The Milkfish is a lesser known species primarily because of its appearance in the world but is gaining popularity as a fly fishing target species for its fight, willingness to eat a fly and feeding habits. Milkfish is an Indo-Pacific ocean species that is vey similar to a bonefish in many ways. They are a little skittish, very fast, very strong and they eat flies. Milkfish are silver colored with large forked black tails and streamlined appearance, the look like silver torpedoes with a sizable forked caudal fin. They can grow to almost 6 feet (~1.8 meters) but are most often about 1-3 feet (1 meter) in length. They have no teeth and generally feed on invertebrates, algae and small fish in a very similar feeding habit as permit in open water and bonefish in the flats.
Indo-Pacific: along continental shelves and around islands, where temperatures are greater than 68° F (~20°C). Commonly seen in South Africa, Northern & Western Australia in throughout the Indo-Pacific. They span as far as Hawaii and the Marquesas but their numbers are not as plentiful, and even less to the north as far as Japan. They are reported as far south as Victoria, Australia however, Brisbane area in Queensland is probably the southern most point where fishing for them is not fruitless. Eastern Pacific: San Pedro, California all the way to the Galapagos Islands west of Ecuador.
How to Fish for Milkfish on a Fly
8-9 weight rods are used when fishing the flats for smaller milkfish. Same technique that is used for wading for bonefish is used for milkfish. Long leaders are necessary, casting in from of your target and leading the fish is optimal. Smaller flies are used, gotchas and small shrimp imitations are ideal. Fly fishing for juvenile milkfish is very similar to fly fishing for bonefish on the flats in the shallows.
We are in the process of adding more milkfish flies to the library of Fly Tying Videos, so keep checking back
Leche - Milkfish fly
Algae - Milkfish fly