The Bone-B-Que is the product of our own Biscayne Bay guide Capt. Dave Saddler’s (turtlegrasscharters.com) time on the water studying the habits of the giant bonefish that rove through the Bay. The Bone-B-Que started out as a modified bonefish slider and has evolved into a proven pattern not only for bonefish, but also for redfish, baby tarpon, permit, snook, seatrout and pretty much any species that enjoys a nice shrimp once in a while. From the longer tail that flutters in the current to the orange thread around the weed guard, every aspect of the Bone-B-Que is designed to catch the eye and trigger the feeding instincts of big Biscayne bonefish.
The Bone-B-Que is typically tied with size 5/32″ I-Ballz eyes to get the fly down to deeper bones in 12″-3ft of water, however it can be tied with bead chain eyes for shallow water tailers.
To start, take your tan thread and start your wraps just behind the eye of the hook. Wrap back to the gap of the hook, stop when your thread is just about in-line with the barb, then wrap back towards the front of the hook. Place your I-Balz about 1/8″ behind the eye of the hook to leave enough space in front of the eyes to tie in your weed guard later. Tie in the eyes using figure-8 wraps then secure the eyes with about 10 parachute wraps between the eyes and shank of the hook. Let your thread hang behind the eyes.
Prep your craft fur for the tail by creating 4 sparse bundles and merge them into 1 thick bundle. To do this stand the fur straight up and make one clean cut as close to the base of the fur as you can. Use your fingers to pull out the underfur from the bottom and the longest fibers from the top of the bundle. Lay the bundle on your tying table. Do this 3 times, stacking each bundle on top of the previous. If the butt section of the thick bundle you just made is uneven, cut it to give it a straight edge. Wrap your thread back to the bend of the hook. Place the bundle on top of the hook where the bottom end is somewhere near the middle of the hook shank. Make a few tight wraps forward to tie in the bundle. To avoid bulk, trim the fur that pushed up when you made your tight wraps. Then continue wrapping forward to completely cover the craft fur.
Pinch the end of the tail and gently pull it tight. Then take an orange or yellow marker and make about six vertical bars on both sides of the tail.
Take two strands of Krystal Flash and fold them in half. Hold the flash on top of the hook where the ends meet the ends of the craft fur. Make a couple wraps over the flash in the same spot you started tying in the craft fur. When you feel the flash is securely tied in, trim the excess flash in front of your wraps.
To create the collar, tie in the tip of your rabbit strip in the same spot you started to tie in the craft fur. At this point it is a good idea to lock your thread with a couple of half hitches and advance the thread forward.
Take the rabbit strip and palmer it one full rotation around the hook. Secure the collar by pulling back on the rabbit strip and make some tight wraps over the front of the collar. Trim the tag end of the rabbit strip as close to the shank of the hook as possible.
Now take the crustaceous brush and pull back on the fibers so the wire is exposed. Tie in the wire in front of the collar. This is another good time to make a couple half hitches so the fly doesn’t come undone while palmering. Advance the thread so it’s hanging right behind the eyes.
Palmer the crustaceous brush forward until the brush is right up against the back of the eyes. The key to a nice full body is to brush the fibers back as you go and to make your wraps as tight to each other as possible.
Tie in the tag end of the crustaceous brush as close to the back of the eyes as you can while trying your best to not catch any of the fibers from the body in your thread wraps. If you have a pair of hemostats or hackle pliers it helps to hang them from the tag end of the brush to keep tension while you tie it in.
When the tag end of your brush is securely tied in, make a couple of anchor wraps around the eyes to hold the thread. Let the thread hang off the eyes and cut off the tag end of the brush as close to the hook shank as possible. It’s a good idea to use an old pair of scissors when cutting the wire of the brush. Next, use a bodkin to pick out the fibers of the body so they stick out naturally. Pull back on the fibers and make a couple of wraps with your thread behind the eyes and in front of the body. Whip finish and cut your thread behind the eyes.
Break the good scissors back out because it’s time to trim the body. Capt. Saddler likes to use the eyes as his guide when trimming. Press the blade of the scissors tightly against the eyes and make straight cuts across the top and bottom of the body. You can do the same for the sides however, Capt. Saddler likes to use curved scissors and follow the curve of the eyes to give the sides a little rounder profile.
Be careful not to cut any of the rabbit collar when trimming the fibers.
Using orange thread to tie in the weed guard is just something big oceanside bonefish seem to have taken a liking to. Grab your orange thread and tie it in directly in front of the eyes. If you have a rotary vise it helps to flip the fly upside down at this point.
Take a piece of Mason mono about 2 1/2″ long, fold it in half and pinch it at the bend. Place the mono over the top of the hook so that the hook is in-between each prong of the weed guard. Make 8-10 wraps over the two prongs, behind the fold in the mono. Next pull both prongs towards the eye of the hook and make 8-10 wraps behind the prongs so they stand straight up.
Finish your Bone-B-Que by whip finishing with your knots in front of the weed guard. You may notice vestigial fibers still hanging from the crustaceous brush. As long as they’re not suffocating the rabbit collar it’s ok to leave them as they’ll only add to the fly’s movement in the water.