New Bonefish Fly Designs From Jeff Rodenberg

Last fall, Angling Destinations hosted a group of bonefishermen to Water Cay Lodge on Grand Bahama Island. We were a group of flats fanatics and our trip was sensational. We each experienced many wonderful moments and got to spend a lot of time practicing the effective techniques the "Water Cay School of Bonefishing" preaches. I'm sure all of us would agree it was a tremendous learning experience and some of us have decades of experience bone fishing!

At least half of this group are also very experienced and quite skilled fly tiers. I've written about Doug Jeffries on this blog. Doug's fly designs has been published in Fly Fishing in Salt Waters magazine and he is an expert tier. Another trip member, Jeff Rodenberg, is diehard tier too, just a bit younger and a bit less experienced than Doug.

The Crew from October

Doug Jeffries

Jeff Rodenberg

Last week, I received an e-mail from Jeff. He is on his way to Crooked Island next week with his daughter. Jeff has been busy tying flies for his trip. He has been translating much of what he learned last fall at Water Cay creating some new fly designs for his upcoming trip. I thought it would be great to follow his progress from design to trip results and see if his new flies work on Crooked Island.

Over the course of the next few posts, Jeff will describe the ideas and concepts behind the creation of some of the patterns (seen in his box below) and then will report on their success from Crooked Island.

I applaud Jeff for sharing his ideas. Jeff has taken many of my top five bonefish flies, incorporated Doug's ideas as well as those from many others, and come up with his own refinements. My advice is to pay attention! Jeff's fly designs are distilled from the hard won experiences of some very good bone fishermen.

What follows is Jeff's initial e-mail to me:

Hey Scott,

Check out the attached photo. With only a week to go, I’m at the same time proud of myself for being frugal in selection, and a little bit scared, of the one box and the only one box, of flies I’ll be taking to Crooked Island next week. As you well know, I’m a fly-geek who enjoys nothing more than tying up a bunch for a trip to see if I can find “the One”…This will represent the fewest sheer number of flies that I have ever taken on a trip….it’s scary man, scary… 

With this box, I don’t have a single “standard” tie that you will find in any book of fly recipes. Every single one contains at least one (in some cases several) modifications, in the hopes that it will cross the line into the irresistible. Which is to say, I know how it feels to be a dog standing near the treat jar with that eternal optimism that with a wag of the tail or a cocking of an ear, it might induce its human to reach into that jar and produce the delectable. In the same way, I’m optimistic that a wag of my fly-tying tail or cock of my fly-tying ear, will produce a delectable bonefish treat - a reel singing over a white sand flat...

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this whole business of bonefishing has transformed itself over the years into something, that at least for me, goes beyond the simple “I want to catch lots and big”. It has become as much about enjoying that dog-like optimism that my flies will work, the opportunity to have venues that allow evaluation of same, all of it played out within an appreciation for your continued support in booking trips for me to indulge that Jones…

Jeff's Crooked Island Box

So… I’m hoping to find enough time over the next week to send a couple descriptions of some of the individual ties and then we’ll have some fun evaluating what worked about them and what didn’t…