Thirteen odd years ago when I first visited Christmas island, everybody used 8 and 9 wt rods for bone fish and anyone using something like 6wt were looked upon as being a bit strange. Black hooks and black barbell eyes were taboo and flies with rubber legs usually received comments like “nice fly” just prior to the legs being unceremoniously removed by the guide.
A brown waving tail attracted my interest…..”What’s that I said?” Guide’s response ……”Trigger Fish, don’t waste your time casting at them as they seldom take a fly.”
How times have changed. A large number of fishermen now use five and six weight rods. Flies tied on black hooks are used with no objections from the guides. As more fishermen expressed interest in chasing Triggers, techniques were developed that resulted in the catch rates improving. Suitable flies, apart from the normal crazy charlie and gotcha bonefish flies, are now becoming more sophisticated. Crab and shrimp patterns that incorporate orange hotspots and rubber legs as attractors are the goto flies for anyone with “trigger fever”.
A number of years ago, one of the first flies I experimented with was the CF Bongo. The CF, standing for Ceel-Furr, was a great synthetic fibre but it is now unfortunately no longer available. In addition, forming the dubbing brush, dubbing the body and trimming to shape took time. The sourcing of a alternative material to use and a consequential change to the tying sequence to suit, has made this variation quick and easy to tie.
The pattern variation was used for the first time this year and it accounted for numerous trigger fish. On occasions, even though it is a fairly large fly compared to the normal ones used, it also proved to be to irresistible to bonefish when coupled with a slow, short retrieve.
There could be any number of reasons why it works so well. The rubber legs float and move in the current and when stripped. The orange hotspots are UV sensitive and there are theories that fish can see in that spectrum. It is different from the vast majority of flies that are presented to them and the fish could perceive it as a more substantial meal. Probably the main reason is that, with a lot of fishing pressure, anything that looks more like a close representation to their actual prey source receives better attention.
Hook – #2 Gamakatsu SL12s
Thread – orange flat waxed
Eyes – small black barbell
Flash – rootbeer or yellow krystalflash
Legs – red and black or tan with orange tips
Hotspot – orange finn raccoon
Body – orange straggle, cinnamon UV straggle
Wing – fine tan coloured hair
Lay a base of thread along the hook shank.
Attach flash at hook bend and wrap slightly around the bend.
Attach a small piece of hotspot material.
Tie eyes at the start of the bend
Turn hook over. Attach legs behind the eyes.
Take a small bunch of fine hair and tie in on top of legs.
Tie in straggle body material, move thread to the hook eye and then wrap body material up to the hook eye, tie off, trim excess.
Attach a small clump of hair behind the hook eye so that it extends just past the hook bend. This wing will ensure that the fly turns over to be hook point up even in shallow water. Whip finish and apply some head cement to the wraps.