bonefishing hawaii:

the jiggy bone bug.


the jiggy bone bug is a fly that i conjured up while fooling around with jig hooks a while back.  the first day i took it out and fished it, i caught a nice bone and a small bluefin trevally.  i tied up a few for the shop, moved on to working on other fly pursuits, and never thought about it again.  the shop didn’t sell a whole lot of them and it was not surprising to me.  the fly isn’t the most beautiful sight to behold.   it does, however, have all the attributes of a good fly for hawaii's bonefish.  the 60 degree jig hook, by design, keels the fly keeping the hook riding point up, reducing snagging on the coral bottom.  the fly also has a nice meaty profile with a tantalizing marabou tail and some leggy palmered mallard flank.  yet for whatever reason it did not appeal to the human masses.  the fly just didn't sell, so i gave a few to surfa boy craig of the nwff crew to use... and he did.


flash forward a year or so later and the jiggy bone bug has now become known as a flat out bonefish destroyer.  it is now craig’s favorite “go to” fly for bones.  it has also become a very popular choice among those who dared to tie it on.


the fly was not created to resemble anything in particular.  instead it is one of those types of flies that kind of resemble everything.  the hares ear nymph, crazy charlie, clouser minnow, woolly worm, and woolly bugger are well known proven fish slayers that fall into this category of flies.  in fact the jiggy bone bug is nothing more than a tweaked woolly bugger… a tweaked woolly bugger that bones in hawaii seem to love.


the jiggy bone bug


hook: 60 degree jig hook size 2 – 1/0 (i would tie it in smaller sizes but i have not been able to get this type of saltwater hook in a smaller size than 2.  if anyone knows how to get them please let me know.)

thread: any kind of thread of matching color.

eyes: small painted lead

tail: marabou

body: any kind of chenille.  i like the larger types like large cactus chenille but smaller chenille work well too they just have a slimmer look.

hackle: mallard flank


start the thread and tie the lead eyes on the shank about a third of the way back from the eye.


tie in a marabou tail about the length of the hook shank.


tie in the cactus chenille and advance thread to about an eighth of an inch behind the lead eyes.


now wrap the chenille to the thread (about an eighth of an inch behind the eye).  tie in the chenille with two wraps of thread to hold it in place, but do not cut the chenille.


select a mallard flank feather.  for those who tie a lot of flies that use mallard flank, this is a good fly to use those feathers that are knurly and substandard for other patterns.  strip off the fluffy fibers from the shaft and stroke fibers back toward the quill leaving some fibers at the tip.  trim the tip.


tie in the feather by the tip. first behind the eye then infront of the eye.  this will secure the mallard flank.


lift the feather straight up and strip the fibers from the half facing the eye of the hook.


wind the mallard flank behind the eye brushing the fibers back as you wind it. hackle pliers help with this process.  tie off the and trim the remaining quill.


now continue winding the cactus chenille forward.  make sure the mallard flank is distributed pretty evenly around the hook shank.  the first wrap of chenille over the mallard flank tends to bunch up the fibers.


cross wrap the eyes and continue to the bend in the shank.  tie off the cactus chenille and build up a thread head on the bent part of the hook shank up to the eye.


all pau (finished).  it’s ready to fish as is or a curved scissors can be used to cut a slight taper in the chenille from the lead eyes to the eye of the hook.


i tie the jiggy bone bug in three colors rootbeer, orange, and gold/tan.  obviously the fly can be tied in a bazillion different colors.  the sky’s the limit which is the fun thing about tying.


the first time i fished the j.b.b. i knew it would be a fish cracker.  craig now agrees as do many others.  this once unloved fly is now among our most popular hawaii bonefish flies.


is it a crab? a shrimp? a mantis shrimp? a squid? cuttle fish? octopus? or a gobi?  i don't know the answer.  all i can say for sure is that  the jiggy bone bug is a fly that hawaii bonefish will put in their mouths.  so tie one up and tie one on, you too may discover a new favorite.  good times.





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