Fly Fishing for Hot Summer ‘Skis

Stripping big flies for muskies can be a lot of work, but it helps when the action is good. After a full day we tallied ten follows, four takes, and three landed muskies on our fly rods. Nothing gigantic was landed, but it sure beats fishing gear.

Fly Fishing Muskies in Minnesota

The first fish of the day landed by Joel.

Fly Fishing Muskies in Minnesota

A mouthful of feathers.

Fly Fishing Muskies in Minnesota

Green and mean.



Leif’s Glass Bugger

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

After receiving a number of questions about this fly, I decided to put together a tutorial for tying it. I have not seen it done anywhere else, though I’m probably not the only one to have had the idea of using glass beads for the body of the fly. Glass beads provide enough weight to sink the fly so no lead wrap is needed. The glass beads also create a nice shimmer effect, reflecting light and making this fly more visible to hungry fish.

This is Leif’s Glass Bugger.

Materials:

  • Hook: #6 Streamer Hook
  • Thread: 6/0 Black
  • Tail: Marabou and Flash
  • Body: 6/0 Glass ‘E’ Beads and Hackle
Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

I used a #6 streamer hook for this tutorial, but I actually prefer a #8.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

These glass beads have a lot of great uses in the fly tying world. I picked these up at Michaels. Other beads I have bought elsewhere were very inconsistent in shape and size.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

Start by first threading six (6) of the glass beads onto the hook shank. When using a #8 hook I will thread five (5) glass beads onto the hook shank.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

Start your thread behind the last bead and cover the rest of the hook shank bringing the thread close to even with the hook barb.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

Tie in your marabou for the tail. Keep it about the same length as the body or even slightly shorter. Remember less is more. I prefer to trim off some marabou fibers rather than tying in a whole feather.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

After the marabou, tie in two (2) strands of flash, one on each side of the fly. Keep these the same length as the marabou or slightly longer. I like to keep it simple. Too much flash is overkill.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

Next, tie in your hackle. I prefer to tie the tip in first so when I wrap forward it tapers larger towards the head of the fly. Ideally you will want hackle length about the same as the distance of the hook gap or slightly longer.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

After I have the hackle anchored on the rear of the fly, I make a few more wraps to cover up the ends of the materials. I then slide the rearward glass bead over my thread and materials. You can apply a spot of super glue first to make this fly more durable. Next, I advance my thread to the front of the glass bead and make a number of wraps, advance the thread in front of the next glass bead and make a number of wraps etc. Continue this until you have your thread seated between the front two glass beads. What I want to accomplish here is to evenly space out the beads, anchor them in place, and provide ample room for wrapping my hackle forward.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

Now you can wrap your hackle. Make two wraps at the butt of the fly, then advance the hackle forward one glass bead at a time and make two wraps in between each bead. You may need to use your finger nail to push the hackle in between the beads to get the first wrap started each time so that it seats properly between the glass beads. Stop behind the front bead and tie off here but do not cut your thread yet.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

After tying off behind the front glass bead, I like to advance the thread one more time and make some wraps right behind the hook eye, tie off and trim the thread. You can then add a drop of super glue here. This should help anchor everything and give you a more durable fly.

Fly Tying Leif's Glass Bugger

The finished fly. If you tie any of these and catch fish on them, I would love to hear about it.


Steelhead Power Through Memorial Day Weekend

The rivers were flowing fast, but the steelhead were swimming faster. I would have had problems if I did not add aluminum bars to my wading boots. We spent four solid days on some big fast water in search of some late running fish. There were thousands of suckers to contend with, but plenty of steelhead hanging around nearby.


Giving my Korkers Aluminum Rock Grips

I have had enough slipping around on rocks and boulders in fast moving water to push me to my decision to risk destroying my korkers and add some aluminum bars for traction. Felt is outdated and will soon be illegal in most states, metal studs fall out and don’t give full traction all of the time. I have heard nothing but good things about the aluminum bars. They stick on rock even if it’s covered in slime.

Items I needed to accomplish what I was after:

  • Threaded inserts (34 of them, 17 on each boot, size 10-32)”
  • Flat head machine screws 3/4″ long size 10-32 (34 of these)
  • Aluminum flat, 1/8″x3/4″x3′ (might need two of these)
  • hacksaw
  • sharpies
  • Gorilla glue
Brass Threaded Insert

Brass Threaded Insert

 

 

Flat Head Machine Screw

Flat Head Machine Screw

First I cut out all of the pieces of aluminum from the flat stock using a hacksaw, laying t on the bottom of my boot and marking with a sharpie prior to each cut. Once I had my pieces I could duplicate them and flip them for the other boot.

Next I drilled out holes in the aluminum, tapering them with 2 or 3 different sized drill bits so that the machine screws would countersink into the holes and sit flat with the surface of the aluminum. I laid them out on the bottom of my boot and marked with a silver sharpie where I would drill my holes.

DIY Aluminum Bar Rock Grips

Aluminum Bars with tapered holes

I then drilled holes in the boot. You must be very careful here to only drill 3/4″ or less (the depth of the threaded insert). A drill press would work well here, or rig some kind of a “stop” on the drill bit so you don’t accidentally drill through the sole. You want the fit to be tight, so start out with a smaller bit and try an insert to see if you can screw it it. You may need to cut away some of the surface rubber with a knife to help get it started.

DIY Aluminum Bar Rock Grips

Holes in the Aluminum and Boot

Finally I was ready to glue in the inserts. I chose gorilla glue because I liked that it expands into the material you are gluing. So following the gorilla glue instructions, I used a q-tip to get the holes wet on the boot, and threw the inserts in a bowl of water. I did one row at a time. After applying glue to one row, I screwed in the inserts flush with the bottom of the boot. I did not want the glue to expand into the inserts where I would be screwing in the machine screws – so I mounted the aluminum bars with the screws right away as well. Make sure to get all of the screws started before tightening any of them. If you’re anything like me, your holes might be a little off, so this will allow you to fudge them around a bit.

DIY Aluminum Bar Rock Grips

Aluminum bars are mounted onto the bottom of the boot.

After the glue was dry, I filed down some of the sharper corners and ends to reduce the risk of cutting into things such as my waders while hiking around. If the gorilla glue does not hold up, I might try marine goop, or 30 minute epoxy. So far, it looks like this should work great.