Bonito teeth - conical? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bonito teeth - conical?

08-21-2001, 11:54 AM
One of the things I noticed more than before in studying bonito teeth over the weekend is that much of the reptutation about bonito teeth being conical and not line-cutting is untrue. Actually I noticed it before but didn't really dwell on it before. Having been cut off by fish that I was sure was bonito in the past, and thinking back on the one's I've kept, the teeth were always very sharp and worthy of consideration.

Particularly the volmerine teeth that are backward facing and quite flat/triangular, like a spanish mac. Also the forward row on the edge of the mandibles. Perhaps they don't have the serrations along the edges that make the cutting teeth of the bluefish so automatic for losing flies, but they are tippet eaters just the same.

Gregg Estey, who had the most hands-on practice fighting and landing bonito up until I left the clave, has gone to using high # test flouro over 30#. That sounds like a good approach. It would call for more energized fly patterns to overcome the stiffness of the tippet, of course.

I am thoroughly convinced that the tippet is not a critical element provided you can get the fly into the momentary feeding burst pattern of a pod. I'm convinced that fly design, although more important than tippet visibility, is only a matter of getting something that will trigger a strike in the heat of battle. Sometimes that could be a wide range of patterns, other times it might be down to just a few but I think this explains the poppers, sluggos, spoons, flies and who knows what they have been reacting to.

I and others have caught exotics by other means besides targeting surfacing pods. The Estey's have an excellent rip technique that doesn't require visible pod identification. They're definitely onto something.

Trollers with hairballs and other lures can clean house on rip shoals and currents, blind. They are there.

I have hooked them with a jolting retrieve in rips, and caught them blind in river mouths where they are working subsurface bait. Clearly the most exciting way is to drop the fly into a bursting pod. But I believe that just focusing on that one method may squander opportunities for success when they are not visible on top.

The most exciting part of the exotic fishery to me is the newness of it, despite the fact that they have been around since the beginning. It's never too late to learn something new when it comes to flyfishing!