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  1. Default Musky on the Fly

    Since we have some interested souls around here on the topic of musky on the fly I'll share a little tale about going Zero to Hero as we say up in Musky Country.

    I'll keep this thread active with stories and musky porn as long as it stays fresh. Great time of the year to have discussions, debate, share tales, tell some lies and generally advance our knowledge.


    Thunder and Lightening on a Clear Day

    Like a bolt from the blue your life can be changed in a fly fishing instant while on the trail of the mighty musky. This elusive predator provides a special challenge to any angler taking up the task of taking one on a fly. Where I come from we live by the motto Zero to Hero as a way of reminding ourselves how quickly fortunes can change on the musky trail.

    On October 16th 2008 the fortunes of three fly anglers changed forever in the blink of an eye when a very fishy moment brought them and the changing face of the sport into a new light. I was lucky enough to have a seat on the crazy boat that day and I am still tingling from the aftershock.

    Looking at the digital timestamp on the images taken on my camera that day tell me it was 2:04pm when Hayward Angler Derek Kuehl hoisted the first of a pair of trophy musky we had just landed up for a hero shot. Guide Tom Greenup had moments before slipped the big net under the other fish I had hooked first, simultaneously fought along with Derek’s and subsequently landed last.

    Fly fishing for muskies is slowly gaining a glamour status in the changing landscape of our sport and is beginning to raise eyebrows as a force to be reckoned with even in the most traditionally minded fishing circles. In northern Wisconsin the muskellunge is a celebrated species having communities name their geographical slogans after this tough fish – Musky Capitol of the World in the case of Boulder Junction and Home of World Record Musky in my adopted hometown of Hayward.

    Musky fishing in northern Wisconsin has always held a high profile place in the sporting spotlight. The fish of 10,000 casts has launched at least as many fishing fantasies every summer for the last three quarters of a century. Tales of extraordinary catches spread like wildfire each and every summer and occasionally one of these catches holds true.

    Growing up in Wisconsin as a fishy little critter I had always idolized the Northwood’s legends of musky anglers – men like Louis Spray, Cal Johnson, Ray Kennedy and Tony Rizzo. Not to be left out in the hunt to cure musky fever were women like Delores Ott – Lapp and Gypsy Rose Lee. These were folks who battled big fish in epic fights and had their tales told by campfire and bar light all across the fishing landscape.

    I dreamed of an encounter of my own one day. I literally have been haunted by visions and dreams of landing an epic musky. My lust to find myself in the fighting seat has shaped my entire existence and to be honest with you I doubted I would ever be part of truly epic catch until that afternoon when we finally had both fish in hand.

    Tom Greenup and I work the same water and have always said "Hey lets fish together sometime..." as guides tend to do when they run into each other. We had been say this for years but that is how thing roll. You either have to make it a priority to get together and make time or rely on serendipity.

    Serendipity Knocks

    Well I got a call from good fishing buddy Derek from Hayward Derek is a full on musky junkie and I row for him several times a season. Derek had a trip booked with Greenup and his partner cancelled out so D-Rock calls me up and wonders if I want to run as tailgunner...

    The ball was set in motion and here is my play by play

    I had a day off coming and was like - “Hell Yes!"

    I love fishing from the back seat! Some of the greatest driftboat catches ever have been from the backseat eh.

    Ol Greenup is a pros pro too. Great guide and has his game AJSQUAREDAWAY. Knows his water very well.

    Connected you might say.

    We drew a tough slot. Beautiful fall day. Fishing was rugged! I farmed out a nice 20# class fish that struck savagely and deeply bent the rod but came unpegged instantly - two hours into the float.

    Lots of casting. Retrieve all the way back to the boat. Every time.

    Time your shot. Derek is the prince of the boat. You are the one with the head on the swivel. Batting clean-up. Taking the angle shots. In the rear with the gear...

    Throwing ungodly backhanded stuff.

    Strip, strip, strip, pause...

