Your Go-To Fly Selection for Anywhere Bonefish Swim

Dylan Rose February 19, 2024

There is nothing like the thrill of watching a bonefish sneakily zoom over to pick up your fly and then race away at 30mph like it's stolen a box of donuts. I've had the good fortune to catch bonefish in six different countries and it just never gets old. Targeting them encompasses the purest expression of saltwater flats fly fishing. It's the quintessential game of spot and stalk where you match wits with an underwater border collie dressed in a suit of mirrors. It can be electrifying, intense, and downright maddening, but it's always addicting. After a successful encounter, you watched the little gilded torpedo sent back on its way, and the only thing that crosses your mind is, “c’mon... just one more...”

With a selection of the five flies below, there's nowhere in the world where bonefish swim where I wouldn’t feel confident hitting the flats. It’s helpful to have a range of large silhouettes, both crab and shrimp imitations and options for fishing over mud, sand, and grass bottoms. A sparkly change-up is also handy, which will allow you to make sure you’re getting their attention if they become non-responsive. Above all, the quality of my angling is directly correlated to the confidence with which I’m fishing. It’s the most important variable out there and with this selection, that box is checked. Let’s go!

Universal Flats Fly

The Spawning Shrimp is my choice nine times out of ten for bonefish nearly anywhere in the world. I like knowing that I’m rigged and ready to go with a large silhouette for a large bonefish. I want to make sure I have the chance to get their attention and if a little guy decides the fly is too big, I’m cool with that.

Universal Bonefish Fly

There are many places in the world where you may find bonefish and permit on the same flat. There’s no better option in that scenario than a Squimp. On the Yucatan, this pattern has accounted for my largest permit to date. There’s just something about those yellow eyes that seem to get them all a flutter.

Christmas Island Bonefish Fly

Yes, this is the go-to pattern for Christmas Island bonefish, without question. However, it’s also a fantastic curve ball anytime bonefish are getting finicky. Feeding them a little bling can really turn heads at times and the Christmas Island Special serves that purpose perfectly.

Go-To Bonefish Fly

The Bonefish Bitters is my choice anytime I’m targeting spooky bonefish over turtle grass. The fly lands very softly and the hair wing does a great job of providing some weedless properties. It’s also a great crab imitation to change things up or when fish get exceedingly spooky.

Go-To Bonefish Fly

The Pearl Gotcha is my bonefish security blanket. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside just to see a few crispy fresh ones sitting in my box. There is simply not a bonefish location in the world where I would choose to find myself without some of these waiting to come off the bench.

For more information on tying or selecting the perfect mix of flies for your next bonefish trip contact Dylan.