More on tarpon flies for the Yucatan with Doug Jeffries

More info on flies from Doug Jeffries after his November trip to The Tarpon Coast out of Campeche. This is all very good info!

Doug writes:
Regarding flies - we did use a few more this time than usual because we found a ton of fish loitering around on the grass flats outside the rio mouths and they seemed kind of picky. We also had a couple blatant refusals in the rios that caused us to switch flies. Sadly, they completely ignored my shrimp pattern and I had high hopes for it. Guess it becomes a bonefish fly next.

Doug's shrimp pattern
We tried the rattle fly, but I think the deer hair head caused it to float too high. I think I caught one fish on it.

Doug' s version of the deer hair deceiver

Raul's version of the deer hair deceiver
Regarding flies, yellow with a red hackle collar was probably the best producer this trip. All black was a very close second, especially in the rios. We did use more flies with lead barbell or bead chain eyes this time. It seemed like getting the fly 12 - 18 inches deep worked better.  After the last day I opened my box for Raul and Fernando to choose a few and they took all the yellow & red and interestingly took most of the San Felipe Specials.

Marco Ruz Ceballo developed the San Felipe Special.  I remember on my very first trip to Tarpon Caye you described a fly for me that had a deer hair spun head, clipped close, with a hackle wound through it.  The wings splayed outward.  I think my first versions had the entire shank spun in deer hair and they didn't work well.  Marco showed me his fly and I tied up a bunch using his gear that trip.

The other thing I learned on that trip that has stuck with me ever since was how much better the Gamakatsu hooks stuck.  I had tied all my flies on Mustads and lost 80% of my fish on the jump.  I recall a big fish, guessed at 30lbs., that ate outside one of the rios and I lost it on the third jump.  Marco had been using Gamakatsu hooks so the flies I tied under his tutelage were on Gamas.  And I don't think I lost a fish after that.  I learned what a truly sharp hook feels like.

Anyway, here's a picture of a San Felipe Special.  The wings splay out and the grizzly feather on the outside is intentionally about half to 2/3's as long as the rest of the wing.  The deer hair keeps the fly in the surface film and with a retrieve of short, fast, 4 - 6 inch strips, it looks like a frog kicking across the rio.  The fish in Campeche haven't been enticed by the San Felipe Special as the fish over at Tarpon Caye.  But the guides took all but one of those flies from my box.