EP:34 Great Lakes Brown Trout From Shore

EP:34 Great Lakes Brown Trout From Shore















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I talked about chasing Great Lakes Brown Trout from the shoreline.  I recently got a chance to fish the Milwaukee harbor in pursuit of these amazing creatures.  Since sharing those pictures online I've gotten a ton of questions about how I caught them.  Especially from those that know how hard I struggle to catch salmon from my kayak.  I went over rod setup, techniques and tactics, and gave a quick list of places I personally head to when looking for brown trout from shore.  I also spent a few minutes talking about local guide Eric Haataja and the techniques he uses to catch monster brown trout.  I mentioned a great regional authority and tackle shop Lake Michigan Angler.  Be sure to check them out online if you find yourself curious about Lake Michigan fish species.  Finally, here's the link to making your own long handled net as promised is this podcast episode.  Hopefully these tips and locations will help get you some selfies with a beautiful fish.
A nice Lake Michigan brown trout caught from the shore line.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 34 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe please take 30 seconds to leave a review.  The reviews are essential for getting the podcast recommended in the search results of our fellow anglers.  Before you leave please take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

What Fish Has You Hooked?

Craig the brown trout junky.
    On a recent shorefishing trip in Milwaukee my mind started to wander.  While looking contemplatively at the water lost in my own little world a gentleman came over to ask how the fishing was going.  "Pretty good" I said, "You?"  The strangers face was over taken by a huge smile.  "It's amazing!"  "Look at the size of these fish!"  He was right, compared to the brown trout of the Driftless these fish were huge.  It was only after a little bit of conservation that I truly understood what he meant.  His name was Craig and he had flown all the way from California to catch a brown trout.  "Don't they have browns in California?"  I asked.  "Yup, but not like these, I fly out every year."  "Looking for a male over 20 pounds."  "Been trying for 12 years to land one."  Holy Crap!  I thought to myself that's some serious dedication.  The deeper the conversation went the more his excitement and enthusiasm grew.  This guy loved brown trout, specifically big brown trout, more specifically big male brown trout.  He talked about their colors and strength.  He waxed poetically about the hook on the jaw and how they pursued their prey.  He even helped me net a fish and I could tell that he was just as excited to look at it as I was.  Brown trout have him hooked.  That got me thinking, why do we care so much about certain species of fish?
     Seriously, every angler I know has that one specific species that keeps them fishing.  For Derek it's largemouth bass.  Tristan?  Small stream smallmouth bass.  JJ's always in pursuit of the mighty musky.  My buddy Rob is a salmon junkie through and through.  We all have that species we talk about, think about, dream about, and spend countless hours pursuing.  I'm sure you have a favorite species too.  Maybe it was the first type of fish you caught.  Perhaps it's the one that grows the biggest in your area.  Could even be that these particular fish are the hardest thing you've ever tried to catch.  Maybe as in my case it was the species that seemed so far away that it was ridiculous to even think about.  Now it keeps me up reading, studying, and watching videos desperate to get back to the beaches they frequent.  Desperate to feel the surge on the line and thickness of their tails.  They haunt me the same way your favorite species haunts you.
I still dream almost every night about catching one that's even bigger.
      I can honestly say that I have no idea what makes certain species of fish so special.  Why we're willing to spend so much time and resources indulging in their pursuit.  Why a common brown trout to me would make Craig fly halfway across the country.  Why a largemouth bass wakes up so many anglers on a tournament morning.  Or why so many of my friends are willing to put their life on the line in crazy conditions to catch a salmon from a kayak.  I read somewhere that we all have an animal that speaks directly to our spirit.  Maybe that's where this connection comes from.  Something out there in the universe that says the closest thing to ourselves is a fish.  Whatever it is I'm sure glad we all have one.  I for one believe that my life if richer because of it.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite fish species?  Do you know why you can't get enough of them?  If you've got a second leave me a comment below.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

Out And About

     So I've gotten some emails asking where I'll be in the coming months now that expo season is underway.  Here's a short list of some the events I have on my calendar.  More will inevitably be added as the season gets underway, but this is a list of currently confirmed bookings.  Be sure to say "Hello" if our paths cross at any of these great events.

Orvis of Madison Black Fly Day- 11/25/2016
I'll be the instructor for this event teaching the Fly Tying 101 class and tying the fly patterns for the bass class.  Will cover 2 popular bass on the fly patterns and discuss some tactics used when pursuing these species with a fly rod.  Space is limited so if you want a spot you'll need to contact the store at (608) 831-3181.