    Man these flies are cool. They move they shimmy they shake…how can they not get pounded? Focus, believe…

    Derek boated a small northern and had very neutral follows from a couple of fish. I missed another muskie that struck deep coming at me...and then kept coming after inhaling the fly.

    Bumrushed we call it. Oh ****...strip, strip, strip...sweep set back...go high...lipstick...****...headshake deep mouth open...shake, shake, shake...gone!

    Great take though. 32"ish and super barred. Would have been a cool fish.

    Four and a half hours in. Doubt creeps in a little. wee little mind you. Only natural.

    Been something like five years since I had a real day off a client treated to a professional row down a cats-ass piece o water. My fishing generally comes in small bursts...scouting trips, guides days off, dawn/dusk know dropping by the jobsite.

    I was in HEAVEN mind you. What with the ducks and grouse and timberdoodles and complete lack of any human being...just three guys on a river each playing their role well. Taking their licks...earning chops...

    We were getting beat up though. Getting dealt a hand of junk is just another day at the office on the muskie trail.

    Derek is prone to lots of verbal "wondering" and second-guessing in the silent spells. Everyone copes how they may.

    I brood and stalk and focus more. I like the toughest possible situation. The one that makes 99.9% of the angling population want to wipe their behinds and take a nappy poo...

    "Shut up and keep casting. We can be heros today. Everythings in place. It may be ten minutes of glory time but we got all day."

    We had all day. Wow. I really liked that.

    Agreed. Put in another dip o cope. Hit some vitamin C. Refocus.

    After lunch we approached a place we call "Old Glory".

    All day Tom, Derek and I recounted places fish were caught, seen, missed, heard about...imagined, **** it was fun getting mostly skunked with those two fellas.

    Derek was babbling about Old Glory all day. He is prone to getting his constitution all mucked up the night before a muskie hunt. Gets all amped up.

    Night before he was up. Having spells. He gets these muskie energy vibs...puked twice in the early AM before dawn. Showed up game though...tough little ****er for a fabric hawker...

    Old Glory...Old Glory...

    We heard about Old Glory from the get go. He was hearing a low vibe...a sub migrane hum...approaching as the day wore on...

    I had been tossing mainly big, double patterns...chickens, articulated Beaufords...things I call Double Trouble most of the day.


    I got both my black eyes on single hook patterns. Black and purple. Tough day flies.

    Spent two and a half hours working Double Troubles and two and a half hours servicing smaller patterns...working off of Dereks whims...he switches flies randomly and I say he is prone to "wondering" and second-guessing...I need to pay attention to what and where he is working and do my best to play off it and counter it.

    Covering every inch of the river I can reach - doing it well is one of the toughest acts to pull off in all of freshwater angling. It is physical and mental and you can not give an inch. Greenup was putting me down some dangerous water and I had to come up with the goods.

    Had to. Blind casting a ten weight for 5 and a half hours and getting spanked and asking for more. More!

    Being the tailgunner is playing for slop...using the front man and the guy on the sticks as fodder...bring em in boys and I'll close the dealio...

    Water is very low and very clear. We are seeing structure all day for the first time - junk that is almost always covered with water and/or stain. Learning.

    Always learning.

    Logic has had me working neutral and natural patterns most of the day. Match the hatch stuff.

    Five and a half hours into it and now I am going to lock down and have fun. I am going to fish it home for me.

    I know what is in front of us and I have enough mustard left to cover it all like an ace relief pitcher. I am going to work it all hard. No one else exists...just me and the river and the fly.

    I go with the Orange Beauford. A new version on a big fat assed 6/0 I got down at Thorne Bros. last time I was in the Cities...I liked the way the heavy hook allowed control with the buoyant fly on a sinking line - just the right amount of sink and swim.

    You got to be a total control freak in this stage of the game. You have to know every angle and how to get your puppet to swim through it just so…

    I made sure the hook was sharpened to almost illegal levels...

    Booby Fishing.

    English call fishing a buoyant pattern on a sinking line Booby Fishing.


    Heck Ya!

    Like I said I was fishing the way home for myself. Orange Beauford. Boobies.

    I love starin at em both!

    Well old Beauford was fishing well. That orange was painting a good swath.

    Greenup agreed. I caught him watching it back to the boat more often than anything else all day.

    I lost track of Derek for about fifteen minutes or so it seemed. When you hit a zone things more than a few feet away can fade.

    I lots track of everything. In that grand way that only a fully immersed fishing fix can provide.

    Then it happened. Off the bank. River left.

    Like a deer way too far out in the headlight to be sure. But instinctively you know. Your guts tighten.

    Like a big buck way out there. You know.

    You can feel the evil fish. It moves more like a serpent than anything.

    You exhale "OOOOOO"

    The other two humans look over at where you had cast. Greenup is holding the boat above the rapids that lead into Old Glory and Derek has just made a cast 45 degrees off the front down on the end of the bank.

    They are looking over as she swims into sight behind Beauford.

    "This is a big one boys!" I say.

    They know. They know.

    I got the speed and the room to close the deal. I had backhanded a good shot up on the rocks and the fish had moved within the second or third pull.

    When you throw up close the fish can swirl from either side of the fly...sometimes they face downstream it would seem to us...but the slack eddies often run counter to the main current up close to shore and the fish face "downstream" but into a slight eddie current.

    Othertimes they are facing upstream properly.

    Well this one was below the fly and I had shot a 60 foot backhand off the back of the boat on river left. The cast was just ahead of the oarsmans 90 so I was kind of stripping it back at the boat...past Dereks 45 rear and right off Greenups left...

    The fish charged, once! twice!

    ****. What SPORT! ****!!

    This is where everything slows way down. Way down.

    Instinct takes over. Many many years and hours of fishing. Of all varieties - bait casting, spinfishing, fly all meld into one.

    Hours and hours of watching from the oarsmans seat.

    It's now. It's in the moment when the one of the biggest musky in 30 years of hunting them...shows behind your got to keep it together sportsfans. You got to keep it together at this point.

    Time is suspended. You all three agree on this after the fact.

    I hang that junk out there. I have tied it and tried it for this situation. It’s purebred. It’s spectacular.

    Twitch. That mean ***** is coiling up and wow does she have a HUGE head!


    Glitter, Glitter‚ Fluff…


    She just inhales your ass-like a piece of popcorn into a Dyson!.

    Fuuuuuuuuuuupppp! Gone.

    Well long story longer.

    I stick. Fish freaks. She is ON!

    Derek and Tom and I realize we have a Game On situation.

    Derek returns attention to his previously made cast. Strip, strip…



    He screams and the hawg he just stuck starts thrashing down in front of the boat above the rapids!

    No ****.

    Muskie Double on a fly. BIG muskie double on a fly!

    Greenup is brilliant. Almost 100 inches of fresh river muskie on in difficult skinny water above a rapids.

    He rowed up out of harms way and around and around while our fish went nutso.

    Mine was just all over the place but I kept her tight and tried not to panic her. Just nagged and kept her in check as best I could.

    Derek put the wood to his fish. A very hot and heavy 45” class fish.

    I had to watch as it all went down holding a 10weight with a full sinking line high up attached to a huge 50”+ fish that was taking a backseat. Derek fought it well and Tom made a quick netjob. Lordy there was a million things that could have went wrong up till now and we are ˝ way there!

    Tom drops the net on Derek and gets back on the oars to keep things in check and rows over on my fish a bit and gives me a break.

    Derek is out of his fish quickly - with a brief hand from Tom…fish goes into the bottom of the boat and it is still pissy and a bit green and whomp fest insues up front as she protests the act unfolding.

    But all eyes are now on the other big beast.

    She is angry but pretty well beat. I worry about the flouro bite guard. She has been on a while now and has been way out thrashing and there is no sight of the flyâ₦only leader sticking out of her mouthâ₦

    A couple of drive bys and then Tom gets the net under her!



    The moment and the realization come together and we are all overjoyed. What Sport!

