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Archive for the ‘Bahamas’ Category

Crazy Charlies – Mangrove Close-Ups

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Finishing off the photo-essay on my Mangrove Crazy Charlies for the Bahamas (Exuma), here are some close-up.


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/14 at 02:41

Crazy Charlies for the Mangroves

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As previously note, for the Exumas (Bahamas) much of the water requires light colour flies, until you get into the mangroves.  I have added a few tan flies into my goto box. Yet, I notice my guide prefers simple flies with no legs, extended such as Gotchas and Crazy Charlies.

So I have taken my recently dyed calf-tails, and created a spectrum of flies of Crazy Charles for Garth to have available for his preference.

crazy charlies_DSC5656

to th Mangroves IMG_3674

Sidebar, I prefer to hunt for fish with Judy as a team, but I really do believe in guides. So we typically do 2 days guiding and 4 days DIY.


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/13 at 03:08

Calf Tail Dying

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In support of tying Crazy Charlies for the Bahamas, I have been dying some calf tails and a little patch of polar bear.

Please note the actual results are a little warmer than what I see on my dell monitor, as I create this post.  The polar bear is more saturated, and the Cushing Taupe and Ecru are warmer. A better representation is in the final test sample picture. From left to right:

  1. Polar Bear, using Superfly Hot Pink, the 4 samples shown:
    1. At the bottom, un-dyed.
    2. In dye bath for <5 minutes, soak into the fur, and a little into hair.
    3. In dye bath for ~20 minutes.
    4. At top, dyed for 60 minutes, with hairs being fully saturated.
  2. Wapsi Calf-Tail, dyed by Wapsi to “root bear”.
  3. Wapsi Calf Tail, dyed by Wapsi to “tan”.
  4. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, tip soak using Cushing Taupe.
  5. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, quick soak using Cushing Taupe.
  6. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, quick soak using Cushing Ecru.
  7. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, using Cushing Ecru.
    The results of two Ecru see a pink tonal shift that is more noticeable on the quick de sample, which is a result of the red dye in the Cushing sets quicker than the other dyes, and-or differences in the tails themselves, natural and from the supplier who uses brigheners-whiteners to make the tails *white*.
  8. White Calf Tail, dyed by I, using Cushing Champagne. This is an excellent light sand.

All of Cushing dyed tails these make a great sand and mangrove fly. I ran out of tails, so at a later date I will dye a light tan and a light golden brown.

calf tail_DSC5643
.calf tail_DSC5640

References> Previous dyeing results and tips. and sorry for the typing error for Champagne.

cushing dye_DSC5647



Written by raspberryfisher

2019/06/02 at 19:57

Flats Fiend – Update

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My goto flies for the Bahamas

And colour focus is

  • White and * light * sand for the flats
  • A tan, hopefully with a red tint, for fishing in the mangroves

And yes, I have more than this in my box, but these are the default flies.

Flats Fiend

I just completed updating my supply box, finishing off with the Flats Fiend – covering the spectrum of colour and weights (bead-chain to heavy eyes).

flats fiend_DSC5571

Starting from white ….

Polar Bear

A complex shape, with movement when idle and with fibers that sparkle (light up in the water). See close-ups at the end.

polar bear ff_DSC5579

Craft Fur

With substantial prep, combing and stacking, you can create a nice complex shape. Though, it is “flat”, when sitting idle in the water, and thus needs to be stripped when sighted by the fish.

Wapsi has some new colours, and I am interested in adding Camel Tan.

craft fur_DSC5590

Red Fox

A short dense and complex hair that is excellent when idle.

red fox_DSC5594

Fly Fur

fly fur_DSC5604

A nice artificial hair, but is best suited for large flies.

EP 3D Fibers – Sand – an experiment

ep 3D fibers_DSC5620

Leave judgment, until I fish and observe the fly in motion.  I added some polar hair along the sides.

The Close-Ups

Polar Bear

Please note polar bear length varies greatly, and some old skins have many broken tips, so it suitability depends on the quality of the skin.

I like keeping in some of the fur and the translucent nature is well illustrated below.

polar bear_DSC5631

Craft Fur

Unlike natural hair, there is no taper.  The illusion of taper comes with the mix of fine to course hairs, with some twists. As such, preparation is critical with a willingness to cut-dispose much of the hairs is critical for a good look.

Use a comb!

craft fur_DSC5628

Red Fox Tail

Complexity of tone, shape with hairs that spiral is what this hair a great natural cover.

red fox_DSC5626

Fly Fur

Longer, more uniform with a greater twist than Craft Fur

fly fur closeup_DSC5625

EP 3D Fibers

A “high twist” and translucent material makes this an interesting fly to experiment with.

ep fivers closeup_DSC5623



Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/27 at 02:40

Craft Fur

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I have previously noted my absolute disdain¬†for Wapsi’s fly-tying “Premium” craft fur, as it¬†requires a lot of work to create a fly, there is a lot of waste, and it still is lifeless once you are done.

