Sunday Classic / Let Your Guide Decide

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Sparkles Makes the Call  Photo by Louis Cahill

Sparkles Makes the Call Photo by Louis Cahill

It’s crazy to me but I see it all the time. Guys will spend a fortune traveling to some far flung fishing destination and when they get out on the boat they’ll tie on the fly the guy in the shop at home recommended instead of asking their local guide.

Guides behave differently in different locations. A Florida Keys guide would never let you tie on a fly from your box with out approving it first. He’d more likely just cut it off and tie on one of his own, but guides in other places can be a lot more low key. In the Bahamas for example the guides are very laid back and if a client ties on a fly, they will likely not question it. They of course have an opinion, an informed one at that, and if you ask for it you’ll get it.

I was on the boat one day with, Andros South guide, Jose Sands and an angler who will remain nameless. This fellow is a great fisherman and a guide at home. He had selected a fly from his box and when the time came made a perfect presentation to a huge bonefish. The fish refused the fly.

He looked back at Jose and said, “He didn’t like that, what do they want?

It’s a hell of a time to ask.” Jose replied.

If your transporting your rod to the boat rigged, then by all means, tie on a fly but don’t even think of showing it to a fish with out first showing it to your guide. He fishes this water every day and he knows what will work and what will not. You may be a bad ass at home, but this is his water. Show the man, or woman, your box.

If you’d like to join me on one of my Bonefish Schools this year, there are a couple of spots still open, including a last minute cancelation for South Andros Nov. 12-18 . We’d love to have you. follow these links to get more info on Abaco and South Andros and G&G Hosted Trips, or email me at to reserve your spot.

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Let Your Guide Decide

  1. I always ask the guide what flies I should tie. Then I arrive with boxes of flies and the guide chooses. If I don’t have all of the colours and sizes covered the guide will have it covered. A lot of the flies I use on a trip will be left with the guide. Flies are about 1.5% of the cost of a weeks trip and are written off the day they are tied.

  2. Gosh, I seem to recall some guy in Argentina who insisted on using big-ass streamers contrary to the guide’s advice. Of course, he caught a bunch of big fish. Let’s see….who was that guy?

  3. Very good advice. I recall my first (of many) trips to Christmas Island. I had boxes of freshly tied flies which I showed to my guide. He went through them and thoughtfully chose one and tied it on. It wasn’t the first I would have chose, but it worked exceptionally well! That night, I turned 6 boxes of flies into 2 and haven’t touched the remainder since. Have caught piles of bones and to this day still tie most of my bonefish flies like his “guide” flies that he had stashed into a baggy and kept in his pocket. I learned so much from those guys!
    One other thing, I used to guide and always desperatly wanted to catch fish for my customers. When I was in a certain spot on a particular tide, it was because I was 90% certain fish would show up! If I only had $10 from everyone who suggested fishing might be better on the other side of the inlet, or somewhere else, I’d be a rich man. But honestly I was always in a spot for a reason; IMO it was the best place to catch fish on that tide! (Wish I could say it always worked out, but as I patiently explained to my customers, we were fishing (and not necessarily always catching). So if hiring a guide, let them chose the fly and the location! Your vacation will be better – after all, why did you hire them to start with?

  4. Anglers defy Josie’s choice of flies or casting instructions at their mortal peril! That man can be brutal if you miss a shot. I can’t imagine being so bold as to tie on a fly that Mr. Outlaw hadn’t pre-approved!

  5. in the Turneffe Islands about 30 years ago the hot bonefish flies were size 8 green krystal flash sparsely tied, for both body and wing. I twisted the flash to make a slightly larger segmented body and tied the ends in as the wing- no separate body and wing, just continuous strands of krystal flash. I tied hundreds more of these in different colors and sizes weighted and unweighted. not only for spooky bones but bunch of other species, for customers of my shop over the years and everyone caught fish on them. I was lazy and never sent the pattern to Umpqua or Rainys/ Mc Kenzie etc. Maybe I should do this tonight!
    BTW, I should probably write an article or do a video on flies that are simple to tie, use very few different materials and catch lots and lots of fish.

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