    Man Zero to Hero in the blink of an eye.

    I told Tom after we had revived and released both fish “Man, if I was trout fishing or wading in somewhere and I got into something like this I would just sit down and then go home. How do you top something like that?”

    “I do not know. But you are going to keep fishing. We have some good stuff ahead.”

    Like I said the man is a true pro.

    I kept fishing and got another nice fish - a 38”er that took a double beauford and fought hard. Pulling the boat around and making us laugh. The fish pulled like a beast.

    Like a beast.

    It was a fun capper to a tough and ultimately rewarding day. But I was on cloud nine and you coulda poured cold water down my back and punched me in the gut and it would not have spoiled my mood.

    It was one that I will have seared into my memory for as long as I am alive. I’ll remember the quality of air and light. The beauty of the woods and the water. The camaraderie and stories we shared.

    And of course I’ll remember the fish. Those glorious and mysterious creatures. It’s all about them really. We are just actors in a big drama that they are the stars of.

    I did fish the rest of the way home. I did it for me. It paid off and I got to be a part of something grand.

    Thunder and Lightening on a Clear day is how Derek put it.

    I agree.

  2. Likes mirabelasunshine liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    Excellent presentation! Great fish! Good pictures, I think that will do.

    By the way, I missed your very first post so I will say, Welcome to the group at this time.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    Afton-- great stuff-- an outstanding catch and a GREAT story well told. Very cool!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    that is one hell of a fish story....
    Welcome aboard
    Dave Watts

    To me, the journey of learning is almost more fun than arriving at the destination of knowing.

  6. Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    Glad to be aboard!

    Happy New Year to you all from Musky's pretty dang colt up here it is now. Mercury was at -20F this morning. Takes the breath away eh?

    Well the Musky Tribe is happy to have our first ever fly fishing film done. The Musky Chronicles was shot last season by our mate Lee Church. Churchy is an MD resident who has a jones for musky on the fly and is a guy who by his own admission gets stuff done (Dude, I'm a doer)...

    Lee got it done right proper with this film. We are proud of him.

    Check out the trailer:


  7. #6

    Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    that was an awesome video! is most of that footage from around the Hayward area? i have a lake house in Minocqua, WI, and i'm really hoping to hit the pike and musky hard next may. did i also see that you are a guide based near Hayward?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    Those are the 2 biggest muskies ive EVER seen! And you caught that on a fly pole. you guys must know what your doing when your landing muskies that big

  9. Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    how to break the ice...

    This was about a decade ago now. I can still feel the air and re-reading the words gets the hackle up on my neck!

    One of my favorite things about being a musky on the fly guide is that every season I get to share in the moment of an anglers first fly rod musky several times each season.

    Here was my first for the 2009 season one of our young up and coming anglers in The Musky Tribe - a talent young Wisconsin man named Weston - aka Kid Rock

    Here is my tale of The First One - enjoy!

    Tackling the fish of 10,000 casts on a fly rod is not for those anglers with attention deficit disorder. Musky on the fly come to those anglers willing to pay their dues, the anglers utterly devoted to their craft and the anglers who’s picture appears next to the word patience in the dictionary.

    Sure there are tales of guys who get a musky the first time they try for them with a fly rod. There are also stories about wild action with the musky coming fast and furious to the fly from some destination lake. These are stories and tales for the most part. I am not saying they don’t or couldn’t happen. I am just letting you know that the reality of taking a musky on the fly is as sobering and even more so than getting one on regular gear for most anglers.

    Check your skirts at the door ladies and gentlemen. If you want to join the elite club of anglers with a fly caught musky notch on their angling belt be prepared to work your butt off. After you connect (and you eventually will if you stick with it) be prepared to be totally hooked - you may not want to go back to regular musky fishing. The thrill of a musky on the fly rod is one of the top experiences in freshwater angling.

    I know anglers that devote an entire season to fly fishing for musky before they boat their first fish. I got my first fly caught fish at the end of a long summer of decent action but no hook ups.

    My girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife Jennifer) was living in south Minneapolis a couple of blocks off Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. I would spend the night with her and get up before dawn and head down to the parkway surrounding the lakes with my fly rod. This allowed me to hit the water at a prime time for the fish and to be out before the joggers, bikers and other city dwellers began to fill up the trails and get in the way of my back casts.

    I diligently worked my way around the lakes learning all the prime casting positions and ambush points. I fished hard and at all times of day and in all weather conditions. I got follows, blow-ups and refusals but mostly had a lot of casting practice. May, June, July and August passed. I started taking it personally and dug in for a trench warfare battle if needed.

    I stuck with it. I still fished musky with my regular gear and had a good season trolling, casting and live minnow fishing; boating a respectable 11 fish. Most of my angling season was devoted to guiding trout fishing clients fly-fishing the spring creeks of nearby western Wisconsin. This is demanding work and when the trout got ultra fussy I would get away on my own to do some musky angling – about as far from the fine little leaders and tiny flies style of trout fishing as it got. I secretly chuckled to myself when I hucked out a big 10” Sledge pretending it was a little pain in the ass trout that I was feeding to the wolves over on the St. Croix River or on White Bear Lake.

    Being a fly fishing specialist (hey it says so on my business card!) I really felt incomplete without a musky to my credit on a fly rod. I had half heartedly attempted to use the fly rod for those elusive fish in past years – bring it along in the boat and using it on occasion but never really giving it an honest effort. Experience began to tell me that if I was going to put a musky on the beach with the long rod I had better make a serious effort.

    By early September I was dug in deep. I enjoyed spending time with Jen and being able to pursue a new passion down on the urban lakes was a big bonus but I was getting desperate. I need some kind of break.

    One Friday afternoon in early September brought about that feeling of instability in the air that comes with the end of summer and the onset of hurricane season down south. I don’t remember exactly but I think a tropical storm named Brenda (or was it Bruce?) was building out in the Atlantic somewhere. I do remember feeling the musky hackle on the back of my neck stand up and take notice.

    I was enjoying a frosty beverage after work with Jen and some of her coworkers. She was leaving her job and starting a new one and they were planning on a going away evening filled with more frosty beverages and social bar hopping. I kept an eye on the sky and as the evening wore on it became apparent that I would need to excuse myself and get to the lake.

    Jen was cool (hey I married her later – she passed the test in a big way) and wished me luck as I slunk away to my truck and headed for the beach at Lake Calhoun. I always carried a 10 weight, some wading shoes and a selection of musky flies whenever I came into the city - just in case. Sometimes I packed a stepladder or a kick boat depending on the water I was planning on fishing.

    When shore angling with a fly rod you must make allowances for the casting conditions. Wind, pedestrians, landscaping and natural foliage all can present challenges that must be overcome to be successful. It does not take a good angler long to pinpoint a few prime places that are key fish producing spots for a fly chucker. Sometimes I needed to walk out fifteen or twenty yards into the lake to get my cast to a break that drew fish to a spot. The stepladder came in handy giving me a platform to get me out of the waist deep water and keep my back cast high and free of the aforementioned hazards.

    I learned to be creative. I made new acquaintances – people curious as to why a guy would carry a stepladder or a funny looking little pontoon boat down to a lake in the middle of a city to fish. I witnessed all sorts of strange human behavior going on around the lakes in the strange hours that I kept. The local color of the city is very flamboyant at times is all I will say.

    The beach on the south end of Lake Calhoun was a great fly-fishing spot for me. Deep water off shore, a big weed bed on an inside turn and a nice clear swimming area had all of the elements that spoke musky. I witnessed other anglers hooking and landing fish from this area and I had caught a fish here from a boat earlier in my musky career. On the Friday evening in question it was about my only option.

    The wind was out of the south and was building. All of my other south wind spots would be too chocked with folks out and about on a Friday to offer any angling options. I felt good as I waded out next to the swimming area ropes to work the weed edge. The building storm brought a sense of urgency to the atmosphere. Joggers and bikers were scrambling to get in their workouts before the weather hit. Steady jet traffic streamed by overhead as commuters made their way home to the Twin Cities from business trips.

