Barbless ? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Barbless ?


Trevor B
12-26-2006, 01:21 PM
Seasons greetings to everyone !
I'm sitting here tying flies and preparing for my first trip to Acklins in March.
Question : Are barbless hooks the norm for Bone fish ?
What are you regular visitors to the islands doing with your barbs ?
thanks Trev

jimS
12-26-2006, 01:35 PM
Barbless. My experience indicates that as long as you keep tension on the fish, it will stay buttoned. Easier to release fish when going barbless.

juro
12-26-2006, 01:43 PM
barbless for me like my acklins partner Jim Simms

better for the fish too, fast release

Trevor B
12-26-2006, 03:09 PM
Thanks
Do you file them down or just flatten them with pliers ?

jimS
12-26-2006, 04:09 PM
Flatten them with a pair of pliers. Sharp hooks are important. If they don't dig into a finger nail, they need to be sharpened. Most chemically sharpened hooks are sticky sharp. Mustad 34007 hooks require sharpening. Tiemco, Daiichi and Gamakatsu are chemically sharpened.

BobBergquist
12-26-2006, 07:31 PM
Trev,

Keep the barbs and smash them on the flats if you wish, espesially the crabs. The barbs won't hurt a bonefish or permit, as they are constantly pinched, poked and cut by their prey. It will make them a bit quicker to release, but if and when you hook up that permit while wading you will want a barb. The first run in the shallow water will be 200 yards, then it will come back at you faster than you can reel and you will want every edge! I have had three permit crush flies, literally flatten the hook ( my fault for not setting soon enough) but that is how tough their mouths and crushers are. A whole lot different than trout or salmon. Now if you are prone to sticking one in your ear or the guide's ear...!

Bob

JR SPEY
12-26-2006, 08:18 PM
My belief is similar to Bob's. I used to go barbless for all my flats' fishing. However, I dropped too many fish, especially big ones, by doing so. A gentleman with far more flats' experience than I'll probably ever have told to go back to barbless but use the new hooks with very short barbs. Man, what a difference. These days the only flies I use barbless down there are flies that have been tied on old 34007 hooks and the like. And for the most part I've given most of those away. Give me flies tied on Gamakatsu SC15 and SL45 hooks, or the superb Daiichi X452 models. With them you really don't need to go barbless and you'll keep far more big fish buttoned up. I fish barbless for almost all my freshwater fishing, so it has nothing to do with an aversion to barbless hooks.

teflon_jones
12-26-2006, 08:58 PM
Personally, I think barbed flies are the way to go for any species. They will allow you to fight a fish more aggressively without fear of losing it. I think this more than offsets any extra trouble of getting a barbed hook out since the amount of time you have to fight a fish is going to harm it much more than taking an extra 10, 20, or even 30 seconds to remove a barbed hook. The number one issue with barbed hooked removal in this guy's opinion is that people don't carry the appropriate tools to remove them. Forceps are fine and dandy for holding flies when you want to tie them on, or for pulling out tiny size 16, 18, or 20 hooks, but nothing beats a pair of needlenose pliers for getting out larger hooks. You can quickly and easily pop a hook out without damaging the fish's mouth, or at least with very little damage.

The one caveat I'll throw on this is that hatchery trout tend to have quite a bit softer mouths than anything else I've ever fished for, so it's easier to damage their mouths when trying to remove a larger barbed hook. I'll usually bend down the barb most of the way when fishing large flies for hatchery fish, but leave it sticking up a tiny bit.

Ok, I'll actually throw a second caveat on this. There's HUGE differences in how far barbs stick up on different brands of hooks. That can make a HUGE difference in how difficult it is to extract a barbed hook.

Jeff Lebowski
12-28-2006, 11:26 PM
Barbless. Makes the hook set easier and if you lose a fish it isn't b/c of the lack of the barb- it is lack of skill.

JR SPEY
12-29-2006, 08:13 AM
That last comment is a crock. It comes from someone who must never have hooked into a bonefish over five pounds. There is no way to keep up with a large bone when it decides it's going to come right at you. I don't care how fast you can crank with a 1:1 reel, it can't be done. If the fish stays buttoned in that situation it's either plain old luck (especially getting the hook in exactly the right spot during the hookset) or it's because you have a small barb that does not allow the fly to drop out as easily during the inevitable slack that will occur.

petevicar
12-29-2006, 08:34 AM
I fish for bonefish somewhere in the world every 6-8 weeks. I have been doing this for about 12 years.
I have caught many hundreds of bonefish.
Six fish even over 12lbs (weighed with bocagrip), biggest 13.5.

