When most people think of fly fishing they think of western trout streams and the movie “A River Runs Through It.” In reality, fly gear will enable you to catch anything from a 10-inch trout to a 20-foot shark and everything in between. When you change your thought process to casting big flies to muskies, it introduces a whole new presentation to your approach.
For rods, I prefer a minimum of a 12-weight, but custom, two-handed rods are preferred. The Thorne Brothers Custom musky fly rod gets it done for me in fall. We designed this rod to cast 12- to 20-inch files with up to a quarter-ounce of lead to get them down deep and do it effortlessly.
These rods need to be paired with a line that’ll help get those weighted flies down to a depth of six to 12 feet. A line that has a six- to nine-inch per second sink rate is perfect. For leaders, I like to run four to five feet of 65-pound test mono ahead of 15 to 20 inches of 65pound test 7x7 AFW wire, followed by a Stay-Lok snap to quickly switch out flies.
Musky flies are generally made of bucktail and flashabou with different kinds of synthetics mixed in. The size of flies I run in the fall are 14 to 18 inches long with a lot of bulk to push water, and weighted in the head to get that up and down motion — similar to running a Bull Dawg.
Now that your rods are rigged and flies are built, it’s time to go hunt for a giant. Once you’re on the water, you are going to be casting big flies so learning how to cast efficiently with a twohanded rod is a key to success. A commonly-practiced casting technique I use is water-loading. This is when the fly is cast backward onto th