Picking the right fly

Deneki recently ran a post about picking the right bonefish fly. Worth a read.

Now, that’s a real issue for people like me who walk out on the flats with 600 flies. If you only have a dozen flies, it is likely an easier decision tree.

The boxes.

The boxes.

Here’s how I usually pick a fly.

  • Depth. Deeper water required heavier flies. However, it seems, from my very limited experience, it is almost always bead-chain eyes. I have lead-eyes and mono-eyes and it is almost always the bead chains that win.
  • Big fish, big flies. Someone told me that and I bought it. Heading to Biscayne Bay I’ve been told I need 1/0’s. The bones of Belize require flies in the #6-#8. A #6 or #4 seems to go over well in most places.
  • Go with the pattern that has worked. Seems like a good call, no?
  • Never fish the stuff I haven’t fished before. That’s not a good thing, but I notice the flies I’ve tied but am unsure of… yeah, those don’t tend to make it out of the box. Sometimes I wish I would take more risks.
  • When in doubt… put on a Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp.

In the end…

  • Relax. It matters way less than we think it does… probably. Presentation over fly selection, within reason.


Tags: ,


  1. This is what I know about choosing flies for bonefish from my very limited experience.Water depth is important. Really shallow water may not need a bead chain eye at all. 3 to 4 or more feet of water may need lead eyes. Match the color of the bottom. Turtle grass? Maybe a green pattern. Sand? A tan or light pink fly. Spooky fish? Avoid bright colors.

  2. Bonefish don’t care… until they do.

  3. Exactly.

  4. Did anyone read the article about fishing dries (foam poppers) for bonefish in the new Drake Magazine? Interesting.

  5. It all depends on location , if you fish deadmans Long island chances are you will fish no deeper than 2 ft water , I usually only use 1 crab and 1 shrimp pattern because it is all in presentation.

  6. Tell me where you’re going and I’ll tell you what to bring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *