Nov 11

A fly for every angler – Bonefish Fly Patterns by Dick Brown

A while back Dick Brown had his newest edition of Bonefish Fly Patterns sent my way to look at.  With a move and associated domestic drama it took me a while to get to it.

A good book.

I’m sorry it took that long.  The book is fantastic.  Dick not only really knows how to write (I mean, they guy can just plain write), he has some serious insight into what makes flies work.  There are some really good nuggets in the book about fly design, colors, flash and everything else you could be interested in, but he also has page after page after page of flies tied by to top shelf of today’s bonefisherati.

One thing you’ll come away with is the sense that at some time, someone tried just about everything.  There are flies that are hardly more than bare hooks and there are flies that are dressed up like they are taking the S.O. out to the Opera (or to see Oprah). There are flies that are impressionistic, realistic and optimistic. They’ve all caught fish though.

A highlight was seeing Davin Ebank’s fly right there with Aaron Adams and other luminaries.  Very cool.

A fly tied/created by Davin from Flatswalker

I recommend the book.  True… I didn’t pay for it.  But I would have.  No… I’m not giving it away.  I’m keeping it.  It is currently in my “study” for periodic reference.

Sep 11

Ed Maurer reviews Dick Brown’s new Bonefish Fly Patters

The revised and updated Bonefish Fly Patterns is more of an analytical treatise on not only bonefish flies, but the prey bonefish feed upon, and the types and features required of an effective fly and how and where to fish it. Brown goes into a full analysis of what bones eat broken down into the percentages of prey they eat in the Bahamas and Florida. It’s almost like a diet book in the way each food source is listed by type and percentage eaten, but also by what prey bonefish seem to prefer regardless of availability.

Sounds pretty good, eh? Ed Maurer publishes the online journal Florida Fly Fishing Magazine (Click here to see the full review), so he has some room to speak with authority on the subject.  Of course, I’ve interviewed Dick and he actually send me a copy of the book, which I’ll review as well, once I clear things off the table a bit and make some time to give it the attention I need to give it.

Check out the link above and check out Dick’s new book. If you like bonefish and want to know more about fly selection, this is a must have.



Jun 11

Flatswalker gets a fly published

Always have to cheer when good things happen to good people.  Congrats Davin.

the book is out now and if you’re a bonefisher or plan to become one this is a MUST HAVE for your fly-tying desk. Not only does it contain almost 200 patterns, but it describes how and where to fish them. It also has a TON of info about bonefish habitat, behavior, and food preferences as well as lots of tips and techniques.Hop over to your local fly shop and grab a copy, or hit Amazon… but they only have a few copies left so you’d better hurry.

via Flatswalker: SaltWater Fly Fishing Guide Blog – Flatswalker.



Jun 10

Interview with Dick Brown

Dick Brown is a guy who knows a lot about bonefish.  His book, Fly Fishing for Bonefish, is fantastic. Not only is it full of deep bonefish knowledge, it is simply beautifully written.

Author, Dick Brown, with a nice looking bone.

Dick agreed to do an interview, which is much appreciated.

Dick, I really enjoyed your book on bonefishing.  I thought it was really well written with passages that bordered on poetry (to me, anyway).  Are there things you’ve learned since writing that book that you wish you could have put in there?

I’ve learned a lot since I wrote the original edition of Fly Fishing for Bonefish, both from others and from my own time on the flats. In fact when, Lyons Press asked me to do the new 2008 edition of the book, one of the primary goals was to update it with the most important new skill enhancements I had learned over the years. If I had to pick the top ones, I guess I’d say  learning to handle wind and clouds better  and learning to see fish more accurately and read their demeanor. To this day one of the most telling traits of a really good bonefish angler is how well he can read when to strike a fish—knowing how to interpret its body language to determine when it actually has the fly. And the other thing about seeing bones better is you not only see more targets, you present to them better and strip your fly more effectively when you can see the fish’s reactions.

Get this book.

Is there a particular bonefish that stands out in your memory?