Fox Valley Trout Unlimited Cabin Fever Day- 1/14/2017
For this event I'll be giving a seminar on Selecting and Rigging A Fishing Kayak.  I'll also have a selection of fishing kayaks on display in my booth and will be tying carp fly patterns for a raffle donation.  This will be my first time to attend this event and I'm pretty fired up to be speaking to a new group of anglers.  For more information on this event follow the link here.

SWTU Ice breaker Event- 1/14/2017
This is a great event from my local chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this event.  I will however be offering a half day guided carp on the fly trip and a new rod and reel combo on behalf of ShoreboundHero.com for the raffle.  This is an event that always draws a crowd so be sure to check it out here.

Chicagoland Fishing Expo 1/26-1/29/2017
I'll be attending at least one day of this event in support of Native Watercraft kayaks.  This is a huge expo with lots to see.  It's almost overwhelming so be sure to arrive early and plan to spend the entire day taking in some wonderful vendors, seminars, and fishing stories.  For more information follow the link here.

Badger Fly Fishers Spring Opener- 2/11/2017
At this event I'll have a booth setup and will have a donation in the raffle.  This a great show with some amazing fly tiers so make sure you're in attendance.  To learn more about the Badger Fly Fishers Spring Opener follow the link here.

FishX Milwuakee- 2/10-2/12/2017
This is FishX's first year and I'm pumped to be a speaker for this inaugural event.  I'll be in attendance on Sunday the 12th giving a kayak fishing seminar and supporting my sponsor Vibrations Tackle in their booth.  This event is gonna be big and the list of exhibitors and speakers grows more impressive everyday.  To learn more about FishX follow the link here.

Wisconsin Fishing Expo- 2/24-2/26/2017
This is one of my favorite events I attend each year.  I'll be in the Rutabaga Paddlesports in support of not only them (sponsor), but also showing off the line of Native Watercraft Kayaks.  This event is great because I get to talk to so many local anglers and answer kayak fishing questions all day long.  If you can only attend one fishing expo this year this is the one to attend.  For more information follow the link here.

Canoecopia- 3/10-3/12/2017
The world's biggest paddlesports show is also my busiest weekend all year.  I'm speaking, representing multiple sponsors, doing blog interviews, and interacting with the greatest customer base on the planet.  This is a must attend event if you spend anytime in a paddle driven vessel.  My presentation for this year is on kayak rigging for both the beginning or experienced angler.  To learn more about Canoecopia check out the link here.

Madison Musky School- 3/18/2017
I'm teaching the Shore Fishing and Kayak Muskies class for my 3rd year as a faculty member for this awesome school.  My kayak will be rigged up on site and I'll be tying musky flies over the break.  It's an amazing event that has something for every level of musky angler.  Tons of classes, instructors, info, and the lunch is catered!  The details are slowly coming out on this event so to keep up to date follow the Capital City Musky Club website here.

   That wraps up the out and about for the next few months.  I feel blessed to be able to attend, teach, serve, and share, at so many different venues.  To learn more about these events and many others as they get added to my schedule be sure to follow these pages and listen to the podcast.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

