Weedguards on bonefish flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Weedguards on bonefish flies

08-09-2006, 07:50 AM
What type of weedguard do you guys use on small bonefish flies over turtle grass in real skinny water, ie, Belize? Single mono, double mono, loop ???

08-09-2006, 08:31 AM
Others will reply but...

Here are my tactics, in the order that I like to use them (first being favorite)

Tactic # 0 -

Find a nearby spot where I can make an ideal presentation without catching weeds. Failing that...

Tactic #1 -

Control the sink rate.

The fly sinks fast you need a guard, if it is coming into the right depth column as the fish arrives the two usually connect.

If you can't get that to happen because of current or down-ward focused fish...

Tactic #2 - Point-up design:

Hook-up designs are far less susceptible to catching unwanted items than hook down. Weighting the shank is the most common approach however it over-rides the sink rate rule.

Alternatively putting more bouyant materials on the point side makes the hook ride up as well, also less bouyant (wrapping with pearl braid etc) on the shank helps doubly.

It takes a little experimentation to find the right balance. Failing that...

Tactic #3 - material weedguard

Luckily the material itself on the point side of the hook provides a weed guard effect. Play around with that, it's amazing how well it works with the right materials.

For instance I've made muddler style heads where the flared hair slides pretty well thru stuff but is easily compressed by the tropical clam crusher.

Downside is you have to have a pretty bushy fly for this - deerhair head, bucktail head, etc. That might not be always applicable.

Tactic #4 - mono weedguard

If all else fails - say I need a slim profile stealthy fly with hook up and get down quick in a fast current to the bottom in grass...

Tie in a loop of mono from the shank, circling around the bend to the head. Two work, or higher test mono in 'prong' style.

I go with a single loop and cut it off if I want the fly without the loop.

Frankly, by the time I get done with tactics 0-3 the times I use a weedguard are very rare. Lately I do most of my bonefishing in the Bahamas which contributes to that luxury as well with it's great bottom composition.

08-09-2006, 08:32 AM
what I use:

a single strand of 15# hard mono tied along the inside of the shank. leave it very long (sticking a few inches out past the eye) and finish the fly as ususual. You can bend the mono back once the fly is finished. very effective as a weed guard and not a fish guard.

08-09-2006, 11:31 AM
Lately I do most of my bonefishing in the Bahamas which contributes to that luxury as well with it's great bottom composition.

While most of the Bahamas do not require weedguards, I found out that that is not universally true. I fished the Joulter's, a group of islands off the northern tip of Andros Island, recently and found that I absolutely should have brought along more flies with weedguards. I like the single strand similar to what BigDave mentions rather than the full loop guard I use on many of my bass and pike flies.

08-09-2006, 12:56 PM
Good point - the term 'Bahamas' encompasses a massive area of diverse environments.

I should have just come out and said "Acklins". ;)

09-23-2006, 03:41 PM
Ran across this post some time ago, but wanted to respond with good pics of the process.

When I started fishing bones years ago I realized early on that the vast majority of bonefish flies were designed for places where the fish are easy to see (i.e. clean, sandy flats). While weed-guard design had been played with some, it was mostly the guides from the Keys that offered us anything usefull. Tiers like Borski and Ruoff developed weedguards that not only were easy to tie, but worked.

The flats around my little island home are much like the Keys flats: thick, rich turtle grass where bones root around in the soft bottom and tail in the shallowest water. Serious weedguard country. That's the thing, at the point where you need a weedguard, you really need a good one.

Here's what I use day in and day out on the very grassy flats here:

Step: 1


After you've finished your fly, or if you wish to attach a weedguard to an existing fly, flatten the end of a piece of 25# stiff mono (like Mason hard mono) with a pliers. You only want to flatten about 1/8 inch or less. Place this flattened area on the fly head and secure with a few thread wraps like image above.

Step: 2


Clip monofilamant so it extends a little past the hook point. Then use your thumbnail to push the mono "prong" upright as shown above.

Step: 3


While holding the monofilament prong upright, make wraps of thread behind the prong as shown above. Keep wrapping until you build up a mound of thread and the prong holds itself up.

Step: 4


Once the prong is upright and aligned with the hook point, whip finish the fly head as usual and toss it with confidence next time your fishing those frustrating grassy flats. Tight lines!


I have found this style weedguard to be superior to others (for bonefishing) for several reasons.

First, unlike the loop style weedguard, you can add it to already finished flies and it's easier to tie. Being easier to tie you're more likely to be ok with snipping it off should the occasion arrise. Being able to easily tie it to already finished flies means you can adjust your fly-box to location without tying a fresh bunch of flies.

Second, whether the fly rides hook point up or down, this stlye has proven dependable. Usually this prong style guard, if tied right, will last through as many fish as the fly, sometimes more.

Third, other weedguard style which might work great for, say, tossing flies into the mangroves for snook or tarpon, actually are less effective among blades of grass. The loop weed guard is a good example of this. As the fly sinks into the grass, the loop tends to "lasso" blads of grass and actually promote hang-ups. Toss that same weedguard into the mangroves and no worries. The opposite is true of the prong style guard: it's usefulness in the mangroves is limited since the mono doesn't actually cover the hook-point, but over grass it excells.

Hope this helps and good luck.

As always,