Eli Berant – Great Lakes Fly

Eli Berant of Great Lakes Fly has sent me an arsenal of Musky flies. Below Eli describes how to fish these big bad dudes and offers a lot of information on each of these patterns. I’ll post the rest of the group next post. Great stuff, enjoy!


Fishing these patterns:

Personally I fish these flies on a sinking line 97% of the time.  These lines help to cast these larger flies as well as helping with the action while achieving the appropriate depth to be effective.  On Lake St.Clair we are targeting waters mostly 5-12 ft deep and we want the fly to spend most of the time near the middle of the water column, and these sinking lines do the trick,  Anything from a 350-500 grain line does a good job, you just need to find the line that works best for you.

We use a variety of retrieves and change them up constantly to see what the fish are interested in at the time.  Anything from a slow and steady, almost “wooly bugger” like retrieve, to a rod in the arm pit  hand over hand retrieve to move the fly as fast as you can.  We also do a lot of the Jerk Strip retrieve popularized by the book Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout.  Keep the fly moving, and when you have a chaser, KEEP THE FLY MOVING!

I am always looking for different materials to use in these flies.  I like materials that both hold a profile, but also offer movement while being durable.  Bucktail and Synthetic Yak are 2 standard materials I use frequently.  Flash is something that I feel is underused in most Predator/Streamer flies, put as much flash as you ever think you might need, you can always trim it out if it is too much, having said that I have never trimmed flash out of a fly.




This is a fly that I tried to just blow up a deceiver into a predator pattern.  A bulky profile, where the tail dances with the strip, and the finn raccoon collars grab the water helping create more of an underwater disturbance.

Hook: Mustad 32608 Spinnerbait Hook or equivalent Spinnerbait Hook in 5/0 or 6/0
Thread: UTC 280 or equivalent
Tail Section: Synthetic material such as SynYak or SF Fibers, 6-8 Saddle feathers, and Magnum Flashabou
Tail Collar: Finn Raccoon
Rattle: Jig Rattle with nub trimmed off, secured to the top of the hook and wrapped in estaz
Flash: Magnum Flashabou and Krystal Flash
Body: 7 bunches of Bucktail (not reverse tied) 4 on top / 3 on the bottom with Finn Raccon laid over top finished with Clear Cure Goo
Eyes: ½” 3D eyes secured with goop and the CCG

Optimus Swine

Optimus Swine

Optimus Swine

The design of this fly was intentional but the result was far better than I had ever imagined.  When designing this fly I set out to have a fly in my arsenal that fell through the water column more slowly than the flies with a heavier nose.  So I toyed with the idea of adding a reversed, foam popper head in the fly towards the back of the fly and a synthetic head (Senyo Lazer Dub) and it worked, but what also occurred was the placement of the popper head at the rear of the hook throws off the buoyancy that makes this fly kick from side to side under a jerk strip retrieve, unlike any fly I have ever used and it catches fish.

Hook: Mustad 32608 Spinnerbait Hook or equivalent Spinnerbait Hook in 5/0 or 6/0
Thread: UTC 280 or equivalent
Rattle: Jig rattle on a spider collar arm tied off the back of the hook
Tail Section: Synthetic material such as SynYak or SF Fibers, 2 saddle feathers down each flank, and magnum flashabou
Body: Rainy’s Mini Me Popperhead (Md) reversed secured by goop. 7 bunches of Bucktail (not reverse tied) 4 on top / 3 on the bottom
Head: Senyo Laser Dub
Eyes: ½” 3D eyes secured with goop

Note: This fly can be scaled down to 5.5” on a 3/0 or 4/0 spinnerbait hook and a Mini Me (Sm) popper head substitutes.




I have worked this pattern over and over looking for the right materials to allow for the size/profile I ultimately wanted.  This is where I had first discovered SynYak or Synthetic Yak hair, this material was perfect, took on the flash I wanted to mix in, I added the rattle to the back and BINGO…there is was.  This is my go to fly when trying to “match a hatch” presentation is important.

Hook: Gamakatsu SL12 in 6/0 or 8/0
Thread: .008 Clear Mono Thread
Rattle: Jig Rattle tied off the back of the hook and secured with CCG
Body: 4 layers of SynYak on both top and bottom, tied in tapered and reversed
Eyes: ⅜” or ½” 3D eyes secured with goop.
Head: Finish thread head with CCG


Tune in tomorrow for the next three patterns by Eli Berant.

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Filed under Muskie, Pike

One Response to Eli Berant – Great Lakes Fly

  1. Pingback: Musky Flies Nomad Anglers | Nomad Anglers

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