Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Work In Progress

Fly fishing for musky is growing very quickly.  Whether it be river or lake, more and more anglers are starting to chase this toothy predator.  September is a prime month for chasing musky with flies as the fish have started feeding heavily for the coming winter and prey species have reached their maximum size.  Flies this time of year can range from around 6 inches to 16 inches depending on your locale and the forage base of the waters you are fishing.  Here are several examples of flies used on my recent Michigan adventure. 
To give an idea of the size of the flies, the length of the box shown here is 14 inches.  The bottom fly is tied on a #2/0 hook, the top two on #5/0.  The flies need to have flash, movement, push water to make"noise" and help attract fish, but most of all need to castable.  A 9-wt or 10-wt. rod is the norm for extended periods of casting.  Favorite fly color varies by location, but black with a visible contrasting color is a good starting point.
I have settled on 80 pound flurocarbon as a bite tippet when specifically targeting musky. It is just easier to use than wire which requires more work to rig.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Musky Quest

I had the very recent pleasure to spend several days in the UP of Michigan with my good friends Capts. Kevin Feenstra and Jon Ray.  Both are top-notch Michigan guides looking for alternatives to the salmon-mania of September on the lower peninsula.  The search was undertaken for the apex predator of the Great Lakes area- Esox masquinongy
With 10-weights and oversized streamers in hand, miles of water were covered.  Savage strikes kept us on our guard at all times.  There were explosions to top-water patterns, lightning fast green-gold flashes to stripped flies, and several rocket-like attacks from below where Esox totally cleared the water in an attempt to kill our offerings of flash, feather, and fur.

A number of fish were hooked and fought to boatside where they were netted, photographed, unhooked, and quickly released to recover and, hopefully, be encountered again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Correction to Previous Post

I stand corrected!  It has been pointed out to me by a couple of fishy friends that Kevin Feenstra'a fish is actually a channel catfish, not a flathead.  So this turns into a big channel cat, instead of a small flathead.  Thanks John and Lou for pointing out this error.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Flat Cat on a Fly

Michigan river guide, Capt. Kevin Feenstra holds an uncommon fly rod species he caught recently.
This 12 pound flathead catfish took a crayfish pattern that Capt. KF was fishing on the upper Muskegon River.  Feenstra's wife Jane, netted the fish for him after quite a battle on a 7-wt.  The fish was then photographed and released.

Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are one of the largest North Amercican catfish species.  They can reach lengths in excess of five feet, weigh over 120 pounds, and have a life span of over 20 years.  Feenstra's catch is just a youngster in the flathead world.  Their native range of distribution is the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River basins.  They are found into North Dakota, east to the Appalachians, west to Arizona and south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico.

Flatheads are voracious carnivores with a preference for live prey.  The young are cannibalistic which has precluded their use as a commercial aquaculture species.