How To Fish Big Flies For Apex Predators Longer Than Your Leg

All we can think about at the Postfly office this month is catching a giant esox on the fly with one of the flies from Gunnar Brammer’s Signature Tyer Series box. When you take just one look at these massive flies, you’ll see why. When you see them move in the water, that’s when things get downright magical.

The old saying for giant pike and musky flies is that they have more hair and feathers than a dog with a bird in its mouth. When you’re throwing flies that big, every cast starts to wear on you. Your shoulders will get sore, your fingers will callus over from stripping line, and even if you just move a fish, you’ll be hooked for life on these apex predators. Make every cast count with Brammer’s tips for working his Signature Tyer Series flies so you can wake up without feeling like you were hit by a Mack truck. Speaking of which, that’s exactly how it feels when a big fish hits your fly.

Gunnar Brammer's Big Booty Deceiver
Gunnar Brammer’s Big Booty Deceiver is a deadly go-to pattern for catching giant fish.

Big Booty Deceiver

The bigger the profile of a baitfish, the more enticing it will be for a big fish. Perfectly replicating a colored up sunfish, this Big Booty Deceiver pattern in Brammer’s Signature Tyer Series box is a sight to see in action. “A one fly fits all model for success,” said Brammer. “7-8 inches of buck tail goodness that will fool walleye, bass, pike, musky, and even some heavy set trout.”

On the strip this fly darts and weaves through the water column, but on the pause the hairs stand on end. With the perfect color pattern on this fly, those standing hairs look like the flared gills of a macho, pissed off sunfish trying to take on any fish that swims by, classic little guy Napoleon complex. “I wanted a fly that had a steep profile such as a perch, or crappie and a good left/right ‘dig’ action,” said Brammer. Any cruising pike or musky that sees that will be sure to try and teach that sunfish a lesson. Hang on tight.

Big Flies Mean Big Fish
Learn to fish these giant flies from Gunnar Brammer so you can start hooking up now.

Big Booty Deceiver Recipe: 

Rear Hook: 2/0 Partridge Attitude Streamer Hook

Tail: 2x Strung Chinese Saddle Hackle

Tail: Craft Fur

Wing: Stacked Bucktail

Flash: 4 strands (50/50 tie in ratio) Holographic Flashabou

Wing: Reverse tied Craft Fur

Front Hook: 4/0 Partridge Attitude Extra

Body: Stacked Bucktail

Material Dam: Flymen 1/8” Chocklett’s Body

Wing: Reverse tied Bucktail, butts flared with bodytubing

Flash: 4 strands (50/50) Holographic Flashabou

2nd Wing: Reverse tied Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe/Craft Fur

Head: Fish-Skull 8.5mm Fishmask

Eyes: Fish-Skull 8.5mm Living eyes

Gunnar Brammer's BULKhead Musky
If forced to choose, Gunnar Brammer would only fish the BULKhead Musky fly pattern and nothing else.

BULKhead Musky

Though the concept for Brammer’s BULKhead Musky had been gestating in his head for a long time, he lacked the design chops to make it all come together exactly as he had thought it up. “I read Bob Popovic’s most recent book, Fly Design and it changed my life,” said Brammer. “I was able to fill in the gaps with smart design where I was struggling to bring my fly to life. Trailing shanks off of a lead hook gave me the ability to fine-tune my fly size and bulk, while keeping the fly light.”

Those smart design choices at the vice allowed Brammer to create a fly with action like he’d never seen before. “The neutral buoyancy of the head gives the fly so much hang-time and it hovers perfectly in the strike window,” he said. “On the strip the push of water sends the head frantically from side-to-side and then suddenly to a complete stop, allowing the slick tail to coil up.” A straight, slow pull will send a wave of water along the length of the fly, bringing it to life. If forced to make the choice, Brammer says the BULKhead Musky would be the only pattern in his arsenal. “It is simply alive,” he said.

Even Bass Like Big Pike Flies
Even if you’re after big pike or musky you can fool bass with Gunnar Brammer’s Predator flies.

