Sunday Classic / 4 Tips For Stocking Bonefish Flies

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IF YOU’RE PLANNING YOUR FIRST BONEFISH ADVENTURE IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU STOCK YOUR SALTWATER FLY BOX WITH A WELL ROUNDED SELECTION OF FLY PATTERNS.

Although bonefish aren’t known for being super selective feeders, stocking the right flies and knowing which pattern to fish in different situations can make a big difference in your success on the water. By far the most important element in bonefishing is fly presentation. Without that, you’re going to miss a lot of shots. Putting that aspect aside with the notion that you understand basic bonefish presentation, let’s talk about some tips for purchasing and tying bonefish flies for your upcoming bonefish trip.

Tip # 1 – Bonefish Flies Should Ride Hook Point Up
Because the mouths of bonefish are located on the bottom of the head and they generally feed down on their prey in most cases, it’s very important that you purchase or tie bonefish flies that ride hook point up when possible. Fishing flies that ride hook point up can increase your hookup rate when bonefish eat, and it will also help to naturally cut down on your flies from snagging on the bottom during the retrieve. Gaze your eyes into a veterans bonefish fly box and you’ll find that most of the fly patterns are tied hook point up, but walk into a store that sells saltwater fly patterns and you’ll be amazed how many fly patterns aren’t tied this way. When you have the choice to tie or purchase your bonefish flies hook point up, I recommend you do so.

Tip # 2 – Bonefish Flies Need to Have Good Movement
Using fly tying materials that have good movement in the water for your bonefish flies is a another way to help you find success. Rabbit strips, marabou, craft fur, and rubber legs are all good examples of tying materials that come to life in the water. I stated before that most bonefish aren’t picky, the key word here is most, but in some situations having a little extra life-like movement in your flies can make a big difference. For instance, a large school of bonefish are going to be less picky on fly pattern choice with competition for food on their minds than a solo bonefish swimming across the flats. Tying or buying bonefish flies that incorporate tying materials that breath well in the water should still provide subtle movement in the water even when you’re not retrieving your flies.

Tip # 3 – Tie Your Favorite Bonefish Flies in Different Weights
All bonefish flats and fishing conditions/situations you’ll encounter in saltwater will not be the same. At times,

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Saturday Shoutout / Road To Nowhere

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The Florida Everglades is a mysterious fishery.

Stories and rumors are all most anglers know about the Everglades. Few of us have the opportunity to fish there. Fewer still are willing to do what it takes. In this video Dan Decibel does the work and the fishing for us. I’ll warn you, this is going to seriously make you want to plan a trip.

THE ROAD TO NOWHERE

Check out more of Dan’s videos here.

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Get Your Strip Set Right Every Time: Video

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Remembering to strip set is the hardest thing for anglers new to saltwater fly fishing.

It’s absolutely crucial in saltwater angling to use a strip set. If you lift the tip of your rod at all, known as trout setting, you will not get the hook into the hard mouth of any saltwater fish. It’s hard for beginners though. When the fish eats, muscle memory takes over and the body does what it’s used to doing. If you’re a trout angler, that’s a trout set.

More saltwater fish are lost as a result of weak hook sets than anything else. When I teach my bonefish schools I work with students to be sure they have the pressure right. I hold the line and have them set the hook several times, telling them when they are using the right amount of force. It’s like a firm handshake. Enough to say your serious but not enough to start a fight.

Even with this practice it’s hard to fight the muscle memory and put it all together when the fish eats. I tell my students to say “strip set” out loud every time they strip the fly. It feels silly but I have never seen it fail. If you say “strip set” you will strip set. It’s a great device to keep your head in the game.

Watch this video to see me make a good strip set and get some pointers on getting it right.

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Is Flat Where It’s At?

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By Brian Kozminski

Flat-Brim~ Does it actually improve your ‘sixth’ Fishy sense?

While fishing last fall with John Schmidt of Au Sable Angler, he implored me to open my eyes and give the ‘flat-brim’ a try. Over the winter, I won a great Rep Your Water cap from WindKnots and Tangled Lines, so I kept the brim in its preferred lay flat style. I’m giving it a go to see if all the hype is true. It is rumored you can see into the water better with a flat brim, and of course a quality pair of Polarized Sunglasses (see Native Eyewear, Smith Optics, and Costa). I had to take this investigation a step further. I was going to make myself a deliberate test subject for the next several months. I am alternating my hat choice and keeping a fish log to catalog how many fish were caught with what headwear.