I always fish barbless unless I have forgotten to crimp the barb.
I have lost very very few fish because of barbless hooks.

I fight the fish very hard and I want to release the fish as quickly as possible.

If the fly is in the fish's throat it is quite difficult to remove and if you fish with a barbed hook chances are that you will kill the fish.

I agree with Bob about crab flies for permit but when fishing for bones always barbless.

Pete

JR SPEY
12-29-2006, 01:31 PM
You know, after thinking about the above exchange this morning some things occurred to me. One, it depends a lot on the hook itself. If I were still fishing Mustad 34007 or 3407 hooks I'd definitely roll over the barb on them. Those barbs were too long and stuck up too high to make for a good hookset and they were a devil to get out of a fish. The same is true of a bunch of the older hooks. However, since I haven't used those hooks in several years I forget that a lot of guys still do. My bonefish flies are tied on Gamakatsu hooks (SC15 and SL45) and the Daiichi X452 and occasionally the X472. Those barbs are so small that releasing a fish just isn't a problem, and they won't usually fall out when there's a moment's slack, which can be nearly unavoidable as mentioned above. If you're successful doing what you're doing I wouldn't change a thing. However, I lost a 25lb permit and a 12lb bonefish on the same day using debarbed 34007 hooks several years ago. And I know what I'm doing. I fish for bones roughly 25-30 days a year and for permit for another 6 days at least, and I've done it for years. Switching to the better hooks and not worrying about debarbing them has made a world of difference in my fishing. Your results may vary.:D

BobBergquist
12-29-2006, 04:19 PM
I agree, those Gamakatsu SC 15's are great. Wide gap, strong, super sharp and that tiny barb is great. Releasing a bone is never a problem, given you don't let the fish swallow the fly. They really work well for Turneffe crabs and puffs that need the wider gap.

Trevor B
12-29-2006, 06:03 PM
Barbs or no barbs aside, I'm just wondering what you all do for a living that you get to fish for bones and the like so much ?, I must be doing something wrong :)
Any way thanks guys for the input, I'll decide when I'm there and follow my guides advice I think, I'd like to try and get a few fish under my belt before I come to my own conclusions, thanks for all the input on everything
Happy new year to all Trev

JR SPEY
12-29-2006, 07:33 PM
Believe me, I'm no trust fund baby. I was a public school teacher most of my life and I put money aside regularly for retirement from the time I was 25 years old. I also run a business on the side now that I'm retired that helps to pay for much of the fishing. The key is priorities. I read so much of the guys who say they might be able to afford a week at a lodge some day if they win the lottery. I find it's much more likely to happen if you minimize your expenses on other non-essentials. I'm talkiing cigarettes, booze, the huge amount of electrical gadgetry out there, and the like. I still don't have cable, my home stereo system is almost thirty years old, my newest TV is 10 years old, and my cars run at least that long before I replace them. Believe me, if that type of fishing is enough of a priority, it can be done. If you think bonefishing is expensive, check out what it costs to fish for Atlantic salmon from a full-fledged lodge. I hope this doesn't come off as arrogant, but I give up a lot what many other people consider to be necessities so that I can afford to do the travel.

Trevor B
12-29-2006, 10:13 PM
JR Spey
On the contrary, I dont think what you are saying is arrogant at all, you have been diligent with your money in order to pursue something you love to do, my hats off to you!
You deserve your time on the flats; I just wish I could be that disciplined.
That being said I decided a few years ago that I was fed up with waiting for the One day that Ill go there, and made plans to really do it. I work two jobs one full time and one part time, the part time one will pay for my trip and has paid for most of my new gear, as it has with a lot of the places I have traveled. Im just getting into the bone fishing and have only had one disaster of a trip so far, Cuba last year, the weather really did not co- operate and the guide unfortunately was not what I had hoped for, but I saw enough in one mornings fishing to be hooked for a life time. I feel truly blessed that I will have the opportunity to fish Acklins this coming year, I cant wait, to learn, to meet new people and to enjoy the beauty of Acklins and its people, maybe even catch a few fish.
For now I will keep tying flies (200 or so to date) and try to learn as much from all you guys as I can.
To all of you out there that take the time to offer an opinion and give some advice, please keep up the good work, it is invaluable to guys like me and helps keep the dream alive until reality takes over, and the warm water laps at my legs will a bone sucks up my fly and runs off into the sunset.
Thanks All
Trev

