01-17-2006, 03:04 PM
Planning on to go to Eleuthera for 5 nights, 4 days at the end of Feb. Having basically no bonefishing experience, but plenty of salt experience. Biggest question- flies- preferred patterns, sizes, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.:smokin:
IMHO the biggest question will not be flies but dialing in to fish behavior and presentation. A tan gotcha, charlie, shrimp, small crab or small clouser will do you fine.
The fish are tuned into the tide cycles and can be lethargic at one tide phase and positively frantic with energy on another.
They can be frightful and skittish at one locale, and persistent as panfish to enter a feeding lane at another - swimming almost thru your legs.
They can be caught consistently with the proper placement of the cast, or blown up all day. They can be intercepted in their tail dancing trail or interfered with.
Of course you need to have a collection of flies on hand, but in my humble opinion the most important element of a successful bonefishing trip is to prepare for the battle of wits.
GOOD LUCK! (and get ready for a new addiction)
01-17-2006, 08:46 PM
The only thing I would add is the outer island fish tend to prefer smaller sized flies - have a few size 6s and maybe a couple of 8s in your wallet. But mood of fish and presentation is everything.
You didn't mention if you were going guided or DIY? If this is your first sight fishing trip, I would recommend finding a guide for at least one day.
Knowing what to look for will be more important than fly selection.
01-17-2006, 09:28 PM
Well said Adrian! A size eight saved the day for me on Somersett Creek. Even a half day of guiding will help if you are on a budget. Incoming tide nearest a mangrove swamp between 10am and 2pm when the sun is out. Scan SLOWLY for moving shadows at least 50' away and have 40' ready to cast. Stay low and invest in good polarized glasses. Do a 'Google Earth' view from space to look for flats nearest the roads.
Most important! Know your limits. Do not cross a channel on the flats at low tide unless you are damn sure you can get back later on. Swim a channel and a blacktip might mistake you for dinner! Practice casting into 20 knots of wind to at least 40 feet. Low profile. Low profile. Low profile.............................
If you've flats fished for stripers you know the tune. Good luck and please give us a report.
01-18-2006, 05:09 AM
Eleuthera is a fantastic place and I'm sure you'll love it there. I use alot of size 6 and 8 flies there and they sure account for alot of fish...but!...don't leave your larger size 4 & 2 flies at home. One of my best producers last trip was a Veverka's Mantis shrimp variation I tie up. One major problem I found with using small flies was on really good fish (8+pounds) was that they kept coming unbuttoned after a few runs. I'm sure that the gape size on 6 & 8 hooks was the reason...just not grabbing enough meat to hold well especially considering the pressure put on the fly by line drag after a long run...even after backing off the drag till it's almost in freespool and palming when needed.
Eleutheras fussy bones are especially tuned to not only the splashdown of your fly...but your flyline aswell. Long leaders in most instances are a must unless it's very windy. A great way to help defeat the wind is to to fix a 4 or 5 ft 40lb flouro butt section onto your flyline head. Loop to loop the butt of your (9 - 12ft) leader onto that giving you a total length of 13 to 18 feet. The butt heavy leader and fast taper towards the tippet helps it turn over when casting into the wind.
If you get a day when the Atlantic side is in the lee of the winds, be sure to walk the beaches for shots at some really big bones as well as fast action for jacks and snappers.
01-18-2006, 08:06 AM
Thanks guys- all good advice. The one time I fished for bones before was on St. John a few years ago and I could not hook a sighted fish. The one fish I got was blind casting into the mouth of a channel- pretty amazing fish. As some of you know the Monomoy bass can be as finicky as any fish around, so at leats I know how to get snubbed.:cool:
01-18-2006, 08:49 AM
Did forget to say that I am going with a guide for the first day and then DIY after that. I was supposed to go to Aruba a couple of years ago and tied and bought flies for that trip, gotchas, puffs, crazy charlies from 4s to 8s- will those work? I can tie the easy stuff. Whta about weight on the flies? weed guards necessary?:confused:
01-18-2006, 09:56 AM
Sounds like you're well set in general patterns but as Henry said, it pays to have a few tied at the larger (and smaller) sizes for those special situations that crop up from time to time. I definitely recommend checking out the surf side if the wind is friendly. On Christmas Island I threw 4 inch clousers to big bones in the surf and they hammered them. It really is the extreme end of the sport.:smokin:
I would add a few "Pflueger Hoys" or weightless flies to your collection. Its an easy tie if you can palmer a hackle. One of the softest landing/weightless flies tied for the salt, it can work wonders on very spooky tailing fish.
The recipe can be found in Dan Browns book. Wing and tail are marrabou or arctic fox. Body is wool or any fuzzy dubbing. Palmered hackle is whatever takes your fancy either match or contrast the body color. Base colors are generally tan with orange or blue for tail & wing.