Super Flies

Super Flies

Super Flies

First, a quick lesson: when it's time to pluck a tarpon, bonefish or permit pattern from your fly box, three features matter most: the fly's action, how it sinks and settles, and the bait it imitates. Soft materials, such as rabbit fur and marabou, move better underwater and result in good action. Landing noise is important in shallow or calm water, so lightweight hooks, light eyes and soft or buoyant materials will help the fly splash down without spooking fish. As for food, permit crave crabs, bonefish binge on shrimp, but they'll fall for a crab as well, and tarpon forage on a variety of baitfish as well as shrimp and crabs. If you're still staring blankly at your flats fly box, go with one of my favorites below. They may not be magic bullets, but I promise you won't be shooting blanks.Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

Tarpon
(1) Apte Too: This fly casts well and lends itself to many variations. A tail of saddle hackle or a rabbit fur strip and a front section of squirrel or marabou gives the fly great action with a medium sink rate""perfect for casting to fish lower in the water column.
Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

(2) Toad: Nope, this isn't a largemouth bass fly, but it's sure to dupe tarpon quicker than you can say, ribbit. The toad looks alive, sinks slowly and has a great action when worked with short strips, making it ideal for laid up tarpon holding near the surface.Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

(3) Enrico's Peanut Butter: Enrico Puglisi named his fly as a play on "peanut bunker"¿""and because so many fish find it tempting. The fly's darting action mimics the swimming motion of baitfish, and it's easy to cast if you need to size up to match big baits.Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

Bonefish
(1) Eric's Spawning Shrimp: A pattern that works anywhere, Eric Peterson's fly matches shrimp in spawning colors and lands quietly. Even big bones seem to rush this one, taking it as it drops or slurping it off the bottom. It's one of my all-time favorites.
Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

(2) Bonefish Scampi: I like this pattern because it has great action during a slow retrieve, and the rabbit fur and rubber antennae suggest movement as the fly settles or is sitting. Bigger, heavier eyes will help if you're fishing on a deeper flat.Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

(3) Red Bone Fluff: There are many variations to this chunky fly, but the key ingredient is rabbit fur, which pulsates when the angler employs short strips. One of my go-to patterns whenever I'm fishing a grassy flat, this fly lands lightly and sinks slowly.D. L. Goddard
Super Flies

Super Flies

Permit
(1) Borski's Chernobyl Crab: Tim Borski's large crab comes alive in the water and settles to the bottom with a good sink rate. Once the fly is sitting still on the bottom, any water movement will start its fibers undulating and give it life.
Tim Borski
Super Flies

Super Flies

(2) Del Brown's Merkin: This fly literally changed permit fishing with fly tackle. Brown, who landed more than 500 permit, six of which were records, in his lifetime, credited the fly's success to the way it sank: a quick, slanting descent to the bottom.Manfred Koh
Super Flies

Super Flies

(3) Enrico's EP Crab: This productive pattern has a secret weapon: it traps air in its synthetic body material. As the fly falls, and while it sits on the bottom, it releases the air, emitting several small bubbles, which Puglisi believes attract curious permit.Manfred Koh