A few weeks ago we discussed worms as a food source for our favorite flats dwellers. This week we wanted to follow up with how the food sources on flats differer between locations around the world. Our bonefish in Andros South receive very little pressure compared to the inhabitants of let’s say the Keys and also have different available prey on which they feed. There are bonefish all over the world but that doesn’t mean you should be bringing the same flies with you on every trip. Here is a quick run down on how bonefish flies differ between a few iconic locations.
Belize – The flats of Belize are filled with smaller shrimp and crabs. The food choice the resident bone’s seem to prefer is a small shrimp. Flies like Crazy Charlies and Gotcha’s will get the job done here, but have them tied smaller and lighter than you would with the same patterns for Andros. And when fishing Belize, always a good idea to have a few crab flies incase a permit shows up!
Florida Keys – Crab and shrimp but ask most Key’s guides and they will tell you their bonefish prefer small crab patterns over shrimp imitations. Here the flats are deep so make sure to have some heavy lead eyes on. The large bonefish that inhabit these waters will also prey on small fish so good to come prepared with a couple baitfish patterns as well.
Christmas Island – Mostly smaller shrimp. Worms are also an excellent choice. Regardless, fish on this Atoll seem to prefer small, sparsely tied flies. The appropriately named CXI special should be well represented in your fly box but don’t tie with too much flash. Talk to the guides at the famous Ikari House and they will tell you no more than 4 stands of flash. Successful patterns here will be more similar to Belize flies than flies for the Keys or Andros.
The Bahamas – Obviously a big area here with a range of different flats and amounts of pressure. One thing all Bahamian bonefish love is shrimp. And if you are fishing South Andros in particular, large shrimp. Those small circular holes in mounds that you see throughout our flats? Those are the burrows of mantis shrimp. The low amount of pressure our fish see means you can use larger, brighter (orange is a favorite) colors and thing like rubber legs. We like big flies, #2 and #4, but the shallow flats mean bead chain eyes are often all the weight you will need.
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