Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When Sidney Offers Bonefishing Advice, It's Good to Listen!

We bonefishermen often focus solely on what patterns to bring, but here is some uncomplicated and solid advice from one of the most experienced and knowledgeable guides in the Bahamas. Sid offers some good reminders for the experienced angler and a few important bits of advice for those just starting out. For me, sometimes it's good to go back to the basics! 

When Sidney offers advice, it's good to listen!
This morning I was talking with Sidney Thomas, the head guide at Water Cay Lodge. We started talking about flies and fly patterns.

I asked him what were the most productive bonefish flies this past season and he said "Orange and pink for cloudy days with a bit of gold flash and tan with gold flash for sunny days." (Sid obviously likes gold flash!)

Take away #1: Gold flash is good.

Suddenly Sid stopped talking, thought for a second, then said "The truth is, any fly will work if the fisherman thinks it will work."

Sid went on, "It really doesn't matter that much. Guys fish differently with a fly they have confidence in. I've seen two guys switch to what their partner is fishing and they both still catch fish. They just switched flies with each other. Funny!" 

Take away #2: Fish a fly you believe in.

I pressed on asking Sid what flies to bring and he said, "The important thing is to have an assortment from big flies like #1's to small flies like #6's. So have flies, big and small, with no eyes, bead chain eyes, heavier lead eyes. Big patterns, small patterns, heavy patterns, unweighted patterns.

Take away #3: Bring a variety of flies.

"I see guys come with hundreds of great flies in many different colors and sizes, but they all have bead chain eyes. Man, that won't work. You got to have a variety of sizes  and  weights."

Then Sid said, "But no matter what you bring, make sure your flies are tied on high quality hooks. You wouldn't believe how many cheap hooks I see straightened out by big bonefish and permit. Guys spend all this time tying beautiful flies, but then they tie them on cheap hooks. NOT GOOD!"

Then Sid sighed and said, "They often pay for that."

He then added, "We had a 32 inch at the fork... 23" around bone caught this year. Thank God the guy's fly was tied on a good hook. A cheap hook would have straightened-out on the first run."

Take away #4: Tie with good hooks.

Good hooks are important with these guys too!


  1. I love the way Sid (Ezra and Greg too) explains things. If he wrote a book I'd buy it just to read his turn of phrase.

  2. I agree Doug. I had to work a bit to get this info out of Sid, but it was worth it!

  3. What brands are strong hooks? I use Mustad Signature Series Salt Water Light Game hooks in sizes 2-6, and Gamikatsu Bonefish for size 8.

  4. I like the Gamikatsu for sure. Regarding the Mustads, the 34007's open up if you put enough pressure on them.
    Probably like you, I've had pretty good luck with Mustad's Signature Series BigGame Light hooks. These are inexpensive, sharp and fairly stout…and not stainless… so if you lose a fish, it will rust out in short order... unlike the stainless models.