Ps Like you said, try and spend even a few days at a Canadian Lodge and fish Salmon, trout or any thing else, it is very expensive indeed

FishHawk
12-30-2006, 07:28 AM
I've seen it happen where someone got a hook in his eye and he was lucky that it was barbless. Yes, you could say that it was his fault for not wearing some sort of eye protection but stuff happens. We had to rush him to the hospital to get the hood removed. Never want to see this happen again. FishHawk

josko
12-30-2006, 08:34 AM
I largely use 34007's and leave the barbs. I've never had a problem unhooking a bonefish and think barbs help out whenever line goes slack.
Areas I fish tend to be shark-prone, and I've learned to give a bone slack to help it outrun a shark. I expect they would come unbuttoned with a barbless hook when I do this.

mugsy
01-02-2007, 01:16 AM
I like to use barbless hooks - I've had to remove too many from my not-so-nimble fingers in the last 40+ years! It also seems like the bones would be able to rub hooks off a lot sooner should one remain when the line breaks. Obviously, the stainless hooks aren't going to rust out like the freshwater hooks will. That said, if/when I finally hookup with a permit, I really hope my hook is barbed! (unless, of course, I freak-out, rush everything, and embed the hook in the back of my head!)

juro
01-02-2007, 05:58 AM
They can outrun predators much better if the hook does come free. However my experience has been when I try to get them to shake free (I fish barbless) to save its life I can't, and the shark or cuda wins.

From this I conclude that barbless is the way to go since the fish can't shake them and while fishing in remote areas where there are no doctors and hospitals the LAST thing I need is to deal with a barb in my skin in the event of an accident.

Besides there are a thousand more bones coming with the rising tide, why sweat it?

Eddie
01-02-2007, 07:31 AM
I fish with barbs for tarpon (the excellent sc15 hook) and barbless almost always for other fish. I can't say that I have dropped enough fish to make me want to keep the barbs. I have lost nice fish with barbed flies (as I am sure everyone has) so I think it is a wash. Not every fish was meant to be caught.
I have pulled a 3/0 hook burried to the bend out of my fore arm with out too much hassle. I have also pulled a 0/1 gotcha out of my thumb. That would have been a tough day if either of those flies had barbs.
I must say that I find fishing more pleasurable when the release is easy. Fishing is not so much fun when the fish swims away torn up.
I will have to check out the sl45 and x452hooks. I was always a little concerned that the thin guage hooks would be more likely to tear out of a bone fish's mouth (and sink slower) but I will give them a try.

BobBergquist
01-02-2007, 11:26 AM
That's pretty much my routine as well, flats loaded with average size bones the barb is crushed and i try to let the fish get off on it's own after a run or so. Ocean flat with 10 pounders and when after permit the barb stays. Tarpon, the barb stays. As for pulling hooks out of necks and arms, the old tippet around the bend, press the eye down hard and yank works really well even with tarpon hooks!

bonehead
01-03-2007, 10:03 PM
I've learned to give a bone slack to help it outrun a shark. I expect they would come unbuttoned with a barbless hook when I do this.


However my experience has been when I try to get them to shake free (I fish barbless) to save its life I can't, and the shark or cuda wins.

From this I conclude that barbless is the way to go since the fish can't shake them


First, let me say there are so many good replies here... this is a great forum.

I'd have to completely agree with Juro's reply to Josko here. In fact, I've a great story I love to tell about how well a fly stays in a bonefish mouth. I only have one question, Juro, why not just pop the fish off? I've had Bahamian guides advise me to give the fish slack to outrun sharks, etc, but your summary of the result is pretty accurate: shark - 1; bonefish - 0. Nowadays if a shark is on a bonefish tail I point the rod and pop 'im off, no hesitation.

Now, my story: Let me begin by saying I never use barbs on bonefish, not since my first bonefish. I don't let my clients use them either, especially on the old-style mustad's (34007's). I even crimp the barbs on the new Mustad Saltwater Signatures (awsomely sharp hooks... and strong), which have a tiny barb to begin with. Same result: bonefish stays on.

