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Fly fishing muskies

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I'd like to try catch a muskie on a fly rod this summer. I did a quick search and didn't find the info I was looking for. What do I need? Where can I find an inexpensive combo that'd be able to handle a muskie? What lures do I want to get? Help...

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Scoot, I'm planning on chasing Muskies on the fly this summer. I've never targeted muskies with a fly before, but have caught plenty of their cousins on a fly. There are many similarities between pike and muskies, and the main difference between fishing the two is upsizing all of your gear.

You'll find that there will not be much information out there on the web (or in text) on fly fishing muskies. It is a very specialized niche in the fly fishing market and is relatively unexplored by most anglers. As a result there isn't much market saturation taking place. Even pike information is still relatively obscure. Warmwater fishing for species like bass and panfish has just recently begun to get more press from the fly fishing industry.

You will need a stout fly rod, I've noticed that people use anything from an 8wt to a 12wt for muskies. An 8 wt is a little under powered, in my opinion, to be casting flies large enough to catch muskies. You arm will tire, which will lead to sloppy casts after a long day on the water. I think that 12 wt is overkill, and was mainly preferred for its fighting strength. I don't think this is an issue anymore with the newer high modulus blanks used today. I'd opt for a 9wt or 10 wt rod, around 9' long. These rods should provide enough backbone to cast those large flies as well as have a fighting butt to fight those muskies.

You'll want a decent reel with a good drag. pike and muskies are known for short fast runs; you'll want to protect your tippet to keep from the fish breaking off. I wouldn't be concerned about needing a lot of backing, so a large arbor reel would fit the bill. It will have a faster retrieval rate and will reduce the amount of memory on your fly line.

I would recommend two fly lines. A floating line in a bass bug, clouser, or pike taper will help get those big bushy wind resistant flies to your target. The second line would be a sink tip line. You may need to adjust your sink rate based on the depth of water you will be fishing, but you will most likely be fishing weed beds, so a Type II or III sink may fit the bill.

Unfortunately, there are not many muskie flies available in the marketplace. Your best bet for purchasing, would be finding the largest pike flies that you can. Reynolds Pike flies, dahlberg divers, rainy's tsunami, and double bunnies are very good patterns. Often times muskie/pike anglers use saltwater patterns, due to their size. They are effective as well; clouser deep minnows and lefty's deceivers are two good saltwater patterns. I prefer to tie my own, since many of these patterns are not available locally. Tying my own, I am able to match the color combinations that I prefer, and use materials that I prefer. Bucktail is the preferred material used in many large flies, however, I like to use synthetic hairs, because they stand up better to toothy abuse and tie better.

I don't think you'll get out of this cheaply. Chasing after muskies is very demanding, and you will need some of the best equipment out there, regardless of skill level, just to deliver the flies to the beast, and to prevent severe equipment failure. Even the stoutest highest quality equipment is known to break from these monsters. I would only be looking at equipment with lifetime warranties. If it makes you feel any better, there has been recent breakthroughs in technology and overseas production that have brought high quality affordable equipment to the marketplace. Temple Fork Outfitters and Redington are good examples of companies producing good equipment using overseas production.

Send me an email Scott and I can hook you up with some additional info. Next time you're in the DL area let me know and you can take a look at my equipment. If you would like, I have an extra 9 wt rod and reel, that you could use to see if this is something that would like to pursue further, as it would take a substantial investment to get setup properly for muskie fly fishing. I'm sure you would be fishing waters around my neck of the woods anyways, so we should meet up for some time on the water. We could fish pike before the muskie season starts so you could get used to casting and stripping, etc. I'm also planning on getting out with Peter (Fisherdog) this year too.

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Cool- thanks JP!

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