Fly Angler's OnLine "Fly of the Week #10"

McVay Gotcha

(November 3rd-9th, 1997)

McVay Gotcha

From Bonefish Fly Patterns
by Dick Brown
photo by Carol Wright
published by Lyons & Bufford, Publishers ©1996


Mustad 3407 or 34007; sizes 2, 4.


Flourescent or Gotcha Pink Danville Flat Waxed Nylon.


1/8" bead chain on size 4, or 5/32" bead chain on size 2, or 1/50oz. (5/32") lead barbells for fast sink.


Pearl Mylar tubing.


Pearl Diamond Braid.


Yellow Krystal flash over blond craft fur.

Tying Notes:

The tail is as long as (or longer than) the body; the wing length reaches past the tail. McVay also ties the fly with an orange wing for dark flats (Fish Fuzz No 13 Goldfish Orange). Author's note: I've found that a gotcha with an auburn brown wing (Mystic Bay No. 19 Rust) can work extremely well on mangrove flats and dark bottoms.

Jim McVay, (creator of this fly) "is a retired oil well driller and a fixture of the Andros Island Bonefish Club. He first tied this pattern while enroute to Andros, us ing yellow carpet fibers he snipped out of the back of a Cargill Creek-bound taxicab. He later found a shade of blond craft fur that worked equally well. Jim estimates he has taken thousands of bonefish on this mirrored miracle, and credits it with more t hirty-to fifty-fish days than he can remember. Many anglers consider it one of the best bonefish patterns ever devised."

Ted McVay, Jim's son, modifies the Gotcha when fishing calm, deep waters, (in particular, those around Andros' Moxey Creek and Loggerhead Cay) for big fish that are often mixed in with schools so they have to be pulled out. He tie s the Gotcha with a thinner wing than his father for fishing such calm conditions because he says the heavy dressing seems to soak up too much water, making it splat too much on impact.

According to Jim McVay, "I think Rupert Leadon [of the Andros Island Bonefish Club] named this pattern. Every time one of us would throw the fly and a fish would hit it, he would say 'Gotcha.' After a while, he'd said it so many t imes, it just seemed like that was the right name for it."

"Tied with 1/8" or 3/16" bead chain, this is a good medium-depth shrimp pattern, and with lead eyes it is often effective in deeper water. It is very productive in low light and - suprisingly - also in bright light. Apparently, sm all-faceted materials make this bright fly less prone to "bright-light spooking" than shinier Charlies. The Gotcha is especially effective in Andros, the Berry Island, and other Bahamas locations. It should be in every flats angler's box."

Quoted excerpts from Bonefish Fly Patterns, by Dick Brown, published by Lyons and Burford. Our thanks for allowing us to use them.
Tying Instructions:

Position the eyes on the shank and allow enough room for the oversized pink nose. On a size 4 hook, I put them 3/16 to 1/4 inch behind the hook eye. Tie in the eyes, securing them to the shank by wrapping the thread in a figure-eight path around both the bead chain and the shank. Then wrap a "donut" in a horizontal plane underneath the bead-chain eyes, binding all wraps tight. Super glue them if you're compulsive.

Behind the eyes, attached a flattened piece of pearlescent Mylar tubing onto the top of the shank, forming an underbody. The tubing should extend one full shank length beyond the bend to form the tail. Brush out the frayed ends of th e Mylar fibers.

Tie in pearlescent Diamond Braid on top of the Mylar tubing, binding it along the shank as a second underbody. Then wind pink thread heavily over the underbody, to that a pink hue will show through after the body is wrapped. Next, wi nd the Diamond Braid forward to the eyes to form the body. Figure-eight wrap at the eyes and trim off.

Inverting the fly, tie in a craft fur wing. In length, it should extend to the end of tail.

Tie in a dozen Krystal Flash fibers too match the length of the wing. Invert. Build up the head with pink thread and whip-finish.

Tying instructions from Bonefish Fly Patterns, by Dick Brown, published by Lyons and Burford ©1996.

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