I’ve got a couple of trips planned this summer to Canada to go after northern pike, an underappreciated fly-rod fish and one that’s found in some of the wildest places on the continent. While it certainly enjoys popularity with anglers in the Upper Midwest, the pike isn’t sought after by spin- and baitcast anglers like the walleye is, and I think that’s largely a table-fare thing (although I’ve had pike shore lunch, and it’s about as good as it gets). Fly rodders, too, don’t necessarily list pike atop their list of desired fish, even though a pike’s attack might be among the most dramatic in fly fishing.
I’ve become something of an afficianado of underappreciated fly-rod fish. Here in eastern Idaho, I was chasing carp in the Snake River on the fly before most others came to see the carp as not only a strong, and combative fish, but one that also presents a great challenge. And I might be the only guy in the Rockies who delights at catching moutain whitefish. While in south Florida a few years back, I tired of chasing snook up against the mangroves and was thrilled to catch ladyfish right off the beach—their acrobatics are stunning, and they’ll push light tackle to its limit.
Just a few weeks back, I spent an afternoon casting to pan-sized snapper, grunts and small grouper along the reef just off the coast of Mahahual on the Yucatan, with a cruise ship docked in the background—the action was fast, and the fish were a ton of fun.
Variety. It really is the spice of life.
What’s your favorite “underappreciated” game fish? Certainly, we can’t always go after our beloved trout or bass, and for a lot of us, chasing bonefish and permit requires an investment of thousands of dollars. Think close to home. What keeps you entertained? What do you chase with a fly rod that might earn a sideways glance from your fellow anglers?
— Chris Hunt