Mini Puffs by Jason Akl
Bonefish inhabit most of the world’s tropical waters and are revered by anglers as one of the ocean’s premier fly rod fish. This impressive reputation is not unfounded; bonefish display long powerful reel screeching runs coupled with a never-give-up attitude. As popular as these ghosts of the flats are, getting them to cooperate and take flies readily is not an easy task.
Bonefish dine on a wide variety of mollusks and crustaceans living on or near the oceans bottom. Incorporating fly patterns that imitate these types of aquatic critters into your fly box and fishing repertoire is a definite must for anglers looking to have a chance at catching quality fish in a days jaunt.
A good place to start for fly anglers chasing bones is the Mini Puff fly pattern. This versatile bonefish pattern is a good searching pattern to use when out on unfamiliar waters or when the going gets tough. The Mini Puff in all actuality does not look like one particular type of food source. Its success is based on its ability to resemble a wide variety of food sources that bonefish fancy. Tying these flies is not labor intensive so stocking up for a week of fishing can be done in just a few hours worth of work at the bench.
Whites, hot pinks, oranges and browns are the staple colors that traditionally work best but carrying a few multicolored combinations can get even the most fussy of fish to come in and take a second look. The Mini Puff might not look like the ideal fly for fishing topical waters with finicky fish but time and time again when all else fails the Mini Puff has saved the day.
Tie these flies in sizes 4 – 8.
Tying Instructions for the Mini Puff
Hook: Daiichi Salt size 8
Thread: Uni-Thread Size 6/0
Eyes: Painted Dumbbell Eyes
Tail: White Calf Tail/ Grizzly Hackle/ Green Krystal Flash
Step 1 – Start this fly by placing your hook into the vice securely and attaching the thread to the hook shank. Using figure eight thread wraps attach the eyes to the hook shank a little behind the hook eye. Clip four 2 inch strands of green krystal flash and tie them down to the hook shank behind the hook eye. These strands should extend past the end of the hook about the distance of the hook gape.
Step 2 – Clip and stack a small bunch of white calf tail so that the tips align with one another. Invert the hook with your vice and tie this small bunch of calf tail just behind the bead chain eyes. Onto the sides of this calf tail tie in two grizzly hackle tips (one per side, curvature facing out).
Step 3 – Clip and stack a second bunch of white calf tail and tie it onto the bottom of the hook shank but this time in front of the bead chain eyes. Cut a 3 inch section of orange vermille and tie it in between the bead chain eyes. Wrap the vermille around the eyes in a figure eight pattern creating a large round circular head for the fly. Once you are happy with the size and shape, tie off the vermille, clip the tag end then whip finish and cement the thread.