So, I was fishing with a buddy of mine (guide's day off) and we found this school of like 200 bones. He manages to hook one first off, but pops him off. Meanwhile I cast, strip, come tight: fish on! Now, I know what happens next, see it all the time. The bonefish bolts, scares the hell out of his buddies, chases them to find the safety of the school, but they're scared shitless so the keep running. Basically everbody leaves town in a hurry and you've got to go find more fish somewhere else. However, I know a little trick, see: bonefish won't run if you don't pull. That's right, no pressure, no run. So, the split second I'm sure I've hooked that fish I drop the rod tip, basically roll casting my slack line and peel off some more flyline just to make sure he's comfortable.

In the meantime by buddy (who shall remain nameless) gets a new fly on and drops it near the school. Bang, fish on!... only this time he pulls the hook (straightens it). Clip off fly; new fly on; cast. Bang. Fish on again... again he pops him off. Of course, his nerves aren't helped by the fact that - good friend that I am - I'm heckling him the entire time. Telling him he'll miss our only double-header, etc. Meantime my little bonefish is still swimming around out there, still attached to my barbless fly. I track his movements by watching the end of the flyline. Once he started to come tight and sped up a little, but I threw more slack at him until he calmed down again. No worries. Finally, my buddy gets a new fly on, drops it in the school, strips, comes tight, and clears the line. Fish on. At this point I reel in until I'm tight to my fish which finally gets to do what bonefish do so well: run like hell. The school freeks out as 2 scared bonefish rocket through it trying to find shelter. In about 5 seconds the flat is empty except for a couple anglers with bent rods.

Estimated time that fish was on a slack line: about 2 minutes.

So, I'll place my faith on barbless flies for bones anytime and toss my lot with Juro and Petevicar. I also asked my dad, who I fish with regularly and has caught countless bonefish. He also agrees that barbs are extraneous for bonefish. Both of us agree, however, with at least a small barb for permit. First one he landed was taken on a 34007 with a flattened barb, but those old barbs are so big they still leave a little "bump" that works fine to keep the hook in. In fact, we had trouble getting it out it was jammed so far into the corner of the permit's mouth. Any other hooks I keep the barbs for the "forked tailed one".

Ok, just so you know that bonefish story wasn't a fluke or anything. At least 3 other times I've used that technique. Once to get another double-header, and twice when bonefish bolted for docks. I just followed along behind them on a slack line as they swam between the pilings. When we were far enough on the other side I'd reel in and come tight. So long as the line remains slack, the bonefish won't run. He might be alarmed and decide to leave the neigborhood, but not at warp speed like usual.

I guess those are my thoughts on 2 of the "big 3". As for tarpon, I actually debarb all my flies for them as well. I think (with the likes of Andy Mills) that removing the barb lets that fly penetrate right to the bend, like a "hyperdermic needle". Hook that tarpon in the corner of the mouth and he'll stay pinned. No worries. I started doing this about 5 years ago when I lost several fish because my hook never went past the barb. I'd hook a fish for a couple seconds, he'd jump and it'd be over. The hook would come back opened up slightly, a sure sign it wasn't in to the bend. Once I started debarbing my hooks, my fish stayed on (usually... you know how it is with tarpon).

Happy New Year, all!
Boneheaded (as always)


PS The only exception to my barbless rule is when using the Mustad Signature Saltwater "Allround O'Shaug" model in #8 size. (Model # S71S SS.) This hooks have a very narrow gap but have the long shank I need to tie a certain killer pattern. However, in order to hook fish I have to open the gap with a pliers, very slightely. In that case I keep the barb since fish do slip off that point do to the poor angle and greater leverage of the longer shank. However, as Josko pointed out, the barbs on these things are sooo small it is no problem to release fish (or remove it from your person should the need arise).

Henry
01-04-2007, 08:03 AM
Yeah, most of my Bonefish flies are barbless as well as all of my other flies I tie for most everything else. Sometimes I wonder why though. I've now dropped 4 bones in my flats-fishing career that were 10lbs or better...all were on barbless flies and all were at points in the battle where pressure on the fish was minimal. I recall one specific incident where I had a HUGE fish make 4 runs to upwards of 150 yards...after each run, I had the fish literally at my feet before it exploded off on it's next tour of the creek system I was fishing. The flat was hummoky (sp?) sand piles with intermittent grassy patches. That fish... time and time again pounded it's face into these humps during it's runs and I'm positive it actually managed to back out the size 6 barbless hook because of this behavior.

I'll keep fishing barbless for all the right/good reasons but I still can't help wondering how many 10+lbers I'd have under my belt if my flies were barbed. I suppose and hope the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment will be all that much sweeter when it finally happens...barbless that is.

