Thoughts on Fly Selection
Hi everybody. Long time no blog. Sorry about that. But we did recently start an instagram account, so follow @nervouswaterhawaii if youíre into that kind of thing. Expect to see fishy pictures posted regularly there. Anyway, after reading Clay's post about rigging bonefish flies that sit hook point up, I thought I could take that train of thought one step further. So if you came here just looking for a pic dump of hero shots and snarky commentary, youíll have to wait Ďtil next time. But if you stick around you might just learn something.
So weíve established how important your fly riding hook point up is, but there are a few more subtle factors at work besides just the weighted eyes. A big fluffy wing will help a fly to ride hook point up and absorb some of the impact on entry, but it will also slow down the sink rate of the fly and get dragged by the current more than a sparsely dressed fly. Tying the leader to the fly with a loop knot vs. a solid knot will also help increase the sink rate as the fly can more easily dive head first to the bottom. These are all small factors, but should be considered.
A properly weighted bonefish fly should sink to the bottom in no more than 3 seconds from the time it enters the water. Kevin told me that a long time ago, and it is still a foundation of my sight fishing presentations today. The first thing I do after tying on a new fly is drop it into the water at the depth and conditions I think Iíll be fishing. I count down how long it takes to sink. I twitch it around a little to see if it rolls in the current or hops straight up and down. If the fly takes too long to hit bottom, doesnít ride hook up properly, or rolls on its side in the current, I cut it off and try another- simple as that. I need to know that what I think the fly is doing is what the fish sees. If I am unsure of how the fly might swim and its likelihood to get stuck, itís useless to me no matter how cute it might look in the box.
When the tide changes rapidly or I change spots from skinny water tailers to deeper water cruisers, Iíll adjust the fly as necessary. Again, fly not getting down quickly and swimming straight? Gotta change. Moving into an area with wave action pushing over the flat? Time for the sparsely dressed heavyweights. Same thing also works in the opposite direction. Rapidly falling tide in the late afternoon, wind backing off and water getting glassy? Bust out that bead chain.
I know this all sounds simple, but itís amazing how many people fish a completely inappropriate fly for the conditions theyíre in simply because they donít think about the effect the changing conditions have on their fly or are too lazy to tie a new fly on. There are people out there who think there is one magic fly good for all spots and conditions. I only know of two anglers who have repeated success thinking like this, and both of them are fair weather fishermen who tend to only fish the spots and conditions that just so happen to match their particular favorite fly. If you want to have consistent success in any and all tides, spots, and weather, youíll need to have flies that will act properly in all these scenarios.
Notice I havenít said a thing about color or matching a particular food source. Thatís because thatís all way less important than picking a fly that will swim correctly in your given area. Taking a minute to check that your fly is actually swimming the way you think it is can make the difference between another bolo and that epic hero shot. Now get out and get yours before Gregg and his lucky hat catch them all! Aloha