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brooklynangler 12-22-2004 02:02 PM

Best Bonefish Hook???
Gents, last time I went bonefishing, it was with the Pinders and I was 17 and not a very good fly fisherman, a brat, even, who was more interested in drinking rum and smoking cigarettes than catching flats ghosts.. Can't remember the hooks on the flies we used...

Your thoughts???

Smcdermott 12-22-2004 02:30 PM

TMC 811s
Light and sharp. Bead chain or even dressing it properly should have no problem turning the point up.

JR SPEY 12-23-2004 07:32 AM

You'll get lots of different answers to this one. The truth is I've narrowed it down to just two hooks, the Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish hook that comes in sizes 4-10 and The Daiichi X452 for sizes larger than a #4. These hooks are strong, incredibly sharp, and have the correct shank length for most bonefish flies. Neither is cheap, but it's my opinion that buying cheap hooks is a false economy when one figures the total cost of fly fishing.

petevicar 12-23-2004 07:59 AM

Hi brooklynangler

In my experience any good quality saltwater hook is OK for bonefish. I use Mustad 34007. Gamakatsu hooks are good but expensive and i understand that the SL45 is black, not a good colour.
The hooks must be strong and stainless.
I have never had a bonefish straighten a hook.
Are you fishing with the Pinder boys again on Grand Bahama, I fished with them a couple of years ago, great guides.

Good luck


JR SPEY 12-23-2004 01:13 PM

I'm curious as to why black is a bad color for a bonefish hook? I also find it interesting that all the best saltwater hooks today are not stainless steel and yet you advise that the hook has to be stainless. Why is that? With just a little bit of care the carbon steel hooks do not rust, are simply better hooks for penetration, and are easier to get sharp and stay sharp longer. The 34007 was the best hook available twenty years ago, but there are much better hooks, even from Mustad, for the saltwater tier today.

brooklynangler 12-23-2004 01:39 PM

Cool on the xpoints. Used to use them for stripers and blues in larger sizes and they are friggin primo for longevity and hookups. Don't think I missed a strike with the x-point clousers I tied up. Didn't hink about them for a BF hook. Many thanks!

petevicar 12-24-2004 07:13 AM

Hi JR Spey
I'll try to explain my points.
In my opinion most bonefish flies, certainly in the Bahamas are best if they seem transluscent. A black hook is very visible on a normal sand flat.

With regard to the Mustad 34007, these hooks are totally adequate for bonefish flies and are not too expensive. Even if you say these hooks were the best 20 years ago and now there are better - so what. If it is not broken, don't mend it.

Bonefish do not straighten hooks or break them in my experience as they are not "dirty" fighters yes they run but then they tire.
Maybe you have more experience than I have however I have caught many hundreds of bonefish and a good number over 12lbs.


juro 12-24-2004 07:33 AM

I am also a big fan of the TMC 811s for flats fishing. I use them predominately on the northeastern flats for striped bass sight fising but also use the smaller sizes for most of my standard bonefish patterns (gotchas, etc). Very reliable and razor sharp. I use non-toxic eyes so the high grade alloy in a lighter wire hook is less prone to swim wrong with the thinner wire hook. It's a good choice when looking for a light, tough hook. The barbs are tiny and easy to smash.

As far as color, if it looks like the forage species it's a good color. If there are bronze highlights on the crab you are imitating, let's say brown rubber legs, the bronze hooks are great for the task. Most of the time the matte finish on stainless goes well with the sand colored gotchas I use.

Only stainless hooks will last you years of angling between saltwater fishing trips. I was surprised to catch my first Aruba bonefish (far from being a destination) last year on the exact same fly that I caught a Florida Keys bone seven years prior. It was a touch rusty near the bend of the hook off the dressing but the fish didn't seem to mind.

I soon lost the fly on another bone that rubbed me off on the coral (Malmok bones are notorious for doing this) but because it was stainless it last for almost a decade in my bonefish box and I'd still have it today were it not for the fish's clever antics.

The Daichi, TMC are very similar hooks.

JR SPEY 12-24-2004 10:09 AM


By the time you wrap a body on a Gotcha and similar flies, the color of the hook makes little difference. There are patterns, however, where I would agree with you about translucency. I like the fact that the sun doesn't glint off a black hook, especially the bend of the hook which is pointing up for most patterns. I agree with you regarding bonefish not opening up hooks, but many of the flies I tie for bonefish are also terrific flies for permit and a good sized permit will open a hook. #4 Fur Crabs, #4 & 6 Gyno crabs, even #4 Merkins are proving to be better flies for permit than the old #1 or 1/0 Merkins that were being used even a few years ago (and probably still are in some places and/ or conditions.) I just find that when most guys are quizzed on the subject their main factor in choosing certain hooks like the 34007 comes down to price, and as I stated in my first post on this thread that's a false economy. That's especially true since a few dozen bonefish flies can last for several trips. I just don't see saving 20 cents or so per hook as being worth it. It's sort of like when my mother-in-law travels half-way across town to buy two heads of lettuce because they're 50 cents cheaper per head at that store than the store in her neighborhood.

petevicar 12-26-2004 08:21 AM

I like your ideas on multi purpose flies. Do you ahve picture and tying instructions for the flies you recomend?

