With fall bonefish destinations like the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, and Mexico just around the corner, it’s important to know what flies fish are taking, and where. Doug McKnight is Yellow Dog's Bahamas and Honduras program director and has fly fished extensively for bonefish throughout the Bahamas. A commercial fly tier, McKnight is well-known for his extraordinary fly tying capabilities and designing patterns that fish simply cannot resist. He was kind enough to share the five flies every bonefish angler should have in the Bahamas:
Doug McKnight's Fly Box - With shrimp being the primary meal of choice for bonefish, it's not surprising that the top four flies, and arguably the fifth, are shrimp imitations.
- Gotcha – Originally tied by Jim McVay, this is a must-have for any angler seeking bonefish. The fly imitates the mantis shrimp, which is abundant on the flats. Remember it's important to try and match the color of the fly to the color of the flat. Often the fly size of the Gotcha is larger in the Bahamas than other bonefish waters. For that reason, fly size should be anywhere between 2 to 6.
- Gotcha Clouser – Again in it's line with a shrimp imitation. But dumbell eyes are added giving the fly a slight baitfish appearance. The dumbbell eyes allow the fly to sink faster when in deeper waters. This fly does particularly well in Andros. Fly size should be between 4 and 8.
- Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp – Bob Veverka’s pattern is a necessity in every bonefish fly box. This is a killer. Size 6 is recommended.
- Enrico Puglisi’s Spawning Shrimp – When shrimp are spawning they sometimes display an orange egg sac and fish key in on it. This fly is recommended in sizes 1 and 2.
- McKnight’s Crimp – As the name would suggest, the fly is both a shrimp and a crab. The fly displays a lot of action; bonefish find them irresistible. Size 4 is recommended.
It should also be noted that McKnight’s Crimp, Gotcha Clouser, and the Gotcha can all pull double duty for permit as well.
Be sure to check out all of Yellow Dog’s programs in the Bahamas. Doug McKnight is the program director for the Bahamas and can answer any question about travel, fishing, dining, or fly selection.