I’ve been thinking about getting into fly fishing

I’ve been thinking about getting into fly fishing. Aaahhhh, those are special words to hear to a fly shop owner. On the one hand, you know you’re in for a “groundhog day” type of conversation which can last anywhere from one to three hours, depending on if a fly casting lesson is part of the overall explanation of the art. On the other hand, you become the messenger for one of the most beautiful and rewarding sports you could ever take up…..you have the honor of changing someone’s life.

In the larger scope of someone’s life, taking up fly fishing probably won’t be the most important thing they’ve ever done, but I have witnessed behavioral changes and changes in attitude worth noting. “I sold all my huntin gear” said one young convert not long after he had crossed over some have divorced over the sport. I think what the essence of fly fishing amounts to is a progressive disease. It starts out with “It’s just fun to cast”. It really IS fun to cast and you can do it over and over and it’s still fun to cast no matter how long you do it. Even to this day, 30 years later, it’s still fun to cast!

Next….. you actually catch your first fish on a fly rod. Then you begin to understand what the fuss is all about!

The next momentous occasion is leaving all, I mean ALL of your spin gear at home, departing from the boat ramp with only a boat full of determination and your fly rod, never to look back. Braid and Gulp become words of your past.

Rod and Reel Tarpon

Life goes on after this as you catch more and more fish. You check off the species of fish one by one that you’ve caught on your new rod. You develop new friends, join the local fly club for God’s sake and maybe even convert some of your old bait fishing buddies into devotees of the “long rod”. Worst of all you really don’t care anymore how many fish you catch. You just can’t wait to get out on the water again and take up the challenge of “the hunt, the cast and fooling the fish into eating your fly”. It just never gets old.

But the very best part of becoming a fly fisherman is thinking about all of the new rods, reels and tackle you’re going to need and how you’re going to hide them from your wife.

The world’s best bonefish fly

For years now the consensus among professional guides in the Bahamas for the best bonefsh fly has been the “Gotcha”. A famous fly with a great story to go with it. I’ve always heard it this way…. When Ted McVay and his son Jim were staying at the Andros Island Bonefish Club, Jim snipped some strands of carpet from the interior of their taxi as they were heading to the lodge and used them to tie a new fly. Every time a bonefish ate the fly, guide Rupert Leadon would say, “Gotcha.”

Capt. Vaughn's Gotcha

My fly box is loaded with these incredibly dependable flies and there are many, many colors now available since Ted tied the original, but the tan/pearl color works best for me. I always bring size 2 through 8 with bead chain eyes and another full set with lead eyes, and remember, the “sink rate” goal is for the bonefish fly to hit the bottom in two to three seconds no matter what the water depth is. No eyes required for tailers in really shallow water.

At the Black Fly Bonefish Club in Abaco, we’re thinking of naming our official welcoming drink the “Gotcha”, we just haven’t figured out what the ingredients should be. Two things we do know….(1) after two drinks it should live up to it’s name and (2) there should be rum involved.

The other candidate for world’s best bonefish fly, in my opinion, would be Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp….Bob Veverka that is. Bob’s quest for the missing “go to fly” yielded this tan beauty that we sell in the Black Fly Outfitter by the dozens. I use 4’s mostly but we sell size 2 and 6 just as well. On some Bahamian islands that I have been to, namely Mayaguana, the mantis shrimp is the only thing they’ll eat consistently. The lodges on Andros are big believers in this fly also.

This gives me an idea….send me your favorite choices and we’ll build the ultimate bonefish fly box. Send your suggestions to: blackflyoutfitter@gmail.com