishing for Bonefish) over next few months.  Many of you may have fished with guides mentioned in the book like Meko or Bully, or in locations after which flies are named, such as Mores Island.

Check out the flyer here Bonefish Flies 2.0.

What is a Gyno Crab

December 3, 2010

Dr. Ralph Cifaldi’s Gyno Crab – Tied by Doug Schlink

The Gyno Crab as tied by Doug Schlink

Mid-Morning Permit Snack

Hook: Daiichi X452 or similar in #2 or #4
Thread: Danvilles Flat Wax, Fl. Green
Weight: Lead Eyes – sized to water depth and hook size
Tail: Appx 2 – 2 ½ inches, Polar bear, dyed golden orange (Rit golden yellow dye does it) and barred with a dark brown (*) marking pen
Body: 8 pieces of Tan Aunt Lydia’s Rug Yarn (Antron) figure-eighted in (Merkin fashion) on top of hook shank, and trimmed to appx dime shape.
Legs: 2 (**) Amber/flecked black Sili-Legs, square knotted in (Merkin style), trimmed slightly long (about 1 inch) and set with Krazy Glue (***)

 * I didn’t have a dark brown pen, just dark umber. The barring should be darker – more contrasting.
** While conventional wisdom would dictate 3 legs (per side), Ralph contends permit can’t count, so this is tied true to his original pattern (which worked, so apparently they can’t count).
*** I didn’t have any Krazy Glue handy – just used some head cement. Ralph put drops of Krazy Glue on the legs near the edges of the yarn body (and worked into the yarn slightly) to keep these sticking out at the appropriate angles.

 Angler Adventures 800-628-1447 – 860-434-9624
Fax 860-434-8605
E-Mail:Info@angleradventures.com
PO Box 872, Old Lyme, CT 06371
web site: www.AnglerAdventures.com

Remembering The Gyno Crab

November 26, 2010


NOV 6 – 13, 2004, I was one of a party of 8 very talented flyfishers and great guys who descended on Casa Blanca on Mexico’s Ascension Bay

in quest of permit. The first day out, just a couple were taken, one by first time permit fisher Dr. Ralph Cifaldi. Ralph was using a crab pattern of his own concoction; a variation on the Dorsey Kwan, distinguished by a long tail of amber dyed polar bear barred with a brown marking pen.
  
Taken with a Gyno Crab

"Tara" with a nice Ascension Bay Permit

The second day, there was better success in the group, with Ralph coming in as top rod with a “hat trick” – 3 more permit on this just his second day chasing permit! This piqued our interest a bit more in Ralphy’s unorthodox pattern.

 

The third day, more permit were released by the group, but again the top rod was Doc Ralph, with another hat trick! 3 days into the trip and Ralphy had 7 permit under his belt. The excitement over Ralphy’s fly grew, and being the generous soul that he is, he stayed up late cranking out more of his crab patterns so as to present each one of us with one at breakfast.
 
There was no doubt in my mind what fly to tie on that morning! We ran back into the bay, inside of the tip of Vigia Grande. The wind had slightly clouded the water along the south side of the bay, and my superb guide Manuel (Tarantula) worked the edge between the cloudy and the clear water. Suddenly I spotted a huge permit working up tide toward us. I called to Manuel and he kicked the boat right, and with a couple of strong pushes on the pole put me in position to intercept the fish. I launched Ralph’s fly, it landed perfectly, I made a one-foot long strip and the big fish quivered, lunged forward and ate it. It immediately took off on a searing and what I expected to be a “reel-emptying” run. But about 70 yards out, it just stopped, and slowly pulled. I looked at the bottom and it was moving. Yes, now he was just leisurely towing the boat across the bay! This went on for 42 minutes until finally we got the fish close enough to tail it. But Manuel couldn’t get it over the gunnel! Finally, he went over the side in chest deep water to “wrassle” the beast into submission. We didn’t have a boga grip, but Manuel said his largest “bogaed” fish was 38 pounds, and allowed as how this guy was just about as big! We settled on 35 as an estimate.
  

By the end of the week, our party of 8 had tallied an amazing 35 permit on fly, and quite a few over 20 pounds. And Ralph’s pattern accounted for 17 of these, and the fly didn’t even a name. The last evening, our group sat around the palapa having beers and trying to come up with an appropriate name for Dr. Ralph’s (a gynecologist by the way) remarkable fly. Finally John Canavari burst out, “I’ve got it! The Gyno Crab”. And the name stuck. Google it!
I can’t swear there’s something special about the pattern – maybe it was just a case of a lot of happy permit eating well. But if any fly catches any permit, I want to have it in my arsenal! Hope this works as well for you.

 Angler Adventures

800-628-1447 – 860-434-9624
Fax 860-434-8605
E-Mail:Info@angleradventures.com
PO Box 872, Old Lyme, CT 06371
web site: www.AnglerAdventures.com


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