Tight loops gang,

BigDave
01-04-2007, 08:36 AM
I leave the barbs on TMC 811s for bones - for the same reason Josko mentioned or in case they bolt up into the mangroves.

You never know when the large is going to come by. If I lost a double digit fish because of a pinched barb I would be seriously disappointed.

Bonefish and Permit have very tough mouths made for eating sharp and spiny things, so I don't really think it's a big deal. Even when they get it in the crushers the hook usually pops right out with a pair of pliers.

All a matter of personal preference i guess.

Trevor B
01-05-2007, 02:34 PM
Well I am astounded that such a simple question can evoke so many responses and so much discussion, but most of all I am blown away by how much information has come forth and how much I have learned from this question.
I have to admit that I have never fished barb less in my 40 +years of fishing but I am sure I will at least try and form my own opinion and for sure put all the great info you guys have provided into practice.
I look forward to learning even more from you all this coming year
Happy New Year to all, thanks for a great forum
Trev

arubaman
01-10-2007, 05:03 PM
Barbless recipe......
step 1: take two identical flies
step 2: remove the barb of one of the flies
step 3: put on your nice armani smoking suit
step 4: pinch both flies in your suit
step 5: remove them both
step 6: imagine its not that expensive suit, but living tissue
step 7: conclusions????

I just dont know, most of my flies are barbless, experienced it in my hand and seen it happen to others. Lucky friend, got my hook in his finger. Unlucky me, got somebody else barbed hook in my hand... Could you claim it on your buddy? Make him fish barbless too? that would be a nice step in barbless evolution.

Suggestion: when I am behind the vice and tying, I just hold the hook inside the beak of the vice and squeeze the barb. It crushes or gets crimped. Easy to do, make it your routine when tying.

I love nature. Besides fishing I enjoy diving a lot (got some certifications on it) and underwater photography is fun to do. Ill tell you all I put a spell on fisherman who cause the situation:eek: the next picture shows.
http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r184/arubamanprikbord/bonaire13-20november2006501.jpg
good night!

JR SPEY
01-11-2007, 10:48 AM
Having just returned late last night from a week of bonefishing on Andros, I have to tell you I thought a lot about this thread while up on the casting deck. After reading each of the posts, I'm convinced we're talking apples/oranges. Juro's comment about why worry about a dropped fish because they're be 4000 more come in on the next tide was the clue. If I were fishing for 1-5 lb bones (with a rare chance at something significantly better) I probably wouldn't worry about it either. However, when I bonefish, it is closer to permit or sighted tarpon fishing. I'm looking for serious fish and will regularly pass on schools of fish under 5 lb. There were a number of times during this past week when a large school of fish came toward us, but upon finding out they were just small fish we just let them pass. Twice this proved important. My biggest fish was caught just after (30 seconds maybe) a large school crossed our path. And, the only shot I got at a likely 10lb fish came the same way. I didn't get it to take, but I would have probably not even seen him or had the thrill of presenting the fly to him had I cast and stuck a 2lb fish from the school. Essentially what I'm saying is that there are at least two types of bonefishing and they are significantly different from each other. If fishing to schools of small to mid-sized fish I agree that not having a barb really doesn't make much difference. However, when you spend all day looking for double digit fish and might only make a half dozen presentations in a full day, keeping that fish on when you do get him to take is imortant to me. And big fish DO stay buttoned better when using good hooks with microbarbs.

petevicar
01-11-2007, 11:21 AM
Hi JR Spey
Where were you fishing in Andros?
I am off there at the beginning of next month.
I still do not agree with your arguments about barbed hooks.
I was fishing in Cuba at the beginning of last December with barbless hooks for bones. On the only day that I fished only for bones (other days were spent chasing tarpon as well). I hooked and landed 19 fish all singles no schoolies. There were no really big fish but all over 5lbs and one weighed in at 8lbs. Heres the 8 pounder: http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k144/petevicar/IMGP0446.jpg

Pete

JR SPEY
01-12-2007, 07:26 AM
I fish from the Andros Island Bonefish Club and spend most of my time fishing to big fish in the Middle Bight area and the West Side. The Club had trouble getting enough gas when I was down there this week so trips to the West Side were few. I'm not sure which points I made that you disagree with, but I guess that's what these boards are all about. I have no problem having a discussion like this with someone who's been there. I get tired of guys who do most all their fishing at a keyboard making comments about someone's ability or supposed lack thereof. If you've had success doing what you're doing you'd be foolish to change. There's no doubt in my mind which method works best for me, and so I won't be changing any time soon either.