BULKhead Musky Recipe:

Rear Shank: Fish-Skull 20mm Fish-Spine

Tail: 2x Strung Chinese Saddle Hackle

Flash: Holographic Flashabou

Wing: Spun Bucktail

Shank: Fish-Skull 20mm Articulated Shank

Wing: Spun Bucktail

Flash: Holographic Flashabou

Hook: 3/0 Partridge Universal Predator X

Body: Bucktail, and reversed tied bucktail

Flash: Holographic Flashabou, 1/64th Micro Lateral Scale

Material Dam: Fish-Skull 1/8” Chocklett’s Body Tubing

Head: 2x Bucktail bulkhead stacks

Gunnar Brammer's Signature Tyer Series Flies
Gunnar Brammer’s Signature Tyer Series Flies are giant flies, meant to catch giant fish.

Critter Get’er

In fishing for big apex predators, the bigger and flashier the fly, the better chance you have at hooking up, as long as the action is right. Brammer was inspired by the giant flies of Daniel Holm, and Niklaus Bauer and started sketching and tying to create a version that blended their two styles. “The rear hook is inspired by many of Daniel’s big fly fiber pike flies, and the front resembles Niklaus’ flash flies,” said Brammer.

No matter how a fly looks though, it all comes down to the action. “The flash hackle moves tauntingly at all times,” said Brammer, “while the big fly fiber tail coils and unloads like a spring on the pause.” He said the flies work especially well in tight water, often resulting in a reactionary bite. “They are easily smacked around, slapped up on a bank and quickly jerk-stripped to escape, causing big bites,” he said.

Pike Will Mess Up Your Pretty Flies
Some flies are too pretty too fish, but Gunnar Brammer’s should be fished anyways, no matter how chewed they get.

Critter Get’er Recipe:

Hook: 4/0 Partridge Attitude Extra

Tail: Big Fly Fiber

Wing: Spun Bucktail

Flash: Magnum Holographic Flashabou

Wing: Reversed Craft Fur

Shank: Fish-Skull 40mm Big Game Shank

Material Dam: ¼” Chocklett’s Body Tubing

Wing: Spun Bucktail

2nd Wing: Reversed Craft Fur

3rd Wing: Flashabou Hackle

Eyes: Fish-Skull 10mm Living Eyes

Head: Loon Outdoors UV Epoxy

Fish Topwater For Big Esox
Need an adrenaline rush like nothing else in fishing? Fish Gunner Brammer’s topwater patterns.

Pike Diver

If running a streamer in the middle of the water column after giant esox isn’t enough of a thrill for you then turn up the excitement by throwing topwater (also, you might be an adrenaline junkie). The swirl of a giant predator on your topwater fly will be so big and sudden you might not know what to do if it actually hits. “Seeing a 30-inch fish crush a stalled diver, the arc of green and yellow flash broadside as your line begins to tighten, the vibrations sent through the rod into your forearm–it’s just freaking fun,” said Brammer.

You can work Brammer’s Pike Diver just like you would if you were chasing after largemouth bass. Plenty of pauses will cause stalking fish to take advantage of the easy target and slam it. “Imagine a wounded fish unable to control its air bladder slowing rising to the surface,” said Brammer. “It’s an action that truly captivates the term desperation, trying with all its might to get back down to safety with life depending on it. I want to imitate that! I’m not sure if it matters what species it resembles as long as it is desperate, it’s fair game.”

Pike Diver Recipe:

Hook: 3/0 Partridge Universal Predator X

Tail: Curled Big Fly Fiber

Wing: Spun Bucktail

Flash: Holographic Flashabou

Wing: Craft Fur

Head: Stacked Deer Hair

Eyes: Fish-Skull 7mm Living Eyes

Get your own box of Gunnar Brammer's Flies
Get your own box of Gunnar Brammer’s Flies now in the latest Postfly Signature Tyer box.

The limited run of Gunnar Brammer’s Signature Tyer Series boxes means these bad Larrys are going to sell out fast. Make sure to pick up your Predator Flies box here, and you might want to add a Big Ass Fly Box to keep them in–these flies are big.



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