Portable Fly Tying Station

An old family relic given a new shot at life.
     Recently I've had a change of heart in regards to fly tying.  Don't get me wrong I'm still a big proponent of "Don't Tie What You Can Buy."  Though I have fallen hard for tying patterns that I can't get readily in stores.  Add to that the fact that I'm teaching a couple of entry level tying classes and will be speaking at numerous fly fishing shows this season and I guess this recent chapter in my life could be considered inevitable.
A place for everything.
     So lately my fly fishing tools and supplies have begun to multiply.  This has led me to the realization that a ziploc bag and the kitchen table are no longer adequate.  I needed a place to tie that could be moved around the house, would organize my tools, and could take a beating.  This brings me to the tray you see in the photos.  If you look carefully at the photos you'll notice the letters PMT.  This stands for Precision Mold and Tool.  It was a machine shop owned by my fathers family since the 1940's in Muncie, IN.  In it's heyday it was a busy shop full of hardworking men and women.  I remember as a kid going on vacation to visit the family and being so impressed with the scale of operations going on inside those buildings.   My fathers stories of growing up and working inside the shop make me long for the old days when an honest days work for honest pay was a way of life.  Sadly, last year due to economic struggles, cheaper labor overseas, and some inter-family struggles, those doors closed forever.  For me this tray and a handful of memories are all that's left.
     My father built this tray by hand over 40 years ago.  The shop needed trays that could safely move around precision parts and tools and as it turns out wood is pretty good at protecting milled metals without scratching them.  My mother saved the tray on one of their last trips out and gave it to me since I'm the kind of person that attaches memories to objects.
     After securing permission, I started to make the modifications required to give this old shop tray a new life.  I drilled out some holes to hold my bobbins, scissors, and tools.  Then I not so carefully cut and glued in some wooden dowels to keep my spools of thread in place.  Finally, I drilled through a spare vise base I had in a drawer and screwed it down to the old wood frame.  A couple of felt slider feet on the bottom keep it surface friendly and ready to work.
     It was a nice project for a cold Sunday morning.  So far it's performing splendidly as a portable unit.  Only time will tell if it ends up being an heirloom within my own my family.  I hope that when my kids hear the stories it will become valued as part of my own legacy.  Until then you'll see it on these pages and at fishing expos.  I can still smell the machine shop in the wood.  Forever reminding me to keep those childhood memories close to my heart.
     Tight Lines.
     

How To Add Temporary Bulk To Fall Musky Flies

The fly tying desk.
     Earlier this week I had the opportunity to take in a presentation by Larry and Wendy Mann of the Hayward Fly Fishing Company.  The talk was on musky fly fishing and to say it was informative would be an understatement.  His thoughts on setup, fish location, and mental fortitude while chasing the mighty musky even taught me a few tricks.  However it was after the seminar while rummaging through his fly box that I saw this gem of an idea.
     Larry fishes for muskies on the fly with clients of all skill levels.  This variety of ability has forced his company to use flies that are smaller in size to allow anglers that are new to the fish of 10,000 casts to keep casting all day long.  Because as you know chucking flies of the size required to catch the attention of a musky can be a physically exhausting process.  To up the odds at a trophy sized fish in the fall they devised a clever way to add bulk, without adding weight.  Best part?  It's already available all over the Midwest and online.
Trolling flies to chase salmon.
     The trick?  Use readily available trolling flies for salmon.  I know it sounds crazy, but here's how it works.  The salmon flies are tied on a plastic tube (head).  This head is designed to slide freely up and down the leader when trolling.  The flies are tied from fish attracting materials similar to the flashabou we already use on our spinner baits on the conventional side of musky fishing.  All you have to do is slide the trolling fly onto your bite guard before you attach it to the fly.  The trolling fly will now slide down to the musky fly giving you a much bigger profile in the water as well as adding motion and flash to your feathered offering.  Still not sure what I'm talking about?  It looks like this.
The trolling fly slides down tight to the musky fly adding bulk to your offering without changing the fly.
     I was so blown away by this idea that I immediately asked Larry if it would be okay to share this tip with my readers.  He of course said yes!  This is a great way to add the illusion of size to any musky fly you already own.  I tried it out on Lake Wingra the other day and it looks great in the water and doesn't interfere with your casting or fly presentation.  Just a solid trick that will help you catch more fall muskies.  For information on the Hayward Fly Fishing Company or to book a guided trip of your own follow the link here.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

EP:33 Choosing An Ice Fishing Rod

EP:33 Choosing An Ice Fishing Rod














     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I talked about choosing an ice fishing rod.  When shopping for ice fishing rodshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=israe0a-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=24968a4157c02fc42c474678c71dfcea&_cb=1479277869953 there’s a myriad of choices and they can quickly get confusing.  What weight, what size, and what length are all important things to know and I cover each of these topics in this episode.  Choosing the right rod for your ice fishing application will make a big difference in not only your catch rate, but your enjoyment when out on the ice.  These purchasing tips will help you get the most out of your ice fishing experience.

   Here's the links to the slopmasterhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=israe0a-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=1a6524820e306704ae4ed54f4e68ead4&_cb=1479278030667 and hellhoundhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?source=bk&t=israe0a-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=8193d41ff1af72f54d7398de758742e9&_cb=1479278045146 lures as promised in the episode.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 33 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe take 30 seconds to leave a review.  The reviews are essential for getting the podcast recommended in the search results of our fellow anglers.  Before you leave please take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

3 Keys To Locating Late Fall Largemouth Bass

     As the days shorten and the water begins to cool many have put up their boats as the open water season begins to slow down. However for those still looking to bag that last pre-ice trophy, many great days of fishing are still available. Finding these fish can be difficult, but with a little knowledge, and some lures that cover the entire water column you can effectively target America's favorite fish from the shoreline as your kayak is nestled safely away from the upcoming winter elements.  Lets talk late fall bass location. My favorite fall "hot spots" all have 3 things in common.  These three things are the difference between catching fish and talking about catching fish.  Let's take a look...


