Monday, April 20, 2015

Flies for Andros Bonefish

A selection of flies for big Bahamian bones
There are two types of fly boxes that resemble boxes of jewels. A box full of Atlantic salmon flies bursts with bright, contrasting colors. A box of bonefish or permit flies sparkles and glimmers in the light. In either case, just looking into the fly box can become hypnotic.

I just finished an order of flies destined for Andros Island, the largest island in the Bahamian archipelago. Andros is known for its large bonefish. I've tied plenty of bonefish flies in the past, but none as consistently large as these. Most were size 2 or size 4. There are a few 6s mixed in for calm days or shallow flats. Big flies for big fish, I suppose.

My client culled his list of flies from Drew Chicone's website. Until tying this order, I was unaware of Chicone's work. He is a very talented fly tyer and designer. Chicone's blog, Salty Fly Tying,  is full of useful tips and tutorials that can be appreciated by all tyers, not just those tying for flats fishing.

Chicone listed seven patterns he considers essential for Andros bonefish. Most are fairly typical in terms of construction and profile, variations on the Crazy Charlie and Gotcha templates. I've tied plenty of Gotchas and had already tied and fished Bob Veverka's Mantis Shrimp. A couple of the others took a little more thought.

Oliver Owens, a tyer and guide from Hawaii, created the 90 Percenter. The 90 Percenter is a unique fly in that the wing is fanned out horizontally. The profile gives the impression of a crab. The soft, arctic fox wing is very mobile and should move well without much action imparted.

The other fly which required some extra thought was Mauro Ginevri's Avalon. The Avalon is a shrimp imitation, originally intended for permit fishing in Cuba. It's a "keel fly," meaning the small loop of monofilament and beads act as a keel, increasing the fly's stability. The beads also acts as a rattle. It's a very unique fly which requires the tyer to follow very specific instructions in order for the fly to fish properly. I'd like to try tying it in darker colors to use as a crayfish imitation.

Though my experience with bonefish is very limited, I really enjoy tying these flies. Learning new styles and techniques can be beneficial to any tyer, even if the flies aren't intended for his or her home quarry. The lessons we learn, while taking on new and varied projects, get stored away in our memory banks, returning when we least expect them to. That is one of the aspects of fly tying I find most appealing. 

90 Percenter (Oliver Owens)


Avalon (Mauro Ginevri)

Bone App├ętit (Drew Chicone)

Bonefish Scampi (Henry Cowen)

Mantis Shrimp (Bob Veverka)

Tranqu-Hill-izer (Drew Chicone)



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