Monday, August 19, 2013

My Top 5 Bonefish Flies: #5 GOTCHA

I am often asked what are my favorite flies for various bonefish destinations. I'm asked about the Yucatan, the Seychelles, Belize and Los Roques, but because the fishery can be more technical and fly selection therefore more important, I'm especially asked what are my top flies, the ones you gotta have, for the Bahamas.  So I'm going to pick my Top 5 Bahamas Bonefish Flies starting with #5 and working my way to #1. 
This choice for #5 is a no-brainer. Along with the Crazy Charlie, the Gotcha is THE most recognized bonefish fly in existence. If the truth be told, the Gotcha is really just a variation on the Crazy Charlie. The Gotcha is a Charlie tied with a pink nose and a subtle pink undertone that makes it one of the most effective bonefish patterns ever devised. Most boneheads consider it an absolutely essential pattern and you'll find few experienced anglers without at least a few Gotchas with them on a trip. 

The Original Gotcha

Hook: Mustad 34007, Tiemco 811S or Gamakatsu SL11 3H. Size variations: #2 - #8.

Thread: Gotcha pink Danville flat waxed nylon

Eyes: Stainless Steel Bead Chain Size Medium
Tail: Pearlescent Mylar Tubing size Medium or Krystal Flash for a more sparse tie
Body: Pearl Body Braid (Diamond Braid, or Flat Diamond Braid with pink floss underbody)
Wing: Craft Fur Golden Tan.
Flash: Pearl Crystal Flash over wing.
Nose: Gotcha pink floss or pink thread 
Find more info on this classic pattern here:

My Bahamas box
The story of its creation goes something like this:
Ted McVay and his son, Jim, were on their way to the Andros Island Bonefish Club in a taxi. Jim snipped some yellow carpet fibers from the floor of the taxi and used these fibers to tie a new fly. Then they gave it the fish test. They were immediately met with great success. Every time a fish hit the fly, guide Rupert Leadon would say, "Gotcha." The rest is, as they say, history.

You can tie the fly with heavy lead eyes for deep water or without eyes (blind) for tailing fish. The classic pattern uses the standard bead-chain version. If you are tying a dozen Gotchas, most locations work best with this ratio: 3 with lead eyes, 6 with bead chain eyes and 3 with no eyes (blind). This covers all water depth situations. Some anglers tie their Gotchas with extremely long wings, (called Super Gotchas) or with grizzly hackle tips over the wing (Grizzly Gotcha). Another variation that works well is to tie it in reverse fashion so the eyes are at the bend of the hook and the pink nose becomes a pink heart.

Blind Gotcha

Blind Grizzly Gotcha

Reverse tied Gotcha

Although the original pattern works well, it has a bit too much flash for my tastes. I like it a bit toned down and tied with some different materials than with the original pattern. Here are some variations and improvements on the pattern that I prefer:

Black Gotcha: One of my favorite variations of this pattern is to tie the fly on black hook like a Gamakatsu SL45 bonefish hook and use black bead-chain or lead eyes. This example below is tied with bunny instead of craft fur. Bunny gives the fly more movement and makes the fly look more alive. I often tie a version with an orange nose too which seems to work great on mottled bottoms. 

Black Gotcha
Rubber Legs Gotcha: The rubber legs, like bunny fur, really jazz up this pattern and add motion to the fly even when it is not being stripped. 

Tan Rubber Legs Gotcha

White Rubber Legs Gotcha

Becks Silli-legs Gotcha: This is an Umpqua pattern that really works well and many anglers consider it as a staple in their arsenal.

Becks Silli-legs Gotcha

Hot legs Gotcha: This fly really gets a bones attention and can turn a bone on the move.

Hot legs Gotcha
Bunny GotchaPersonally, I don't tie any Gotchas with craft fur anymore. Now I only use bunny. It moves, creates a halo effect, lands softly and looks more alive.

Bunny Gotcha with orange nose

Bunny Gotcha with pink nose

The following flies are tied by S. S. Flies. They've upped the ante by using both fox fur on their traditional Gotchas and pimped out the classic Simran Gotcha pattern to make it much more successful. If you are interested in buying these flies, give me a call (800-211-8530) or e-mail me at 
I'll give you a code for a discount and make appropriate color and size suggestions depending on the island you are fishing.

Traditional Simran

Super Sim Ran: This pattern takes the traditional Simran and adds prominent antenna and a slightly translucent body to let the base color come through. They have also added two colors (gray and golden olive), that are not typically available, but are highly effective. 

Super Sim Ran

Super Sim Ran

Foxy GotchaThe Foxy Gotcha is the classic Gotcha with a foxtail wing instead of the usual synthetic. Atlantic salmon fishermen have relied on the movement and lightweight bulk of dyed fox for years; these characteristics translate perfectly to flats fishing. The bodies of Foxy Gotchas are tied carefully so the underbody color just bleeds through resulting in a tan Gotcha with just a hint of pink. Also available in olive and chartreuse. 
Again, If you are interested in buying these flies, give me a call (800-211-8530) or e-mail me at 

Foxy Gotcha

Foxy Gotcha

Blind Foxy Gotcha: Same materials, no eyes with a weed guard for very shallow water.

Blind Foxy Gotcha


  1. This is about the best selection of bonefish flies out there at great prices and suberb quality. I know all the guys who work there and do projects with them often! They are really super dudes.

  2. hi, what is the different between Gotcha and crazy charlie?

  3. hi, what is the different between Gotcha and crazy charlie?

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