     The first is structure it can be almost anything. Wood lay downs, rock piles, patches of submerged weeds, bridge pilings, even a storm water discharge pipe. In cold water bass aren't going to expend a lot of energy chasing down food. As long as the structure provides an ambush point the bass will normally be there. Locating structure is one of the most important things for late fall bass fishing. Find anything that baitfish can relate to and is within casting distance from shore.
     The second thing is a no brainer, food. I get a lot of questions about how to find fish this time of year and the easy answer is to go right to the food source. If you're hungry where are you going to go eat, the middle of an open field or to a food court? The bass will be at the food court. This can be obvious things like weed flats full of panfish, or the mouths of rivers and creeks swollen with migrating chubs and suckers. Or it can be less obvious things like bridge pilings that heat up during the day and trigger late afternoon insect hatches. The point is if you find the food you'll find some bass.
     Finally my best spots have transitions. These are the areas where the body of water changes. The areas going from weeds to sand, shallow to deep water, or slack to moving water. Bait fish travel up and down these transitions. They gather in these areas and the bass know it. If I can find structure that attracts food, and is located near a transition point I know that the bass will be present.
     So now that we know where the fish are, what do we use to catch them? I like to use baits that cover a lot of water. If your thinking diving crank baits and Echotails your on the right track. For crank baits I prefer the more erratic action you get from square bills. Standard diving cranks will work, but a more exaggerated wobble is the real key. Bass don't want to work when it's cold out, so the lure needs to look as injured as possible as it comes through the water. The Echotail is relatively new blade bait on the scene. It uses a replaceable soft plastic tail to impart more action through the lure. The blade comes pre-rigged with a Kalin's grub tail but the barbed tail makes it easy to experiment with other products on the market. This time of year more action means more fish.  Echotails can be adjusted through a system of holes on the back of the lure. This allows for the erratic wobble were looking for and their quick sink rate (blade bait) makes them an obvious choice for fall fishing.
The Echotail by Vibrations Tackle.
     Rod setup is simple since I am throwing crank baits and Echotails I tend to stick with a 7' 2" fiberglass rod. I like to use fiberglass rods since they tend to deaden the vibrations of the lure. This makes it easier to detect the strikes and it keeps my hands from taking a beating. Also with the air temperatures in the mid 30's I don't have to worry about breaking a graphite rod on the hook set. As far as reels are concerned, use what you're comfortable with. Spinning or bait casting it doesn't really matter. Just try to keep the gear ratio at 5:3-1 or lower. I personally like to spool up with fluorocarbon line this time of year since it doesn't absorb water like braid and monofilament. Usually something in the 10-20 pound range is more than adequate. Then just attach your lures with a clip (Echotail) or loop knot (crank bait) so they can achieve full range of motion on the retrieve.
     Now that we know where the bass are and what setup to use let's talk about the actual catching part. Try to make your casts so that they land past the structure. You want your lures to move across the structure on the retrieve. Landing the lure close or nearby isn't going to be good enough. Remember what I said about bass not working hard for their food? You need that lure to move right in front of their face. A long cast that works the full length of structure is going to be much more effective than a cast that starts at the edge of it. Next you want to make contact, lots of contact. If your lures aren't coming back to the shoreline with weeds or debris you’re doing it wrong. Square billed cranks deflect wonderfully when ripped through weeds and knocked against timber. The Echotail is also great at deflecting on contact, the nose weight and metal body were made for crashing through structure and calling out the fish. Just keep in mind that when your crank bait hits something stop it, that split second it suspends will often be followed by a hit, and when your Echotail makes contact keep right on reeling. Don't give that Echotail a chance to drop into snags. The body is curved so if you keep it moving it will normally just roll up and over whatever it encounters. Finally and perhaps the most important, SLOW DOWN. The reason I recommended a lower gear ratio reel is that many anglers use the same retrieve speed they used all summer. The bass are rarely in a chase it down mood this time of year. A low gear ratio will force you to retrieve slower. I always tell my clients to reel as slow as you possibly can, then next cast go just a little bit slower than that. You want your retrieve speed to be the slowest you can reel with the lure still swimming properly. That should help it stay in the structure, making contact, and catching fish.


