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Skinny Water Bonefish – Go ‘Blind’

Posted on February 19 2016

Shallow water fly patterns for bonefish.
A rubber legged gotcha, tied ‘blind.’ Photo: Kyle Shea.

At Andros South, most of the time we like to fish flies that are quite a bit larger than most other bonefishing destinations around the world. Our bonefish aren’t overly picky when in comes to fly pattern, and generally respond better to a bigger meal. Therefore, the majority of the time we prefer flies tied on a size 2 hook. A size 4 would be considered a ‘small’ fly in our neck of the woods, and we rarely ever resort to flies in the size 6-8 range.

We also tend to fish a lot of really shallow water too. So, while we like a large ‘meaty’ fly, we also prefer our flies to be on the lighter side as well. Large flies tied with heavy lead eyes are generally too heavy for most of the flats we like to fish. Thus, most of our flies are also tied with small-medium bead chain eyes.

In other words, ninety percent of the time we prefer flies in the ‘big and light‘ category – a size 2 hook tied with medium bead chain eyes – that will get it done most of the time.

With that said, there are some situations when even a fly tied with bead chain eyes can be too heavy – think water so shallow you can see the fish’s back out of the water, fishing over grassy areas you don’t want to hang up in, or during those rare glassy calm mornings where the fish are on the highest alert. In these types of situations, sometimes its best to go blind – that is, fish a fly with no eyes at all.

The vast majority of bonefish patterns today incorporate some sort of eyes (bead chain or lead eyes). The concept being; you need a lighter fly, simply fish a smaller pattern. However, for fisheries like ours on South Andros, where the fish (especially big fish) like a larger fly, leaving out the eyes is a great way to still deliver a big meal to skinny water bonefish, without spooking them in the process.

So, if you like tying flies, and are planning on fishing for bonefish on South Andros, try tying a few of your favorite patterns ‘blind’, they just might save the day!

More on Bonefish Flies

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