OK I'll admit that the real reason I use Mustad hooks is that I live in Europe and they are the only hooks that are widely available.
I still have a few Gamakatsu SL113H hooks that I bought the last time I was in the US but I am running out.

Where do you fish when there is a good chance of catching permit as well as bonefish Mexico?
I have been to Ascension Bay a few times. In my experience when bonefishing seeing permit is a very rare occurance as I believe they normally like different surrounding. Namely a faster moving current and a hard bottom.

I am off to fish Cayo Largo in Cuba next month and I understand that thee could be a few permit around. Some of the flies you recommend could be usefull.



JR SPEY 12-26-2004 12:45 PM

The two largest permit I have ever hooked were while bonefishing the North Bight of Andros Island. One was hooked on a standard gotcha and the other was hooked on a small fur crab. When I go to Ascension Bay in Mexico I fish only for permit, but we do take bonefish that are more aggressive when they travel along with permit. I just like the fact that the same crab patterns I use at Casa Blanca for permit can also be used at Andros for bones. In fact, sometimes I think the bones prefer them to crazy charlies and gotchas. The fur crabs I tie simply use Antron yarn (off white, tan, and peach colors mostly) with either Polar Fibre or real polar bear for the tail. They come out looking a little like fur crabs with some Kwan features as well. Add a few strands of Krystal Flash and some barring with a marker pen and that's it. We don't even tie most of them with legs any more. They are very simple to tie (two materials and lead eyes) and seem to fish as well as or better than the more complicated versions. The gyno crab is a "secret fly" that I don't even have all of the secrets for as a buddy of mine ties them. They are pretty much a Kwan with polar bear for a tail and long rubber legs. The guy who ties them caught nine permit in five days at Casa Blanca while on his first ever flats' trip. Believe it or not, the preferred color was chartreuse. Chartreuse polar bear looks like a neon sign in the water, but the permit loved them.

I think the biggest advantage of the new hooks is the hooking percentage and hooked to lost ratio. My averages have gone up dramatically since switching to the new hooks. It's most dramatic with tarpon. I landed 3 of the first 29 tarpon I ever jumped. All were jumped using 34007, 3407, or Partridge Homasassa Special hooks. When I switched to the Owner Aki and Gamakatsu SC15 (now my favorite tarpon hooks) I landed the next seven tarpon I jumped. In fact, it might have been 12 for 12 if I hadn't lost a tarpon of well over 100 pounds due to a reel malfunction. Though not as well documented, my averages on other species has improved, also. Trust me, I like them so well I'd gladly pay a couple of dollars per hook if necessary. The price of hooks is so minute when even DIY trip costs are totaled up, that I just can't see not using the best. That goes for tippet material, too. These are two things I obsess about in saltwater fishing.

petevicar 12-27-2004 04:45 AM

Thanks for the permit fly info.
Re tarpon flies I only use Owner hooks asI have had similar experiences to you. However if you get a bad hook set on a tarpon it will always throw the hook. the good thing is that you find out quickly and not after 45mins.
I have caught quite a few large tapon in the Keys, Venezuela and surprisingly enough for me at the time, Grand Bahama.


petevicar 12-27-2004 05:40 AM

I have been doing a little research into the Kwan as I had not heard or it before. It looks interesting. The fly that you describe as the gyno crab sounds a little like the tasty toad fly that we use in the Keys for bonefish, but with legs.


JR SPEY 12-27-2004 09:49 AM

One of my fishing buddies from England, who now lives for part of the year in Islamorada, made this same comment about the gyno crab. I know I've seen the tasty toad pattern, but I can't say I've ever fished one. My guess is that Ralph, the creator of the gyno crab, probably didn't even know of either the kwan or the tasty toad. As I mentioned before it was his first trip to the flats. He's a good tier, though, and did a nice job of tying these as he had seven other guys wanting a few for themselves. There's fair fishing for tarpon in parts of Grand Bahama, just like on the west side of Andros. It tends to be seasonal, at least for the bigger fish, and they aren't everywhere. Usually a good guide will know where to find them.

petevicar 12-27-2004 12:00 PM

Interesting information. I thought I was the only english guy who spends a lot of time in Islamorada.


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