There was a fish that nearly ran me out of backing twice that had more will and stamina than any bone I’ve ever encountered. He wasn’t all that big–maybe nine pounds at most–but he had an enormous will to live. And he fought that way to the bitter end, still struggling all the way to the boat . And just as my friend Joe Cleare was about to scoop him into a net, he turned his big head and the fly dropped into the water with the quietest little plip you ever heard, and he faded off into the turquoise glare reflecting off the surface as the great ghost he truly was. I still dream about that fish.

If you are out in nature longer than the average person you see things the average person just doesn’t see.  Have you seen something out there, on the flats, in the tropics, that was strange, unusual, frightening bizarre?

I remember once when I was fishing the Abaco Marls with Donnie Sawyer, we saw a stand-off between a big blue crab and a sizeable bonefish. The crab kept backing away from the bone in an exaggerated defense stance with its claws held out in front of it and the bone kept lunging at the crab. Just as the crab looked like he was going to skitter sideways into the mangroves, the bone charged him and ripped his right claw off. The crab darted for cover, and the bone turned and headed for deeper water with his prize claw between his crusher plates.

When it comes down to it, how much of it is presentation as opposed to fly selection?

Funny you should ask—I was just writing about that very question for a new edition of my second book Bonefish Fly Patterns book that Lyons Press will release next spring. There are days when one dominates over the other, but over the long haul you have to get them both right with this fish. Clearly if you find dumb bones on remote flats, you can throw most any pattern you want at them and you can likely get away with some sloppy presentations too. But if you want to catch smart fish or spooky fish or fish that have keyed on the dominant prey du jour, you want to perform your very best at both presentation and fly selection. If I HAD to chose one though, I’d pick presentation—but I would sure feel compromised if I were limited to a single fly.

I don't have this book... but I will... soon.

The bonefish world seems to be divided fairly well between places with big fish and places with lots of fish.  Given the choice, would you rather have a lot of shots or a few for really big fish?

I guess I have reached a place in life where I’m just happy being on any bonefish flat with fish on it. Catching a big fish is always an extraordinary thrill, but this species has so much heart that even the smaller ones make for one heck of a thrilling day of fishing. And the excitement of the hunt and of watching a stalked fish detect and engulf your fly is about as good as it gets in fishing–regardless of whether it’s a four pounder or a ten.

Dick tied on to a bone somewhere I'd probably like to be.

When I think of bonefishing I also think of cracked conch and a cold Kalik.  Are there any non-bonefish associations you make when thinking of pursuing bones?

Your question reminds me of a day when Carol and I were fishing with Ricardo Burrows out of Sandy Point on the southern tip of Abaco.  We’d had a spectacular day fishing out at Moore’s Island capped by landing a 20lb permit on the edge of the bonefish flats. When we got back to Pete and Gay’s lodge where we were staying, there was Stanley White the lodge manager standing on the dock with two cold Kaliks and a bowl of conch fritters. It was one of those died and gone to heaven moments.

Thanks for your time Dick, and thanks for your book, which I treasure.

Oct 09

Bonefish Tips by Dick Brown

I’m late to the bonefishing game, really.  A lot of the luminaries of the sport are folks I still haven’t heard of… if they missed the internet revolution, I likely missed them.  Slowly, I’m coming to understand who some of the big players are, and why.

If, like me, you are new to bonefishing, one guy you likely have heard of is Dick Brown.  He’s written two seminal works, Fly Fishing for Bonefish and Bonefish Fly Patterns.  I have the former and now I have to find the latter.  There are basically three books that get recommended to new bonefish anglers, Dick’s, then there is Fly-Fishing for Bonefish (I have this one) by Chico Fernandez and Dr. Aaron Adams, and the last of the holy bonefish trinity is Bonefishing! (don’t have this one) by Randall Kaufmann (this last one is hard to get your hands on).

Dick Brown has his own website and on that website he has a section with tips.  Tips from Dick Brown… that sounds worth taking a look at.


Dick Brown, probably on his way to catch some bones.