          Tight Lines.

This piece originally appeared as an article I wrote for Lake-Link you can find the original here.

Blade Baits, Row Trolling, and Bonefish

Sorry, it's cool though.
     So I've done my best over the years to not just be one of those blogs that gives my readers links to things on the internet.  I try to provide content that informs, reviews you can use, or stories sure to entertain.  However this week I've ran into some cool videos that have gotten me all fired up so here's ShoreboundHero.com's first link post.
     The first video is from one of my sponsors Vibrations Tackle.  They've been transforming their business model and have put a real emphasis on teaching the customer/angler how to use blade baits more effectively in different angling situations. This video is an introduction to the new Echotail Corner that I'll be contributing to soon in the coming months.



     The second video is a cool piece from Wisconsin Public Television.  It's a video about row trolling that appeared in their Wisconsin Life program.  It features angler Jim Olson and his life long pursuit of muskies.  Those of you that follow the podcast are already aware of my interest in row trolling and I've watched this particular video at least 10-15 times already this week.  Check it out, I think you'll like it.  Click the link here if the video doesn't load automatically.

     
     The third video is about DIY bonefishing in Yemen.  I had no idea you could chase bonefish in Yemen so that's pretty sweet.  Also I love the DIY aspect of these types of fishing trips.  I've always had to just figure things out when I get to go on angling vacations.  Ray does a great job of figuring these fish out and who wouldn't want to catch a bonefish!



     Hope you folks get as much of a kick out of these videos as I have.  I promise not to fill these pages with too many link posts in the future.  I'll be back to my normal content after the weekend.  Speaking of the weekend, I'll be at the Early Show in Illinois this weekend running my booth, tying carp flies, and speaking about the awesomeness that is kayak fishing.  Be sure to stop by if you're in the area.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

EP:32 Dealing With Line Freeze

EP:32 Dealing With Line Freeze














     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we talked about ways to deal with line freeze as we head into late fall.  Line freeze is not only annoying, but it can cause a lot of damage to your fishing gear.  I talked about how to choose which lines work best when dealing with the cold.  Also I covered what not to do as far as ice removal goes.  Finally, I gave up a couple of tips that have helped me keep fishing right until ice up.  Hopefully these tips will give you an advantage while out and about on these cold days leading up to the ice fishing season.
     Here's the link to the snakehead fishing rod I purchase from Thailand as promised.

     Thank you for listening to Episode 32 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe take 30 seconds to leave a review.  The reviews are essential for getting the podcast recommended in the search results of our fellow anglers.  Before you leave please take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

Finally A Fishing Tattoo

     A year or so ago I was reading a post on one of my favorite blogs the Uncommon Angler.  It was a great story about fly fishing on Beaver Island.  Included in this post was picture of guide Austin Adduci with his hands on the oars.  Look closely at those hands for a second, see the tattoos?  I was fascinated by this as not only an obsessed angler, but as a fishing guide, and lover of tattoos.  After finishing the post my life went on as lives usually do.  Recently though...I've been going through a bit of a hard time mentally.  I've really relied heavily on my friends, my fishing, my writing, and lots of reading to help me through it.  Long story short that lead me to a recent post on The Fiberglass Manifesto.  Something changed in me when I saw that post.  For me my tattoos have always been a point of strength.  They mean something to me.  They remind me of a moment and how I felt in the days or weeks leading up to adding a new design.  I needed to feel that kind of confidence again.  So I started driving around town looking at local artists.
     Chuck over at Ultimate Arts Tattoo listened to my story.  I showed him my favorite lure and my favorite fly pattern.  I explained that my right hand casts the flies and that my left hand casts the lures.  I told him the differences between the silicone skirts on a spinnerbait and the natural fibers of a musky fly.  While discussing the art work I explained the need for a barbless hook on a fly to protect the fish and how beautiful light is when it reflects off a willow blade moving through the water.  I also told him about my pending divorce.  About the struggles and he understood having been through it himself.  We agreed on a price and I scheduled an appointment.  Then I did my best to keep the whole thing to myself until the day came.
The artist at work on the fly pattern design.
     Arriving at the shop I was both excited and terrified.  Hand tattoos are a huge commitment, you really need confidence to permanently put your passions out there.  Chuck showed me his preliminary sketches and concept art and I was in love.  However a few small modifications were required to meet the images in my mind.  First off I didn't want them in color and he had drawn them true to life.  Second I needed the hooks to be visible so that I didn't have to spend all my time explaining to people what they were.  He started making the required design changes while I headed out for a cigarette.  After a few minutes he came to the door and said, "You ready?"
     I sat down in the chair and had a little nervousness in my stomach.  What would my mom say?  What would my kids say?  What if I chose the wrong lure and fly?  Well it doesn't matter because I promised my mom years ago that I'd never get a skull, spiderweb, or naked lady as a tattoo.  My kids would love it because they love me.  As for lure and fly selection only time will tell if I chose the right ones.  I can tell you that it hurts like hell when the tattoo needle goes over your knuckles.  Also we had to add some white ink to the design to make it stand out better against my fair Iowa boy skin tone.  Still I love the results and want to thank Chuck and the folks at Ultimate Arts Tattoo for the great work and friendly service.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.
  