    I was in a zone oblivious to all of the goings on. I love the feeling of wading into a lake to fly fish. It is much more convenient and easier to fish from a boat. However a boat lacks that grounding that really connects you to the present. I can get supremely tuned in when shore fishing and wet wading. Yep, I was in the zone and I was going to make something happen. Tonight was my night. I wondered what Jen was doing and then got into the rhythm of casting the 10 weight.

    I use a stripping basket when doing most of my musky fly-casting. A stripping basket is worn on a belt around the waist. It keeps the fly line from tangling around your feet or in the weeds or whatever else is around to snag it. It allows you to really shoot out far casts and cover water.

    I pick my shore fly fishing musky spots like I pick a good deer stand. I like areas that will provide me a good shot at a cruising fish from a single vantage point. I can then focus on getting distance out of the cast and working my presentation back in as seductively as possible. I do not want to have to relocate too much. Relocating is tedious and limiting. I get set and get to business. I have to believe that the fish is nearby and is going to show. I cover water but I cover the same water. I operate a lot on faith.

    I get in the rhythm of stripping line off the reel into the basket. I then work out the line with a couple of false casts and then build line speed with a move called a double haul. A double haul is like a turbo charger to the fly cast and really gets the line speed up. Then I pick a spot way out there and shoot the line for all its worth. When it all goes well it is a beautiful thing to be a part of. The line in the basket is carried through the guides in a hiss as the cast line pulls it out unrolling over itself as the fly sails to the target.

    Somewhere about ninety to a hundred feet out there the line straightens and the fly stops above the water. There is a nice tug as the energy from the cast jolts back to your hand and the line and fly fall to the water. A long-shooting fly cast takes about ten seconds to complete from false casting (twice – any more is wasted effort) to shooting line to unfurling and splashdown give or take a second. This kind of fly-casting is like hitting a bucket of balls on the driving range with only the driver. You get to swing for the fence.

    It takes time and practice to develop into a good long distance fly caster. Many anglers not familiar with a 10 weight assume the big rod is for the big flies or to fight the big fish. Not entirely true. The 10 weight takes time to get used to. You have to develop the muscles to handle the weight of the outfit but then its real utility becomes apparent. It is the best tool for long distance casting for long periods of time if you let the rod do the work.

    If you do the work you will get gassed in about an hour if you are tough, a half hour if you are normal and fifteen minutes if you are the type who does not like any form of physical discomfort. Most folks are done in about twenty minutes if they are unpracticed. A good caster used to the rod can fire nearly effortless casts all day. Like I said, it is a beautiful thing to be a part of when it is all working well.

    It must be a cool thing to watch as well. After about fifty casts and retrieves I take a break to stretch and observe. The concentration involved is intense and the mind can get weary if not given a break. I look around and realize that I have a peanut gallery watching me cast.

    An elderly couple sitting on a park bench and looking like they are high school sweethearts reunited after fifty years are watching. They smile and the lady waves. I smile back and tip my hat. A father who looks like a sporting man sits in the grass with his well-groomed spaniel and young son. He is explaining the funny looking casting to his curious boy with whom I am sure he will be sharing some memorable father and son angling adventures in the future. A big bosomed, fake blond Barbie doll on roller blades, a greasy little hustler in an open silk shirt and a group of teenagers smoking cigarettes on a rolled out quilt round out the audience.

    They all pause their various social engagements and look at me as if wondering, “Will I continue?” Of course I will and I take a drink from the bottle in the fanny pack and get started with the next set. This time it will be about a hundred casts before I give it a rest and I wonder what will happen before it is all through. Will I still have spectators? Will the storm build and the lightning start and the rain begin falling?

    Fifty casts and retrieves take about twenty five to thirty minutes to complete. If you figure eight minutes of casting and about twenty minutes of actual fishing on the retrieve. I work the fly back slowly giving it pauses and hesitations to mimic a sick, dying or disoriented minnow. Easy prey.

