|Northern on the fly|
I want to talk about the tale of the teeth now. I love to fish for toothy predators. Probably my favorite fish to target on a fly are those with some serious dentition- northern pike, muskellunge, bowfin, and gar all come to mind. What is pretty astonishing though is that many fish we angle for do have teeth whether we know it or not. Bass and trout do indeed have teeth. I will get to that later.
|Needle sharp teeth|
|Drum pharyngeal teeth|
|Crawdad munchin' drum|
So what do these two examples have to do with tossing feathers? Well, with the gar I use a wire leader because of their teeth. I probably could get away with using just hard monofilament because the teeth aren’t really cutting teeth, but the wire works well. Do I use a special leader system with the drum? Nope. No need.
|Can't see them but there are some teeth below the fly|
|Look at the teeth on that bass-turd!|
|Ya gots some algae for me?|
How about some of my favorite fish- pike and musky? These guys have teeth baby! Lots of teeth. The muskellunge has over 450 teeth in the upper jaw alone. Check those choppers out! Some serious canine teeth coming up out of the lower jaw don’t you think? What a great way to impale a prey item to keep it in your mouth. Then look at the upper jaw. Most of those teeth are facing backward. This is a very effective way of preventing your prey from getting away. What goes in can’t come out, at least not very easily. Keep this in mind if a pike or musky clamps down on your hand. Try to resist yanking it back out because you will cause yourself a lot more damage.
|Pike below, musky on top|
|Look at those canines!|
Getting to know fish teeth will help you understand your angling quarry a lot better. Knowing the tale of the teeth helps you understand what a fish eats. When you know what a fish eats you will be able to replicate that fish’s prey with an appropriate fly much more effectively. Ultimately it will help you prepare for situations that you may find yourself in while targeting them. That means you should catch more fish. Do your homework! (don’t you feel like you are back in school?)