Scientific Anglers

SA Lines make Muskie possible

Scientific Anglers posts a release pic from one of the Muskie that graced our hands this fall

Abel Reels – Pic of the Day

Abel Reels Instagram Account posts an image of Sean’s biggest Muskie to date. Nice work Sean.

Underwater Predator – Pic of the Day

Two Different Experiences

September is gateway to the fall, and it has become my favorite month to fish. After a busy summer with the smallmouth, I take some time to relax and fish. I thought I would share two experiences, which were radically different in some ways but completely the same.

Last week, I visited muskie land for a chance at a big fish. They are one of my favorite recreational species. I was fishing alone and it was extremely windy, so fishing was uber challenging in this vast, open area. After two solid mornings, several fish had followed my shiny flies to the boat, but no connection. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever catch one. After numerous casts, zilch. I texted with Jon Ray and he said “chartreuse”. I took his suggestion. Literally on the first cast, I caught the glimpse of something beneath my fly. Soon the shadow disappeared, but something told me not to rush pulling the fly out of the water. I did a figure eight with my rod tip. I had never caught a musky with a figure eight, and my expectations were low. On the beginning of the second figure eight, a wide bodied fish exploded after my fly from under the boat. Soon he was hooked! It was one of the most exciting strikes I have ever had for any species. The fish was landed–it was a good sized fish, not huge, at 36″ in length.

Upon returning home, there was some time set aside to prepare for the fall season. In addition, I was hoping to accomplish one other fishing goal, to catch a brook trout in its fall spawning colors. There are numerous small creeks with brook trout in my area–in fact there is one in my back yard–so you think that this would be an easy task. This was not the case. I went to a stretch of a local small stream that is rumored to be great for brook trout. On the first day, I had several fish rise to my hopper pattern, but was unable to connect. Suddenly, a nice trout rose to my fly as it fell out of the grass on the bank. Much to my chagrin, my glee turned to horror. Normally I love brown trout, in this case I was disappointed with the 13 inch butterball on my line. I caught one more brown trout that day. The next morning, four browns as well as two rainbows we caught, but still no brookie. Finally, while swinging a wet fly, a tug registered on the line. I was frustrated when the fish was missed. The process was repeated, and again the fish took. I missed him yet again! I surmised that this must be a brook trout, as a brown trout would never be this stupid. On the third cast, I watched this nice trout follow my wet fly and it took. After a brief struggle, an 11″ jewel was at my feet. This moment was just as thrilling as catching the musky.

Fishing is always fun. Challenging fish make it more rewarding. This sounds like something a guide would say but the fish that you work for really are the most memorable. During the month of September, there are many challenges for the willing angler. Whatever fish you prefer to catch, get out and enjoy this great time of the year!

Kevin Feenstra’s Photos

Scott fly rods

Review: Scott Tidal Muskie/Pike Special Rod

Chasing Muskies on the fly isn’t for everyone. Even the gear guys call it the “fish of 10,000 casts” (so, how many false casts is that?). But if it’s your thing, you’ll know pretty quickly. From the first eat, I fell in love. After a couple of years at it, I felt like I was putting the pieces together and wanted my own rig. As a huge fan of Scott fly rods, when the Tidal Muskie/Pike Special was announced, I knew I had my stick and placed my order. Yeah, I know, should have cast it first. But I own a bunch of Scott rods and there’s not a loser in the bunch.

Building on the very successful Tidal series, the Muskie model has a somewhat different taper, as well as an extended fighting butt (more on this later).  Scott doesn’t list a line weight rating, but Scott’s Midwest rep, Jerry Darkes, told me it was rated as a 10/11 weight.

First impressions were exactly what I’ve come to expect from Scott – tight wraps, their beautiful unsanded blank, and solid, but not flashy hardware. If you need bling, these guys aren’t your company. But let’s be real – if you need bling, you’re not fly fishing for Muskie.

Last weekend I got to get in my first real outing chasing ski’s with my new stick. This was my annual pilgrimage north with Capt. Jon Ray and my Dad. JR pulled us into this crazy pursuit a couple of years back and Dad and I both took to it right away (he boated a 40″ that first year). This year I was armed with my new stick, a fresh Scientific Anglers Mastery Wet Tip Express 350 grain sink tip line, and a STUNNING Abel Super 9/10N in Muskie graphics.

The first thing I noticed when casting is that this thing is a cannon – launching a big fly and a heavy line a long distance is no problem. Back cast, wait for the load, and WHAM! But more importantly for me was accuracy. I found I could sidearm under overhanging tree limbs, hit kill holes, and generally put the fly where I wanted it with tremendous ease. As I said to Jon – “this rod casts better than I do…”. The morning of the first day we encountered some pretty serious wind and the Tidal really helped. Just by tightening up my loops I was able to maintain the control I needed. Even backhand casts gave me the same feeling of power and accuracy.

