Bendback Minnow Fly Step-by-Step

Bendback Minnow Fly Step-by-Step:

Much like Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver, the Bend Back is more a style of tying than one specific fly.  Owing its name to an altered (bent) hook shank, this pattern rides hook point up and has been proven as an effective, weedless option in a wide array of settings.  Primarily known as a saltwater pattern (and credited to Chico Fernandez per one source), Lefty Kreh suggests this pattern can actually be attributed to southern largemouth fisherman in his “The Professionals’ Favorite Flies.”

In this angler’s case, the pattern is being stocked in hopes of encountering some snook among the denser mangrove habitats of coastal Costa Rica.  The final resting place of many a fly, mangrove habitats demand weedless presentations.  And I’m hoping these will be up to the challenge.

Gamakatsu SP113L3H (#4-1/0) Danville MonoMaterials Flashabou
Materials Bucktail (Olive over White)Materials Krystal Flash (Pearl) Stick-on (Color & Size to Match pattern)
Materials UV Resin

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Bendback Minnow Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Substitutions Abound – As stated in the intro, the Bend Back is more a style of tying than defined pattern.  With that in mind, be sure to not only substitute, but experiment, with various material combinations when tying this fly.  Want a thicker profile?  Substitute that wire or flash body for some variety of Chenille?  Want a slightly different motion to the wing?  Swap out that bucktail for craft fur or some other variety of synthetic fiber.  Possible combinations are fairly endless.
  2. Take Care Not to Over-bend – When it comes time to bend your first few hooks, consider drawing a line on a white sheet of paper.  After bending the hook, place it on the paper with the hook eye lying on top of, and parallel to, the line.   If the line intersects your hook somewhere along the bend, you’re good!  If it passes nearer the hook point (or fails to intersect your hook at all), then you’ve gone to far.  In the later case, place the hook back in your pliers and gently bend back the other way.  After a few tries, you should have a feel for the appropriate bend.

Proof of Concept

While I’ve yet to prove this pattern, it very nearly proved the hero of my recent Costa Rica trip.

   Less than half an hour left to fish on my final morning, I swapped my small olive crab pattern for a bendback.  While the crab had succeeded in enticing one Golden Trevally the prior afternoon, it had been rejected repeatedly this morning.  Given the prevalence of small sardines near the shore, I decided to see if perhaps a bendback would be more appealing.  As luck would have it, it was.

Lunch quickly approaching, I spotted a lone Golden Trevally cruising in the direction of the pier.  Leading the fish by a few feet and allowing the fly to settle to the appropriate depth, I began striping line.  To my surprise and delight, the fish immediately turned and inhaled the fly.  Somewhat in disbelief, I paused a moment too long.  And, in that fraction of a moment, the fish expelled the fly.

Tight Line!


Bendback Minnow Fly Step-by-Step
Species Caught on Bendback Minnow Fly to Date:
  1. Golden Trevally (almost…)

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2 thoughts on “Bendback Minnow Fly Step-by-Step

    1. Thanks, Darrell. As mentioned it was originally utilized by largemouth anglers in weedy lakes and ponds, but it really is at its best over a shallow grass flat or among the mangrove roots.

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