By Chris Marshall
Glen Hales photos
Muskie are attracted to big, noisy, flashy lures–just take a look at the
monstrosities that successful hardware fishers use. Unfortunately, I don't
think we'll ever be able to design a fly rod lure which would be as effective.
However, we can come close. Those we use are at least six inches long,
bulky with hair, glittered with synthetics, and incorporate lots of action. Most
of them are tied on heavy wire hooks between 3/0 and 8/0. Partridge has
some huge saltwater bait hooks, which are ideal, but, unfortunately, not readily
available in North America. The patterns described in this article are all tied on
single hooks, but flies tied on two hooks tandem-style can provide extra length,
as well as additional chances for hook-up.
We've tried incorporating rattles in the body, but it doesn't seem to have made
much difference. The most effective noisemaker is a flat face, such as that on the
Mega-popper, which really stirs things up ripped at top speed through weeds,
in the same way a hardware fisher would retrieve a spinnerbait.
Weedguards are indispensable, and it pays to take the time to make them double.
Fly fishing for muskie might be far removed in technique and ambiance from fly fishing
for Atlantic salmon, but it has one incontrovertible similarity–you have to be prepared
to put in countless hours and make countless casts between raising fish.
Hook: 4X long streamer hook, #4/0.
Thread: Black 6/0.
Tail: White bucktail.
Body: White or chenille. Substitute wrapped Mylar
for extra durability.
Wing: Black bucktail, over white bucktail, over
blue or pearl Krystal Flash, over white bucktail.
Sides: Two long grizzly saddle feathers on each side.
Cheeks: Teal flank feathers.
Hackle: Black saddle spun right up to the eye.
The black and white combination seems to work best locally, but by all means
experiment with a variety of wing colours.