Musky Flies and Primo Tail with Brad Bohen

If you know anything about fly fishing for musky, you know the name Brad Bohen. And if you don’t know the name Brad Bohen, then you don’t know as much as you think you do about fly fishing for musky.

Brad has been extremely influential when it comes to promoting musky fly fishing and is looked at as a pioneer of the sport. Hayward, Wisconsin is Brad’s home base, and since many claim it is the musky capital of the world, you could say that Brad is the president. Having caught world record-sized musky on the fly and starred in his own Musky Country’s “Zero 2 Hero” film, Brad has river cred. When he talks about fishing, people listen.

Brad Bohen, musky fly fishing
Brad sharing his knowledge

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the St. Paul Fly Tiers that featured Brad Bohen and his fly tying materials. Fly tiers from all over the Twin Cities gathered together to learn some tips and tricks from Brad and exchange cash for some of his Primo bucktail, which he hand selects from deer harvested in the region and dyes in over 15 different colors. It is top grade bucktail that Brad stands behind 100% and uses on all of his flies. As the musky president, one can trust Brad’s opinion on what qualifies as good bucktail. Brad was also selling his premium hackles and brush materials.

A musky fly tier can appreciate some good bucktail and hackle, but the brush material Brad was selling really caught the attention of the group. According to Brad, these brushes are “evolving the game of fishing” by significantly cutting down the time and material required for a fly, as well as reducing the weight of the fly and the stress put on the caster’s shoulders.

After a fly tying demo, Brad answered questions around hooks, shanks and how he prefers to fasten them.  He likes to use single, stinger hook flies to avoid unnecessarily injuring fish. These thinner stinger hooks provide better penetration and are less likely to be thrown from the mouth of an angry musky. Most of Brad’s flies are tied on a shank with a circle ring connecting the stinger hook to the fly. Using a circle ring to attach the hook allows for hooks to be easily removed and for different sizes to be exchanged. These tips will help increase your chances of landing that fish that may take days to find. In Brad’s words, “musky are not fish of 10,000 casts. They’re the fish of one cast and you want to make sure you have the best fly.”

Brad Bohen, musky fly
Current world record holder for largest musky on a a fly, and owner of Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, Robert Hawkins, check out a fly tied by Brad Bohen

There was a lot taken away by those of us in attendance at the meeting. It’s fun to listen and observe someone who is so passionate about fly fishing and has focused on mastering a specific species. For those interested in pursuing a musky on the fly, Brad wants you to know “it’s a good time to walk away”, because once you start, the addiction sets in and you’ll become hooked (pun intended). If you decide to ignore Brad’s warning and follow through with your curiosity, he can provide you with the information and tools you need to go from zero 2 hero.

For more information about Brad, his guiding business and Primo fly materials check out his website here.

For those that love a good fly fishing film check out the trailer to Brad’s “Zero 2 Hero” musky film, which brings you along on a journey chasing musky in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

There are also several Youtube videos of Brad’s flies for those of you who are interested in creating your own musky steak.

Tight Lines & Strip Set,


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