Compared to most in the bonefishing world, the flies that we like to fish on South Andros tend to be an unusual combination of big and light. For anglers wanting to load up a fly box before their trip, that can make it a little hard to buy commercially available flies – most widely available bonefish flies are either light enough but too small (probably designed for places like Belize and Christmas Island), or big enough but too heavy (probably designed for the Florida Keys).
Here are 5 flies that are pretty widely available that will work great on South Andros Island.
- Tan Gotcha Yeah, we know, everybody knows about the Gotcha, and tan is a very popular color in a lot of places. What’s a little harder to find is the #2 size tied with bead chain eyes (not lead eyes) – that’s the one you want.
- Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp This fly is a great default option when you’re fishing a flat that has a mottled bottom, with some dark areas and some light areas. It’s got a relatively neutral coloration that seems to stick out enough but not too much. It’s really buggy looking, and it’s got those rubber legs that our fish love. #2 is the workhorse, and #4 is nice for shallower water.
- Solitude Para Vida Here’s the exception to the big fly rule. This fly in tan and #8 is a nice one to have in your box if you’re doing some inland wading – walking in to super-skinny water that might barely get your ankles wet. Fish in really shallow water are sensitive to heavy flies hitting the surface of the water, so an unweighted, very small fly is your go-to here.
- Idyl’s Woolly Crab When you’re fishing in deeper water (deeper for us means maybe 2-3 feet) and specifically targeting bigger fish, say on the West Side of South Andros, a crab pattern is a great option. This fly is tied with lead eyes, but that’s OK here for 2 reasons – the lead is necessary to get the relatively bulky body to sink…and you’re fishing this one in deeper water. Tan is good.
- Peterson Spawning Shrimp Our fish aren’t that picky, but there’s something about a spawning shrimp pattern than seems to drive them bonkers. Again, #2 is your go-to size. Note that, contrary to this description on the linked site, this fly is typically tied with small lead eyes (not bead chain eyes), which are necessary to make the relatively bulky fly ‘ride right’ when stripped.