When most people think of bonefish flies, they generally think of patterns imitating small shrimp, crabs, or potentially baitfish – all of which are common prey for bonefish.
However, bonefish have a surprisingly diverse diet and many anglers are surprised to learn that a large portion of their diet is actually made up of many different species of naturally occurring marine worms.
This is certainly no secret. In fact, saltwater anglers have known for generations that many gamefish feed on worms – just take the famous palolo worm hatch for tarpon in the Florida Keys. Regardless, the vast majority of bonefish flies imitate none other than shrimp, crabs, or baitfish.. So we ask, why not worms?
The answer came to us by our friend Bill Hegberg who joined us for a week this season at Andros South. Bill came armed with the materials to tie worm patterns of all shapes and colors off of the same hunch – if bonefish eat worms, and we tie a fly that looks like a worm, then maybe a bonefish will eat our fly.. Whoa.
We’re really glad he did, because based on his numbers, the worm fly works, and it works well.
A big thanks to Bill for having the courage to try something new. The wooly bugger probably seemed pretty off the wall at first too, but that’s how we all learn, and that’s all part of the fun!