JR SPEY
01-12-2007, 07:32 AM
I fish from the Andros Island Bonefish Club and spend most of my time fishing to big fish in the Middle Bight area and the West Side. The Club had trouble getting enough gas when I was down there this week so trips to the West Side were few. I'm not sure which points I made that you disagree with, but I guess that's what these boards are all about. I have no problem having a discussion like this with someone who's been there. I get tired of guys who do most all their fishing at a keyboard making comments about someone's ability or supposed lack thereof. If you've had success doing what you're doing you'd be foolish to change. There's no doubt in my mind which method works best for me, and so I won't be changing any time soon either.

petevicar
01-12-2007, 07:37 AM
Hi JR

I aslo think that it is great to exchange ideas. Thanks.

I am off to Mangrove Cay. I would imagine that we will be fishing the West Side. Or at least I hope.

Do you have any recommendations for flies that are working at the moment.

Pete

juro
01-12-2007, 07:47 AM
Jr Spey, Pete et al -

I envy anyone who can say "I just got back..." :)

You hit the nail on the head, we need to go with our own intuitions because that's what fishing is all about beneath the tricks, techniques and toys.

However I would spend entire days on a 4.5 day trip pursuing big bones and it really has nothing to do with the barb whether I score or not. Virtually all of the really big bones I've hooked and lost have been lost to exploded tippets, coral, mangroves spiked with barnacles, etc - where the fly was not spit but gone. In fact I can't recall even one big bone I've lost where the fly came back (perhaps I could if I checked my log book) but I have found my fly wrapped around mangroves spit many times by any size bone. That's why I dislike mangrove fishing, so much time spent untangling and little time figuring the fish out.

My passion for bonefishing, other than the tropical surroundings, is in the "figuring out" of these little speedsters. They have so much personality in their behavior. Big bones have a different personality than the smaller school fish and that's often what has led me to some major hookups albeit sometimes just sh*t luck.

In my experiences, which are 100% DIY, the correlation between size of fish and barb has been of little consequence whereby what I do, where and when is of huge consequence when it comes to hooking big bones.

I have a video clip of a huge bone I almost stepped on with the light almost gone practically on the beach, but it was too dark and the bottom colored where it was rooting and the thing just plain could not see my fly. I eventually plopped the fly on it's head (literally) and it rooster tailed for deep water, but only after 10 shots 2 inches from it's mouth with a dozen different patterns (each). Ok that's an exaggeration, but seriously not by much! If the mosquitos weren't eating me alive as the sun fell with the spray back in the car I would not have hit him on the head.

Talk about frustration, the biggest bone of the trip and I could have grabbed it with my hands easier than hook it!

Lesson learned -

I will have both luminescent and rattle patterns in my bonefish box this year. :smokin:

I bet some of you may too :)

BobBergquist
01-12-2007, 08:55 AM
Aurubaman,

The snapper in that picture really does not represent the discussion. It is stuck with a meat hook from a hand line, and would certainly have been harvested had it not cut the line. The micro barb on a modern fly hook is an apple to that orange.

That said, it is an individual choice and depends greatly on the situation. I'm Bi-Hooktual and go both ways!:chuckle:

JR SPEY
01-12-2007, 03:29 PM
Pete,

The fishing was really slow and the guys who got to the West Side found very few fish, though one of them did hook an estimated (by the guide) 120lb tarpon. We had more than twenty guys fishing during most of the week and several have more than 100 days of bonefishing experience and not a single double digit fish was caught. The largest fish were caught on a prototype fly that essentially had a pinkish tan goathair wing with copper colored beadchain eyes and that's it. No tail or body and only the one color in the wing, and only a couple of strands of Krystal Flash. They were tied on #2 and #4 Daiichi X472 (long shank) hooks. I came home and decided to tie some more of them using my pinkish tan polar bear (legal) to bring down in early March when I go back. The goat is beautiful but doesn't have the transluscency of the bear. I also had some success with medium sized fish (@5lb) on a #8 Clouser in pale pink and white and VERY little flash with extra small barbell eyes. The hook was the SL45 Gami. We got way more refusals on gotchas than we normally get and the truth is we had so few shots altogether that establishing any kind of pattern was not possible. Say "Hi!" to Liz.:hihi: