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Bonefish Camp

Here's the spot if you are looking for that salty piece of land. Fly lists, trip reports and tidbits of good travel information can be found here in Bonefish Camp.

Bonefish Travel Tips

Joel La Follette - Friday, July 04, 2014

1. When traveling, always wear clothes you can fish in. You never know when the rest of you gear will show up.

2. Always carry your rods, reels with lines, leaders and tippets, wading boots, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, medicine, camera, rain jacket and an extra change of clothes on the airplane. You should try to carry on anything that you can’t live without that is allowed by the airlines.

3. Since some flies and tools cannot be carried on the plane they must be checked. If checking two pieces of luggage put a box of flies in each or have a companion check one in theirs.

4. Carry along some favorite snack foods like beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or granola bars. Stash more in your checked bags. When leaving the country make sure the packages are unopened. Customs is funny about that sort of thing.

5. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay healthy when traveling. If bottled water is not available, bring along a backpacking type filter and use it! Water bottles with built in filters work too.

6. A small portable cooler is a great place to keep your snacks, drinks, camera, extra flies and sunscreen while out on the water. Make sure your camera is in a zip lock bag in case the cooler gets wet. Take plenty of zip locks!

7. Your cash, passport and wallet should be locked up at the lodge or, if that is not an option, on your person. I keep mine in a zip lock bag in my hip pack. Carry plenty of $5.00 and $10.00 for tipping your guides. Also plan on leaving shirts, tackle and other goodies for your guides after trip is over. A new pair of sunglasses make a great gift at the beginning of the week and might help your guide spot that big fish!

8 . Handi-wipes. The best things to carry for cleaning the sunscreen, sweat, and salt off your face. Great for cleaning up before lunch on the flats or on an airplane. Can also be used for…. well, you’ll figure it out. Get the soft packs and carry them in all of your bags. I use three or four packages on a weeklong trip.

9. Make up a small “fix anything kit” to make repairs to glasses, rods, reels, lines, etc. (see my list posted elsewhere on the web site)

10. Chill. Remember you’re on island time and things don’t always go as planned. A good attitude will make even the largest set-back seem like part of the adventure. Don’t be an “Ugly American”, respect the people, their country and culture. Ask questions, share stories, have fun. Leave a little bit of yourself and take home a little of the adventure in your heart. 

                                           

Bonefish Basics Fly List

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, August 05, 2009

There are as many bonefish fly patterns used today as there are anglers using them. With that many options it’s hard to choose what you need for your trip unless you’ve been there before or know someone that has. If this is your first time bonefishing or twentieth, here’s a list of the flies that should be in your box no matter where you’re heading. Start with this selection and add specialty patterns as needed. Remember you need to have a good selection of sizes and sink rates. This is what I call…

BONEFISH BASICS

Mini-Puff                                                       size 4, 6       Old standby, still works

Tan Puff                                                       sizes 6, 8      My personal favorite

Marabou Shrimp                                            sizes 2, 6      Tan

Crazy Charlie                                                 sizes 6, 8      Pearl, pink, tan, root-beer

George Bush                                                 size 6, 8       Stupid name, CIS without Dazl Eyes 

Clouser Minnow                                             size 2-6        Tan/White, Gray/White

Clouser Minnow w/bead chain eyes                  size 4-6        Same colors, add a weed guard  

Gotcha                                                         sizes 2, 4, 6  Lead and bead chain eyes

Gold Gotcha                                                  sizes 2, 4, 6  My killer Abaco fly

Christmas Island Special                                 sizes 4, 6, 8  Orange, Pearlescent, Pink

These are the basics. You could travel anywhere and catch fish with these patterns. You’ll want a good selection of sizes and sink rates. Make sure you have plenty for your fishing partner too! Now take a look at suggestions for specific destinations.

Yucatan Fly List

Joel La Follette - Monday, November 10, 2008

If you’ve stocked your box with the Bonefish Basics, just add a few of the following flies for your trip to the Yucatan. This destination requires smaller patterns in sizes 6 and 8, mostly 8s. I like the Tan Puff as a go to fly, but also find small Tan or Olive Clousers tyed with bead chain eyes to be handy. 

Swimming Shrimp                                         size 6           Good for deeper, darker flats

Super Swimming Shrimp                                sizes 8          

Tan Mini Shrimp                                            size 8           Must have

Tan Mini Shrimp w/o bead chain                     size 8            

JT Special                                                     size 8           A marabou mess, but it works

Turd                                                               size 8           Cool Name

Cuzan Special                                                size 6           Very good on mud flats

Bonefish Bitters                                size 8           Hermit or Olive

Exuma Mini Puff                                            size 4           Tan or Pink

Marabou Shrimp                           sizes 6         Tan

Golden Mantis Shrimp                                    size 4-8         Another “go to” fly

Grassy Wonder                                              size 8           Odd looking fly for the turtle grass

You’ll also want to have a few Permit flies handy as this is a fantastic location for a shot at the Holy Grail of fly angling. Here are a few good patterns that should do the trick.

Rag Head Crab, Tan                                        size 2-6

Blue Crab                                                      size 2

Fleeing Crab                                                  size 6

Del Brown’s Merkin                                          sizes 1/0, 2

This last pattern has caught more Permit than any fly tyed for them. If you tye your own, have a few tyed very small on good hooks.

Take along a few Tarpon and streamer flies for Tarpon, Snook, Jacks and Cuda. Here’s a short list.  Hook sizes should be from 1 to 3/0

Keys style Tarpon flies in the following colors:   

Orange/Grizzly

Furnace/Squirrel

Black Death

Cockroach

Lefty’s Deceiver                          Red/Yellow, Red/White, Black

Cuda Needlefish fly

Bonefish Tackle List

Joel La Follette - Sunday, February 18, 2007

There are two rules to remember when packing for any adventure. Keep it simple and only take what you REALLY NEED. Of course knowing what you’ll need on any trip is in some cases a “best guess” but with experience you’ll find you can get by with much less stuff. Here’s a few things you shouldn’t forget when heading to the Bonefish flats...

Rods and Reels  (carry them on with you)

Flies    (check out my fly selections for suggestions elsewhere)

Leaders and tippet   (I use 0x and 1 x fluorocarbon) 

Nippers, pliers, knot tyer and a knife

Waterproof gear bag and Flats pack w/water bottle

Sunglasses w/cleaning kit

Camera

Flash light

Fix-Anything Kit   (see Fix-Anything Kit post)

First-Aid Kit

Sunscreen and lip balm

Handy wipes

Hat and sun gloves

Flats boots and wet wading socks

Zip-off wading pants  (two pairs)

Long Sleeve fishing shirts  (two or three)

Fast drying underwear   (two or three pairs)

Travel clothes

Passport   (carry a few photo copies in your bags)

Cash    (most places won’t take cards or checks)

A good book or two

Flip-flops and a good attitude

Casa Blanca

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 16, 2006

It’s always nice to back up a northern steelheading adventure with a trip to a warmer location. I find that tropical weather helps get my joints working again. Upon returning from BC I had a very short time to tye a few flies, pack my bonefishing gear, switch a few fly lines and fly off to Mexico for a visit to the world famous Casa Blanca Bonefish Lodge. Sometimes it’s tough being me.

Casa Blanca is located on a small island just inside the barrier reef on the southern end on Ascension Bay on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. When you see what the owners have created on this secluded patch of sand you’ll understand why Casa Blanca is one of the premier bonefishing lodges in world. I also heard the food is good.

Traveling with me on this adventure was a mix of first time bonefishers, some fairly new to the game of saltwater angling and a few non-fishing spousal units. Under normal conditions Ascension Bay gives up her secrets easily making it a perfect destination for anglers of varying skill levels. Schools of happy Bonefish, an abundant Permit population, plenty of cruising Tarpon and sneaky Snook make for a regular saltwater smorgasbord of fishing fun. I said under normal conditions. We didn’t have normal conditions. The freaky weather that brought early snow storms to the east coast brought dark clouds and stormy skies to this otherwise tropical paradise. Good thing the food was good.

Although fishing conditions were not the best, they were challenging. Bonefish were nervous and headed for cover even if you thought about making a cast. Tarpon and Snook hung close to cover and used it to their advantage. All in all it was a test of angler against the elements and the fish. It made better anglers of us all. Tough fishing does that. You have to bring your A game.

Fortunately Casa Blanca is one of the most comfortable places to wait out bad weather that there is. I’ve been to a few bonefish lodges that would have been unbearable under the same conditions. We all had comfortable rooms to nap or read before dinner after a hard day on the flats. The staff made sure we also had plenty of food and drink at all times. The service was second to none, and the food was great. Did I mention that?

OK so it wasn’t the most successful fishing trip I’ve ever had. I had a great time and made a few new friends. I caught some nice fish and fought many more. I made some great casts under difficult conditions that many anglers couldn’t have made. I brought my A game. Well, most of the time. I also hit a lot of fish right on the old bean when the wind grabbed my cast. That didn’t work. Pedro my guide never complained when I launched a cast into the mangroves and he had to pole over so I could retrieve my fly while Mr. Tarpon and Snook snickered. Oh well, at least the food was good. Now if the pilot can just figure out how to land on the runway...


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