Light Bonefish Flies – some Principles
So I have been doing some experiments, since our return from the Bahamas. A couple of lessons learnt was:
- The common and promoted synthetic “Craft Fur” is lifeless in water.
- I need, as DYI fisherman walking the flats, a greater selection of light flies.
So I wanted to know how light can I got, so some experiments were under-taken. My conclusions:
- Stay with the traditional size saltwater hook – size 8, such as a Daiichi 2546.
- I tried tubeless and found it is possible to tie a fly too light (it floated). Eventually, I got to a sinking fly, but I saw no advantage gain with a tube fly, so I reverted back to a traditional saltwater hook with the small bead chain eye. (no picture)
- If using anything more than a few hairs, use a bead chain weights. The final target dry weight for a spare fly should be 0.28grams.
- If you want to use no weight, stay with feathers!
- In experimenting with eyes, I will continue with my homemade eyes – lower cost and better looking. (See picture, and you judge for yourself).
- Rabbit will have more life sitting in the water, but it will float on a lightly weighted fly, until it is soaked. So, if you are holding a fly in your hand, as you scan and hunt for bonefish, you maybe casting a fly that will not get to the sea floor.
So what will I tie for small and light spawning shrimp, other than using Rudy’s:
- Daiichi 2546
- Small bead-chain weight
- Black Pupil Eyes – splayed
- fine crystal flash – 4 strands
- tailing feathers – 3 pairs stagger in length
- hair casing, such as deer tail
A fly in construction in my vise, showing the splayed tailing feathers. Two changes in the final build is smaller bead-chain and use my own black pupil eyes.
More pictures and some weights.
Dry – from top left:
- Shrimp – Craft Hair casing – 0.47g
- Deer Hair casing with medium bead-chain eyes – 0.30g
- Rabbit Fur casing with small bead-chain eyes – 0.25g
Same flies, but in water and looking into the fly, as would a chasing bonefish would look.
Some other flies – dry and reference dry weights – from left to right
- Pop’s Bitters with medium bead-chain and epoxy head – 0.45g
- Gorel’s (?) Feather Hackle with large bead-chain – 0.47g
- Rudy’s Spawning Shrimp with small bead-chain – 0.37g
- Small Antron Crab with small barbell weight – 0.76g
and a Daiichi 2546 Size 8 hook weighs 0.10g.
Oh yes, use fluorocarbon tippet and wonder if a intermediate airflow leader would assist.