    I think as I retrieve about how it felt to be the slow kid out on the tarmac at recess. The one who was outside the herd and got nailed by the snowball or got pushed into the dog **** by the bullies. Eat me!

    Musky are the wolves in the water. Their position is at the top of the food chain. They are there to weed out the young, old and sick. They are the supervisors who catch you off guard, tap you on the shoulder and ask you if you have got a minute. Next thing you know you are packing your belongings – your fired! *******s.

    The sky is beginning to get that green look to it. You know – that bad color that means someone is loosing the trailer house. The wind is ebbing but still at my back. I am in tune. The casts are true works of art. I am an efficient machine and I don’t even hear the overhead jet traffic anymore. Jen is knocking back a drink in a bar somewhere in the city and I am not even aware.

    Then on about the seventy-fifth cast of this set I get a jolt of lightning up my arm. The fly line snaps tight and the rod bucks down. Somewhere out in the lake an eruption breaks the surface and three feet of silvery fish walks on the surface. Before I can clear the line from my stripping hand it has dashed somewhere off to the left towards the weed bed and is cart wheeling again – this time thirty feet away in a heartbeat and I am fast to it.

    I grunt and raise the rod high to keep the line off the water and out of the weeds. I backup to the edge of the beach and step out of the water onto the sand. The rod is held high and the tip bucks as the fish fights the pressure. I am in control and play it skillfully yet nervously. I really want to beach this one.

    The wind had died down and the surface of the lake is flat. My heart is in my throat and my breathing is heavy and rapid. The fish breaks the surface like an arrow and leaps straight up and shakes through a twisting somersault before knifing back through the same splash it made on its way up. Then in case it didn’t make the point, does it again almost the instant it is back below the surface.

    I hear claps and cheers behind me and slowly become aware that I am not alone on the planet. I hear the overhead sounds of the airplanes again and notice that the air temperature has dropped a few degrees. The sky is dark and the light is fading. It is going to rain.

    I fight the fish to the beach and keep it on a twenty-foot line. I walk backwards and the spent creature follows like an obedient dog. I slide it out of the water onto the sand and it makes a last effort and flips over swapping ends on the sand. I have my first musky on a fly rod!

    I walk over and admire the sleek creature. It is not three feet long but it is over 30” and I am satisfied. It sides are silvery and have faint spots along the flanks. It is shaped like a missile and the fins and forked tail have a tinge of red to them. It freed the fly when it somersaulted and it no longer attached to my line.

    I kneel down and put it back in the water as the first raindrops start to fall from the sky. Someone asks what I caught and I am distracted. I attempt to lift the fish from the water and it explodes away in a rush. Gone.

    “It was a musky.” I say as I stand and gather my rod. I look back and the older couple is still there as is the blond Barbie in her day glow pink tights. The others have gone but there are different souls around who were attracted to the sounds of the battle.

    “I didn’t know there were those in here”, a small lady wearing Birkenstocks says to her similarly shod companion.

    “Neither did I until now”, I mutter and the joke is lost on all but me as the rain starts in earnest and we all disband. I stay on the beach in the fading light and soak in the atmosphere as I get wet.

    I did not expend the 10,000 casts deemed necessary for such a catch but it sure felt like it over the course of the summer. I’ll bet I fired close to 7,000 anyway and I am not disappointed. If you figure about a hundred casts an hour then I guess I had seventy hours into that fish. I am ahead of the curve I figure as I walk over to the truck. I wonder how many more I will need to get the next one. The counter is back to zero.

  10. Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    some porn from Musky Country archives that captures my eye...hope it inspires you as well...

    shamelessselfpromotion-fyi-ifyoulikethiskindastuffcheckout@ournewblogZero 2 Hero - Musky Fly Fishing

  11. Default Re: Musky on the Fly

    hey Brad, i was just wondering, what is your most productive fly for musky? ive seen a picture of your Beuford fly i think, is that the big orange one?

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