There are relatively few scientific studies I could base my hypothesis on, just my pure gut feelings. I do believe that there is some commonality with a particular fly working best for each angler on the exact same river and evening. The fly that is your favorite is your Go-To fly, because in past experiences, it has always provided beneficial results, and you often fish it more because of these experiences, hence it is your favorite fly. Much like my favorite hat, it’s fit, it’s style and many memories of great nights catching multiple fish are why it is and shall be a favorite. I have had to retire many favorite fishing hats, they have just been played out and didn’t provide the protection and catch rates they once promised.

A few weeks back,

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Tie Twice the Flies in Half the Time

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If you tie flies and you’re looking for a way to increase your fly output, I’ve got a great fly tying tip for you today. I personally don’t have the luxury of extra time on my hands these days with running two companies and managing my family time. When my fly boxes start getting bare, I have to restock them as fast as possible. For years, I’ve been an advanced fly tier but I’ve never been one of those guys who can rip out a dozen flies in thirty minutes. I take that back, I can bust out a dozen san juan worms in thirty minutes, but that goes for most of us. For more complex fly patterns, it can be very beneficial to us if we take the time to get organized prior to wrapping the thread on the hook.

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Baby Tarpon, Little Monsters

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Tarpon are the king of Sport fish, even when they’re only ten pounds.

Standing on the bow of a flats boat at dawn, looking into a perfectly symmetrical sunrise reflecting on the glass-calm water, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. When a pair of juvenile tarpon roll, they are so vivid that I’m momentarily surprised when their reflection does not appear in the sky. Rugged and chrome bright, they are perfect miniatures of their Goliath brethren. They may be only ten or twenty pounds but my heart beats just as quickly for them as it might for a world record fish.

When I first started tarpon fishing I had no interest in babies. I think that’s a common thing. I wanted to catch a ‘real tarpon’ and that meant a fish over a hundred pounds. Those monsters are truly amazing creatures. There’s no rush I know like hooking one. The moment when that first behemoth eats your fly and you bury the hook for all you’re worth and suddenly think,

“Oh shit! I’ve pissed it off. WTF am I going to do now?”
For years that was all of tarpon fishing to me, along with the brutal learning curve, the heartbreak of fickle conditions, the blistered hands and sore shoulders. Then my buddy Joel Dickey talked me into going out early one glass-calm morning to fish for baby tarpon. I had no idea how cool these little monsters are.

They are a total anomaly. On the one hand, they are tarpon in every way that matters. Stern and striking to look at. They catch more air than the Romanian gymnastic team. Their mouths are just as hard as the adults, making hook sets a privilege, not a right, and they fight like Hell’s Angels. I’ve broken 10 weights on them. They are tarpon to the bone.

On the other hand, they are completely different from those sulking bruisers you find migrating up the beach. They are aggressive. They like the fly stripped hard. They are competitive with each other, often racing to the fly. They move and hunt in packs like bonefish. They will sometimes explode violently on a fly dropped right on their nose. They are boney little badasses in every way and a blast to catch on a fly. There is a reason tarpon anglers say “baby tarpon” with a tone of reverence.

THERE ARE A COUPLE OF WAYS TO TARGET BABY TARPON.

Early on calm mornings they can be found

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The Green River Below Flaming Gorge Is Where They Coined The Word Epic

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If you have never fished the Green River below Flaming Gorge, its time to check it out.

Located in the northeast corner of Utah, the Green River is one of the premier tailwaters in the country. The river flows through a beautiful red rock canyon with towering cliffs suspended high above the water and with close to 13,000 fish per mile its hard to have a bad day. The Green is best appreciated from a boat, but wade fisherman can also equally enjoy the river from the shore. There are three main sections of this tailwater. The A, B and C sections are separated by mere miles, but can fish very different depending on the time of year and Ill go through each section independently.

THE A SECTION.
At 7 miles in length this is a true tailwater, with consistent flows and gin clear cold water, bug life is a little limited in its diversity but the fish are always active. Midges, Baetis and Caddis are the primary insects but due to the arid climate, there are always a plethora of terrestrials in the summer. The Baetis hatches in the spring is both world famous and frustrating at the same time.
The river can be blanketed with bugs and it looks like its boiling with all the fish on the surface, but the fish are ultra picky. Going smaller with your tippet is always a good bet and switching from a dun to a cripple can sometimes be the ticket. About the second to third week of May we start seeing Cicadas. In my opinion, this is the best fishing in the country. 50 fish days can be the norm and 100 fish days happen from time to time. This is dry fly fishing at its pinnacle. Big bugs and big angry fish smack these monster terrestrials with a recklessness that will make your heart race. Having said that, cold weather and rain will put them down so look for multiple day of hot, sunny weather.
your planning on floating this section on your own, there are a few things to keep in mind. There is not a lot of whitewater, but there are two rapids in particular

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