What Fly Should I Throw For Fall Muskies?

Notice the heads for weight, bulk in the body, and the long feathers and tinsel for size.
     A common question among fly anglers this time of year is "What fly should I throw for fall musky?"  Transitioning into fall isn't just something that conventional musky anglers have to deal with.  Every fall hundreds of musky on the fly anglers are faced with the very real truth that what worked this summer isn't working anymore.  In fact I was wrestling with this same issue while guiding earlier this week on Lake Wingra.  No matter what I threw at them the fish didn't seem to respond.  I bet I tied on fifteen flies that morning until I got a fish to finally follow.  Once that musky swung (and missed) I started to put it all together.  
     Conventional anglers this time of year make some changes to their lure selections.  First thing they do is go BIG.  Seriously big, one pound bulldawgs, big double 12 showgirls, the big baits are known to trigger fish so that what's they throw.  The second thing that most anglers do is to start tossing subsurface glide baits.  Big slow moving baits that stay down and usually have some sort of wobble that says "Eat Me" when they aren't moving.  Think Phantoms and Hellhounds many times with a small soft plastic to make them even more irresistible to the fish of 10,000 casts.
     So what can we take away from this information to help us when we're chucking a pile of feathers at this amazing fish?  First thing is you have to throw your big patterns.  For me this means fly patterns that require the use of a 12 weight rod and reel.  Another thing you need to consider is that it's time to start using intermediate or full sink fly lines.  I like the Depth Charge from Orvis, my buddies seem to gravitate towards the Pike and Musky lines offered by Rio.  Regardless of your brand preference you need to make the switch to help get these big flies deeper in the water column.
Acrylic heads or hoods add weight.
     Of course the whole point of this post was supposed to be "Which fly should I throw for fall muskies?"  Well truth be told I don't really concern myself with which fly pattern specifically, as much as how the fly should perform in the water.  You want to throw a fly that obviously has some size to it.  You also want a fly that has a lot of bulk, preferably tied from materials that will pulsate or move even when the fly isn't in motion.  This movement could be from bunny strips, tinsel, even from a series of articulations.   It doesn't matter how it moves, but it needs to move.  Fall musky fishing isn't a speed game like spring streamers or summer topwater patterns.  Fall is low and slow so you've got to make the adjustment when out on the water.  If I'm not being clear enough let me offer up some ideas on how to choose fall musky patterns.
     The way that I choose my fall fly patterns is to break the fly into 3 sections mentally.  First it needs to have some kind of weight in the head that helps the fly dive or swing from side to side on the retrieve.  Second, it needs to have some serious bulk just behind the head so that it moves water and causes the fly to do that pulsing thing I mentioned earlier.  The final 3rd of the fly needs to be large amounts of flowing material that helps to not only make the fly look big, but that will add movement when the fly is stripped, stopped, or changes direction.
     For those of you that have stuck around this long let me give you a few patterns to check out.  Try throwing the Montauk Monster, Bergeson's Demon, or my favorite fall pattern the Muskie Killer.  Each of these flies work great in the fall because they are big, fish slow, and have lots of movement.  Toss a couple of these in your fly box and you're guaranteed to see a fish.  I said see a fish, not catch a fish.  After all we're still talking muskies.
One of Madison's finest being released to fight another day.
     Tight Lines.