I’ve started to take this personally! This evening I had nine shots at Chanos chanos.

Jono Shales with a magnificent Milky (photo courtesy of Exmouth Fly Fishing)

And nothing. Denied every time.

Drifting the wind lanes is a patient game. It’s so easy to get distracted by the huge amount of fish activity in these naturally food rich areas. Eight of the nine swim-bys happened late in the afternoon – the sun was well down and made watching my fly below the surface absolutely impossible. A lot of guess work and an even greater amount of hope was applied to every cast – it didn’t pay off.
A clear and typical windlane with a Milky I thought (for a second) I may have hooked! (photo: Anne Davis)
Obviously the go to fly is Arno’s Milky Dream. Developed by Arno Matthee on Alphonse it (and he) did the so called impossible: catch Milkfish regularly.
I’ve been tying a fair amount of these bad boys but I don’t have sink rate right for the windlane Milkies. The more I read the more I realise that this is the crucial element. An interesting note comes from that online bible of saltwater fish: Fishbase.org. Apart from soft algae – which I would presume is the basis for Arno’s Milky Dream – Milkfish also eat cyanobacteria, small benthic invertebrates and, how’s this now!, even pelagic fish eggs and larvae!

Cyanobacteria is what causes algae blooms and often is a bright green or blue-green colour. This explains the success that has been had with bright green chartreuse weed flies and why Arno’s Milky Dream is often seen with chartreuse loop.
Small benthic invertabrates are the tiny chaps that live in the mud and sediment of lagoons and flats areas. This explains why you sometimes see smaller Milkies in shallow water eating stuff off the bottom at random. And also why some guys have caught them on really small Charlies.
But I’m really interested in the last one: the fish eggs. Maybe a Milky dream with suspended plastic or glass beads as fish eggs. Or just a clump of fish eggs. I’ll be in the windlane with mask and snorkel tomorrow evening planning and plotting.
These Windlane Milkies seem to act like they down at Alphonse. While they do stick those odd mouths of theirs out the water filtering away, they don’t daisy-chain and they don’t come buy in shoals of hundreds. They cruise the windlanes in shoals of anything from 3 to 30 fish and although they are visibly feeding – sometimes even swirling and doubling back for a quick second look – they don’t hang around for pudding.
My emails bugging the gurus are primed and ready, the tying bench is set out and my thinking cap is on. I am absolutely frothing for another shot tomorrow… and the next day… and the next day… until I come tight!
I thought this was it!!!