As a person who likes to research and experiment, I did not abandon a traditional wing “gotcha” for bonefishing, so I continue to look at other craft furs that would be suitable to fly-fishing.

Now, I like to take (for me) the unusual step to link to another blog, as Holger Lachmann has done a fine job analyzing Craft Fur as supplied by Wapsi verus Fair Flies, and like Holger I will also keep Fair Flies Fly Store in my stores to use.

In keeping with previous notes, for bonefishing, I am looking for fur from white to tan, and currently working with 3 fake skins.

fake fur_DSC5497.jpg

  1. Fair Flies Fly Fur Tan. Suited for flies with wings 2.5-4″. I do need to get a couple of white skins to dye-paint.
  2. Beige and Cream Latte 2″ Pile suited for wings <2″ from Etsy’s FurBoutique in Arlington Texas.
    Note this craft fur has a denser base with the associated “crinkle” and heavier base, relative to Fair Flies Fur. This¬†denser base leads to a much larger bump-rise at the tie, while the material has a greater tendency to hold into¬†a single pile, versus the fly fur. These differences are illustrated below.

Moving to sample , though the first 3 flies are not gotchas, as the weight is at the bend.

white gotcha_DSC5486.jpg

Cream Latte wing and rabbit fur under on a Daiichi 2546 4.

cream gotcha_DSC5487.jpg

Beige Fur Wing with a Coyote Tail under on a Daiichi 2546 4. As an experiment, I place the coyote wing higher up the bend, and still not sure if I like this.

kraft fur _DSC5483.jpg

And the tan wing with a coyote tail on a larger Mustad 34007 2.


And some gotchas on kraft paper to simulate the tan soils under the mangroves.

gotchas on white_DSC5517.jpg


close in _DSC5483

And for fun, a close up look at the above tan fly.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/11 at 07:03

tan bonefish flies for Bahamas – Exumas

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As previously posted, white and light flies are the standard (for me) in the Exumas to match the predominant white sand and ground that bonefish move over.

fiend 2_DSC4382

We really like Polar Bear, whose translucency allows the fly to blend to the sand, and much of the water we have fished in the Exumas.

to th Mangroves IMG_3674

This clear white sand is clearly visible in this Exuma channel. The water was teaming with turtles, sharks, and barracudas, and the dolphins keep the bonefish high into mangroves on this particular day. Watching all threats around added to the appreciation of this world.

Though it is not a great image of the Mangroves, we did find under the mangroves themselves, the sand-mud that has a higher organic matter and was a tan colour with hints of yellow or red, depending on specific spot.

tan no weight DSC5522

Think no darker than kraft wrapping paper, but consider tints to yellow and red.

So we need to expand out kit with a few more tan flies in our kit. The flies shown here, have the simplified recipe of:

  • Daiichi 2546 > Size 6
  • Light Pink Butt > Senyo Intruder, but I like seal to.
  • Veevus Tan thread body with Midge V-Rib.
  • Tan Deer Hair Wing
  • With a wing accent of small long¬†flashbou and Indian Rooster Badger feather.

As the waters are thin-shallow, I have two versions with no weight and lightly weight (smallest bead-chain eyes possible).

It was nice to see the bonefish cautiously chase the fly out of the mangroves.

tan no weight DSC5525

Same fly, but with some back lighting.

tan wing DSC5532 2.jpg

Another example, but with a small weight (and top-front lighting).


Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/07 at 04:33

Winston BL5 9wt Bonefish Line Match – preliminary

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I am still experimenting for best fit, though I have been using this rod for nearly 5 years. It is a forgiving rod, and one that allows for quiet presentation. In short, it has been able to cast everything from a Cortland 8wt (limited power) to RIO Bonefish Quick Shooter 8wt (fine) to Airflo 9wt clear taper (a little harsh). But, I am zeroing down this rod is a true 9wt that likes to bend to the grip.

I am incline to look at the settling down, when¬†Bonefishing – Tropics with¬†….

  • Cortland Bonefish 9 wt (or RIO Bonefish), alternative would be …
  • RIO Permit 9wt -> right color and good profile, but a lack of data on¬†weight says this is not the best place to lay down another 100$.¬† Given reviews that¬†suggests this as a good line match to Sage Xi and Salt, indicates this is a heavy line.
    A 10wt RIO Permit line may be best suited for my Guideline RSi 11wt, who also prefers a light line for those long into the wind casts.

So I have a 20yr old rod carrier from DB Dun (I believe this was a division of 3M Scientific Angler then), that allows me to carry 4 rods on a plane. If I am bonefishing (with Judy), my four rods are:

  1. Scott Meridian 8wt – mine
  2. Scott Meridian 8wt – hers
  3. TFO BVK 8wt – when we want more power into the wind
  4. Winston BL5 9wt

Though, I have considered rod 3 or 4 should be a faster 10-11wt, such as the Guideline RSi 11wt, to give me a little more power in windy days.




Written by raspberryfisher

2019/05/04 at 22:10