Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
Q. What is your favorite bonefish fly?
A. Probably a shrimp pattern. But the fly I use depends on the habitat I am fishing, water depth, and bonefish size. So I guess a better way to answer this is to say that I have a small group of flies that are my go-to patterns. For big bonefish I use a larger fly, typically size 2. This is typically a mantis shrimp or fish imitation. On sand flats with mantis shrimp holes, I go with a mantis shrimp pattern like the Big Ugly. In mixed habitats or if there are no mantis shrimp holes I usually start with a fish imitation like a goby or toadfish pattern. Most anglers don't realize how many fish are eaten by large bonefish. In the Florida Keys, for example, toadfish are high on the menu of large bonefish. Third on the list is a crab pattern, size 2 or 4, like the Bastard Crab. Crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs, carry a lot of calories for their size, so most bonefish will try to eat them even if they seem too large. I've seen some small bonefish eat some pretty large flies. Overall, most of my bonefish patterns are size 2. For small fish, whether in schools or small groups, standard small patterns like Gotchas, size 4, do well.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.