The extended fighting butt is another huge advantage. I’ve heard experienced guides say that up to 50% of their fish came from figure-eights at the boat. But figure-eighting all day is physically exhausting. The extended fighting butt enabled me to add a two-hand grip that increased rod control and gave my casting hand a break. At a recent lecture by Muskie guru Blane Chocklett, I learned another use – casting. By locking the extended but to your forearm, you spread the load out, making it easier to throw heavy flies all day. Sure enough – it works!

On the afternoon of our first day, I got to test the fighting prowess of the Tidal Muskie. We’d just moved the boat up river to a new area. On my second cast I see the perfect eat. This big girl just engulfed my fly. A hard strip-set and it’s ON! The fight is an area where this rod shines. I had plenty of power to direct the fish, gain line, and generally control the fight. The rod flexes deep to the cork without a moan, groan, or complaint. A little deft network from JR and I’m on the board!

With my other Scott rods, particularly streamer rods, I’ve found one small issue. You have to tape the ferrules. It’s the same on my Scott Radian 907/4 which I use streamer fishing for trout and smallmouth bass. If you don’t tape the ferrules, they loosen, the rod casts like pooh, and you run a greater risk of breaking a rod. I find that if I wax the ferrules once, and then tape with every use, it’s all good. A minor drawback for an outstanding rod.

If you’re looking for a great Muskie rod at a moderate price, I highly recommend the Scott Tidal Muskie/Pike Special. A solid value on a great performing rod that’s made in the U.S.A.

-Sean-

muskie release

Pic of the Day – Muskie Release

muskie release

 

Wanted to say thank you for the patience as Mangled Fly Media comes back on-line.  No need to talk about the struggles of the past few weeks, only that new stuff will be coming on-line again soon.  Bear with me as fall is a busy time, but promise to make up for it with quality content. The Muskie Adventure season has just started and already looking like it will be a great season.

Little Late – This Is Fly

Found a link to This is Fly in my spam/junk folder.  Sorry this is a couple weeks old.  But on cold December mornings looking through older folders can find you a couple good reads.  A good article hear on muskie fishing, do love chasing these predators.  Check it out.  Also booking trips for 2014.  Have a couple spots still open in prime time.  Feel free to contact me via email .  Speaking of muskie working with Erik right now on a couple new clips.  Hope to be done soon, will post links here.  Topwater action caught on video, is one little hint.

image1154368

http://www.thisisfly.com

New Go Pro Studios

With an off day today from the river, did my usual run around, and then caught up on emails, and household chores.  One of the emails I had in that long scroll of inbox was from GoPro, with a link to the new studio download.  The new studio is a definite upgrade.

  • NEW GoPro Edit Templates make it easy to create GoPro-style videos
  • NEW Trim, edit and mix video clips
  • NEW Add titles, music, audio tracks and more
  • NEW Fisheye adjustment control
  • NEW Adjust video playback speed for fast or slow motion
  • NEW Export video still frames at full resolution

So I took the new software for a quick spin.  The GoPro Studio is by no means as good as FinalCut but for just looking and doing a quick edit of some GoPro footage it does some really cool stuff.

I really liked the fact that I could export still images from video.  Below is an example, as we continue to play around with the Muskie footage we shot this past month.  Also another great feature is playing with the fisheye adjustment.  Haven’t tried that but plan on it.  Anyway check out the download if you self edit.  Link is above.

Last Day Chasing Muskie

 sunrise on muskie waters

My 2013 Muskie chase has come to an end as of today, but had one of the best sun rises of the year.  Brings to mind the old sailors saying.  Red Sky in the morning, sailors take warning.  As the last day brought with it 20-30 mph winds that chased us off a little early.  Now back to my home waters and the steelhead chase begins in full swing.  It’s truly a mix bag of emotions though.  While Muskie absorb you in every way and almost eat at your sole, I do love my leaping, jumping, cartwheeling, quick-running, dime silver friends that I will be coming home too.  I will miss the muskie waters and look forward to the chase in 2014.  During the winter thoughts and patterns will be developed and new techniques will come to mind. If any of this muskie stuff interests you I am booking additional muskie fly fishing guide days in 2014.  Feel free to contact me direct at jray@mangledfly.com

Thank you to all that joined me this fall season!

 

Picture of the Day – Biggest Muskie for Jerome to date

Jerome S. who started this adventure 3 years ago, today achieved a new PB (personal best) muskie.  Great fish Jerome, nice job.  Any muskie on a fly is a great fish, but some are always a little more special.