Bumphead Parrotfish are the largest member of the parrotfish family, growing to a weight of 50 kilograms and reaching a length of 130 centimeters. Their bodies are brightly coloured with a mixture of navy blue and olive green. They have a hard, parrot like beak which they use to crush and eat coral. They also feed on invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps and coral worms. This particular member has a reddish bump on its forehead which is used to nock over coral heads to facilitate feeding. These huge bulbous foreheads become larger with age.
They ideally feed on flats that contain broken patches of turtle grass and hard coral holes which are filled with newly grown coral flowers. They are a very social species that finds safety in numbers. Shoals can vary anywhere between five to thirty fish. Bumpheads will always feed facing into the current, an important note to remember when targeting them. The shoal will typically cruise along the flat looking for a section with a coral bottom surrounded by broken turtle grass patches offering them the opportunity to feed on invertebrates. They inhabit the outer edges of coral, close to the surf zone and can also be found on the lower lying finger flats, which has good water movement.
The FlyCastaway guides where the first to catch this species on fly. The technique we use is a combination of upstream nymphing and swinging the fly. Gently place your cast upstream of the fish and using the current allow the fly to drift onto the fish. Presentation and line management are critical. Use a slow retrieve that keeps you in contact with the fly. Make sure the fly drifts right into the fishs immediate feeding area, as they will not move long distances to intercept their prey.
It is sometimes difficult to get a proper hook-up, because of the Bumpheads hard beak. Give him a second or two to pick up the fly and get it passed its beak, where the hook can find the fleshy sides of its mouth. These fish are big and incredibly strong so remember to keep your rod at a low angle at all times to insure maximum pressure on this fish. Presuming all goes to plan the fish should be ready to land. This is where the fun really begins. Hopefully there are two people to aid you in landing the fish as the cordal, unlike that of a GT is too thick to grab. We generally rugby tackle them, laugh if you want but hopefully soon youll get the opportunity to see what I mean.
- Fly Rod: Quick action 9 foot 9 or 10 wt fly rod. An accuracy and a soft presentation are important. The rod however also needs to be strong enough to handle the fishs size.
- Reel & Backing: Saltwater series reel that can hold 300 or more meters of 50 – 60lbs braid. The reels drag needs to be strong and smooth, offering protection against powerful runs on light tippet. A Bimini Twist to Double Surgions should be tied into the braid, following which the fly line and backing should be joined using the loop to loop method.
- Lines: Weight forward 9 10 weight saltwater floating line with 30lbs braided loops nail knotted on both ends.
- Leaders: 17 – 20lb 12ft fluorocarbon leader. The fluorocarbon offers excellent resistance against abrasion.
- Flies: Velcro Crabs tied in tan and white on Gamagkatsu No 2 – SC12S (Link to fly patterns and fly tying)
- Boots: A good quality thick rubber soled boot with ankle support.
- Gravel guards: A good idea to prevent sand penetrating your boots.
- Sunglasses: Dark amber or mirror blue grey lenses.
Before leaving on your trip you will be briefed in detail by the FlyCastaway guides as to exactly what fly patterns you are going to need and how you should prepare your tackle. For all our destinations we have compiled a comprehensive tackle list.