The Leggy Blond - Hawaiian Bonefish Fly (step-by-step)

Well I'm a month and a bit back from Hawaii now, and before I put away the saltwater tying materials I thought I would share the "killer fly" I used in Kona--the Leggy Blond.

I don't suppose it should be called a killer fly as almost all the big bruisers I hooked managed to shake off, break off or open the hooks I used. Still, it was the fly and sometimes the only fly that worked all over the west coast of the island (bottom permitting). It's loosely based on the "90%" fly developed by noted Oahu guide Oliver Owens, and other crazy charlie style patterns I've used on the islands.

Like most of my flies the construction is fairly simple: six materials including thread and hourglass eyes. I took my time on the one below, but you can crank them out fairly quickly with an in-line rotary if you're in a hurry.

Leggy Blond

  • Hook: #6-4 Mustad 3407, 34007, TMC811s, T800s or similar
  • Thread: White or tan 12/0 or 8/0, or invisible mending thread
  • Eyes: Gold medium hourglass w/ painted red or yellow eyes
  • Legs: Pearl perfect rubber (or medium to large rubber legs depending on fly size)
  • Body: Tan rayon 4-strand floss (two stands) or similar
  • Underwing: 4 Strands of rootbeer midge flash doubled
  • Wing: Ginger rabbit cut from zonker strip
  • Head: Thread coloured with permanent marker (optional)
  • Leg Markings: Brown permanent marker and red nail polish
  • Other: Superglue 

     Step 1: Tie-in thread

    Step 2: Tie-in hourglass eyes and secure with a drop of superglue. They should be "gold"--alternate colours can be used but I generally felt that the gold was key. The eye colour probably isn't as important as the metal, but I generally used red or yellow.

      Step 3: Turn the hook over, bring the thread forward and tie-in the rubber leg material. I tie it along the far top first before folding it back, securing it on the near-top such that the leg material doesn't overlap (as shown).

      Step 4: Secure the legs along the body, stopping just before the bend. Return the thread ahead of the eyes. Do not trim the legs at this point--it is easier to do this at the end.

      Step 5: Tie-in tan floss at the front of the body and wrap around the eyes and along the shank in two layers, returning to the front of the fly to tie-off. Depending on your timing you can coat the floss with brushable superglue.

      Step 6: Tie-in the flash underwing as per the leg material, folding the four strands to make eight for the completed wing. Trim to length.

      Step 7: Trim a bunch of ginger rabbit fur from the zonker strip and tie-in the wing. I like the mobility of rabbit, but getting long enough fur can be tricky in the larger sizes. Owens uses arctic fox.

      Step 8: Neatly finish the head and (optionally) colour it with an appropriate coloured permanent marker (rootbeer in this case).

      Step 9: Colour barring on the legs with a brown permanent marker, trim to the desired length and "paint" the tips with red nail polish.


      *nb: You can enlarge any of the above shots by clicking on the image.


      1. Awesome step by step! Gonna tie some of these up. You got a new follower

      2. Great fly Aaron and not dissimilar to prominent Aitutaki guide Itu Davey's #6 creation that landed me a 12lb.fish recently.With respect,I'm not surprised you lost good fish if you were using Mustad's 34007 and the TMC811S..both prone to bending and breaking.The 34007 replacement(S71SZ)is the go,along with their C68SS replacement tarpon hook,the 68ZS and the C70SD.I like Daiichi's 2456 and Gama's SL45 as well.
        Peter Prideaux(Australia)

      3. You're right about the hooks. The TMC fared better than the Mustads, but it was only near the end of the trip that I made the switch. The problem wasn't the hooks at this point, but the leader strength. I've easily controlled 20+ pound salmon with as little as 15lb test, but working the bones in the tight space I had to work with gave no margin for error and I should have stepped up appropriately. I'm still learning the hard way with respect to these powerful fish.

      4. Finally landed my first O'io (aka Bonefish) on this fly yesterday. My trip's done as far as I'm concerned (LOL).

        Taking Peter's advice, I switched up to the Mustad C68zs. Like they say in Oz... no worries! I used a number 6, with 5/16th gold eyes. Magic!

        Thanks for the heads-up,