Mantis shrimp flies are a highly effective pattern when targeting permit and bonefish in the Bahamas, Belize, and Mexico. These large crustaceans are a major food source for both species, and imitations of mantis shrimp can be incredibly effective in tricking these elusive fish into biting.
Where to Fish Mantis Shrimp Flies
A seasoned angler, who has fished for various species around the world, can attest to the unique set of challenges presented by each destination. In the Bahamas, the clear water and wariness of the fish make it a true test of skill and patience. However, the reward of catching a large permit or bonefish in the Bahamas is unmatched. On the other hand, Central America offers a bit of a different challenge as permit and bonefish are abundant but not always as large as those caught in the Bahamas, but often easier to catch. While it's true that not all anglers will give the same credit for a permit caught in Central America as they will for one caught in the Bahamas, this is a personal preference and should not detract from the enjoyment and satisfaction of catching a permit or bonefish on fly.
How to Fish Mantis Shrimp Flies
When fishing for permit and bonefish, it's important to use a mantis shrimp fly that closely resembles the natural prey. This means using a fly that is the right size, color, and shape, and that has the right action in the water. Two effective patterns for permit and bonefish are the "Crazy Charlie" and the "Gotcha." Both flies are tied with natural materials, and their segmented bodies give them a lifelike appearance and action in the water.
When to Fish Mantis Shrimp Flies
In addition to using the right fly, it's also important to pay attention to the tides and the water conditions. These fish are often found in shallow water and they tend to feed during incoming tides when the water is clear. This is especially important in the Bahamas where the visibility of the water can make or break your chances of catching a fish.
The thrill of catching permit and bonefish on fly is a true test of skill and patience. Using mantis shrimp flies can increase the chances of success, but it's also important to pay attention to the conditions and to use the right fly. And, at the end of the day, what matters most is the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of the sport.