Fly of the Month: McVay’s Gotcha

Fly of the Month: McVay’s Gotcha

The history behind Jim McVay's Gotcha fly is almost a cliché. Years ago, McVay snipped some tan carpet fibers from an Andros Island taxi cab and used them to tie a small shrimp pattern for bonefish. The bonefish loved the fly, and each time McVay hooked a bone, his guide would say, "Gotcha." The McVay Gotcha was born. Unlike some other patterns that share a colorful history, but lack real fish-catching ability, the Gotcha has become a legendary bonefish fly. Not only that, it's a great redfish fly too.

The shape and action of the Gotcha are subtle enough to trick fish in bright clear water, yet bold enough to be seen in cloudy water. Like the Clouser and the nearly-identical Crazy Charlie, the Gotcha incorporates bead chain or dumbbell eyes so it casts well in the wind and rides with the hook in the upright weedless position.

The Gotcha is a great fly for the flats and will often trick redfish that get stuck in a picky mode. There is something about those fluid sparkling blonde fibers redfish find irresistible. By far the most popular color is tan with pink thread, but the Gotcha can also be tied in browns and oranges for off-color water. The standard Gotcha pattern is tied with nickel eyes. I used black eyes on the pattern shown here to better provide the shrimp illusion. In reality, black eyes may not provide any measurable improvement to the pattern, I just like the way they look.


Hook- Mustad 34007 or equivalent #4 to #8
Thread- Hot Pink monocord
Tail- Several strands of flash
Body- Braided flash
Eyes- Bead chain or barbell
Back- Tan/blonde craft fur
Back Flash- Krystal Flash