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    The Best Flies to Land Milkfish

    11 February 2019

    When it comes to targeting Milkfish on the fly, we can honestly say we know what we’re talking about as the origins of targeting this species on the fly stem back to Alphonse Island and the St. François lagoon where these techniques were first pioneered and developed. As such we have endlessly honed these techniques, and have tried and tested the best of the best to ensure a successful catch of these big-eyed devils.

    Targeting Milkfish, also known as Chanos Chanos, is very different from most other flats species you find in the waters of the Indian Ocean. They are not predatory and therefore the fly shouldn’t be imitating anything trying to get away, but rather a stationary particle of algae or plankton. Fly choice is also dictated by the behaviour of the fish while they are feeding instead of the area in which you are fishing.

    For targeting Milkfish on the fly, we need flies that mimic the food source of the Milkfish. For this reason, we have chosen the following flies with a few distinct similarities, namely the Milky Dream, Wayne’s Milky Magic and the Pillow Talk with tungsten eyes.


    1. Milkfish Fly – Milky Dream

    The combination of an olive, green and chartreuse bodies of these flies imitate the algae that the Milkies feed on and will definitely catch their big eyes. To entice them a bit more, a couple of strands of crystal UV flash can be added to resemble the copepods that live around the algae beds.

    Milkfish fly - Milky dream
    Milkfish fly – Milky dream


    2. Milkfish Fly – Wayne’s Milky Magic

    This fly is similar to our Milky Dream fly but has a couple of wraps of pink chenille that is added to the head of the fly to mimic the egg-sack of a variety of crustaceans that has been caught up in the algae, creating a more protein-rich meal in the eyes of the Milkfish.


    Best fly for milkfish - Waynes Milky Magic
    Best fly for Milkfish – Waynes Milky Magic


    3. Milkfish Fly – Pillow Talk

    With regards to the Pillow Talk fly, the water conditions (shallow, deep, fast-flowing, etc.) will determine the type of eye to use for this popular fly..

    Best fly for Milkfish – Pillow Talk



    A few additional things to note when targeting Milkfish:

    • The fly placement is crucial in order to get the correct depth and in front of as many fish as possible
    • Keep movement to a minimum – long, slow strips should only occur when slack needs to be taken off the fly-line
    • When fishing on the outside, no extra weight is required as the fish are feeding on or just sub-surface thus the fly doesn’t need to sink deep
    • Many Milkies targeted in the Seychelles islands are larger than 90cm, so all patterns should be tied on strong size 2 hooks (preferably Gamakatsu SL12S)
    • The weighting of the fly is very important – on the flats, it is crucial that the fly sights on or just a few centimetres above the bottom where the fish will be feeding.

    There you have it – the best flies and technique to target Milkfish. For more tips and details on the species, you can also have a look at Fly Fishing for Milkfish.


    Photographers of milkfish caught in these flies