Larry Dahlberg Bonefish fly


Indi "Ira" Jones
I watched an episode of Hunt for Big Fish with Larry Dahlberg and he highligted a fly I think he called the Bonefish Cruncher. My internet results have turned up squat as far as a picture a recipe.

Anyone out there have any clue?



Active Member
I have never tied, fished or heard of this fly, but I Googled "Dahlberg bone crusher fly" and discovered this response in another fly fishing forum from 2003 (post from Mattb of that forum). I hope it's ok to reproduce.

I did some more searching and found out that the originator of the bonecrusher-Larry Dahlberg, actually has a web page with a message board. I posted my question about the fly there and got this response via email from the man himself:

Actually the bonecrusher is more of a concept than a pattern.
I got the idea while watching bones struggle to locate flies after they’d come to rest on the bottom, only to pick them up again when they moved, then lose them again when they stopped.
I was reminded of the first plastic worms, which sank and laid flat on the bottom versus the later creation of the floating worm. Fisherman quickly learned that a floating worm with lead weight at its nose was visible to the fish from a greater distance and also easier to pick up. It all but replaced all other designs.
The vertical profile can be applied to any combination of fur and feathers. It is my experience that any pattern tied this way catches more bones and permit than standard designs.

I use a Gamakatsu 15R hook-size six to as big as I can get away with.

**(optional) bend hook shank appx 1/8” behind eye on size 4 hook at 15 degrees toward point.)

Secure lead eyes that are wide enough and heavy enough to keep hook upright about 1/8” behind hook eye.. Do not use so much lead it scares the fish. Best to have range to fish various depths and maintain desired sink speed. Place eyes on hook so point rides up. Best to locate hook underside of eyes and just ahead of bend (if you bent the hook) for stability.

Make body of Flashabou Dubbing with brass wire dubbing loop from rear of fly. Start midway in bend of hook.

Tie in 4 strands of fluorescent tipped Flashabou Legs (they are buoyant) Cut brightly colored tips so they are no longer than 1/4”. Secure to hook leaving legs 1-2” long depending on size of fly so two point forward and two point backward.

Use wing made of either wool of Fuzzy Fiber just slightly shorter than legs.

Tie facing forward.

Wrap legs and wing with thread (like a parachute style dryfly) so they stand vertical.

It’s usually best to match the fly to the bottom color.

It really works. Try it in a glass. Then try it in the ocean.
In testing it I have let it lie motionless where I knew bones would swim by and watched them go out of their way 6 feet to pick it up, even though it was absolutely motionless the entire time! I could not repeat that with any of the other flies I tried, and you can believe me that I tried ever tried and true traditional.

The bonecrusher is not so much a pattern as it is a different fuselage option.

Good luck, hope this helps. I’m really busy for the next few months, but maybe I can post some photos at a later date if this info is insufficient.

Good luck!
Here is a link to one that Larry described as "the closest" to his:

Larry empahsized to "make the fly stay upright and the wing to stay vertical in the water".

There are a few posts on his "ask Larry" fourm about this fly.


Active Member
depending on the bottom structure I tie flies (adapted from Lafontaines leech) that leaves a good cloud when it moves. the cloud is visible from a greater distance. I think he called it his strip leech. It basically has two mono legs that balance it and dig in when you strip. I do a basically do a wool crab with the legs.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I knew guys on this forum would do a better job than me with their internet searches.

Thanks for the info and searching.

I like the concept and I'm certain I'll apply it to not only my bonefish flies but also to my bass and trout flies as well. In fact I'm thinking of a Rocky Ford Scud pattern that might work.


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