My favorite season is Fall or what I like to call “Musky Season.” You can catch Musky in any season in rivers and lakes, but there is nothing like a beautiful fall Musky that has been feeding in preparation for winter. They are known as the fish of 10,000 casts with 700 teeth, 2 of them actual canines. What’s not to like?
It amazes me the odd looks I get when I tell people my passion is Musky on the fly.
A Musky is built like a submarine, but approaches like a torpedo. The bulk of my fishing is done solo and whether it is wade or drift boating fishing, both are equally thrilling. The upside to wade fishing is that you get to feel the fish brush up against you as you try to remove the fly from its cavernous mouth. It is a humbling experience being next to one of these monsters. Since most people use a drift boat to chase the 50 inch dream, I will focus on those experiences.
It being a newer sport coupled with the fact that I am a female makes for quizzical glances. For the most part people don’t think of Musky and Fly Fishing in the same breath, since historically Musky get fished using bait casting gear. Having started out as a bait caster, I can enthusiastically state nothing beats taking a Musky on a fly rod.
Other than their physical attributes, what makes Musky on the fly so addicting? Is it getting to lift an amazing fish up for a photo? Is it the epic follow or what I like to call the “glide-by tease,” where they literally glide by the side of the boat so close that if you bent over you could touch them from nose to tail; that is a sheer power glide right there and not even a foot below the water level.
It is equal parts glory and frustration – that is what it is. Imagine if you will a 40+ inch fish clearing the water to pounce on a fly! Or the yard dog Musky picking its massive head out of the water and flaring its gills at you, shaking its head at your fly as if to say “get that junk out of my yard!” Then, there is the Musky that, if you are lucky, will start to follow your orange and black double Buford to the boat just to get half way there and decide “nope, I wanted that hot pink, white and black articulated streamer right there in the boat box. Oh well, today is not your day.”
Musky can be more finicky than a cat.
I guarantee you will have more Musky encounters than landed fish. To me, these are just as exciting as landed fish, but still haunt my nightmares. There is the nightmare Musky that took my fly and immediately headed hot to the boat, unable to strip set her just to lose her at boat side. Another nightmare occurred when I had a Musky come up at the last second in a black pool near a dam just as I started to pull my fly out of the water. She literally came straight up from the deep … and she was huge, as all the lost ones are. Watching her slide back down into that pool of darkness I swore she looked me in the eye and whispered at me and said “Not today.” That eye haunts me still to this day. And, of course, there is the repeating nightmare of everything I could have, should have done differently. I realize though, it is no use. In Musky fishing, some things cannot be avoided.
These are my hauntings.
This is Musky on the fly.