The Usual: Best Bonefish Fly

The best bonefish fly I’ve ever fished. Period. It’s caught bones from Cayman to the Bahamas to the Florida Keys, because it looks and acts like a live shrimp. Credit due: it’s basically an upside down Vaverka’s Mantis Shrimp, with a few tweaks. But, it doesn’t fish like a Mantis Shrimp. Use continuous twitches—1 to 2 inches—to keep it suspended above turtle grass. Or, sloooow, 6-inch pulls work too. Over sand fish it like a Charlie—strip, stop and watch for the pickup. It’s a pain to tie, but worth every minute at the vise. Also, it was just featured in the New Edition of Dick Brown’s Bonefish Fly Patterns—a must have book for any serious bonefish angler.

One of our go-to bonefish flies for Cayman, the first time I cast the Usual at a Florida Keys bonefish—just off the famed Shell Key bank—it was inhaled by a 30+ inch bone in under a second. One twitch and, bang! It suddenly became obvious why hunting monster bones from a solo kayak was a very stupid idea: you can’t reel and paddle simultaneously. I could only watch as my backing dwindled until the inevitable “pop”. Ah, well, at least I knew the fly worked.

Hook : #6 Mustad Signature Big Game
Thread : Gotcha/Shrimp Pink or Rust
Weight : Small Bead-Chain (inverted)
Mouth : Bunny Fur, Natural or Pink
Wing : Craft Fur, Sand/Tan
Eyes : Burnt Mono
Legs : Silli-Legs, Pumpkin
Body : Craft Fur, Dubbed “Underfur”
Weed-Guard : 20-lb Mono Prong
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