Musky are a fish that certainly live up to their name: The Fish of Ten Thousand Casts.
Anyone who has taken the time to chase these slimy beasts knows that it’s not for the faint at heart. What used to be sneaking into a riffley run to delicately present size 20 dry flies is now hauling your ass off for 8 hours with a 10 weight, a 400 grain line and a foot-long fly…only to get skunked. It’s no longer a game of numbers, but a search for that monster fish that will be sure to make you shit your waders. In a perfect world, you’d go out on a nice sunny day with your buddies, some brews and the musky whistle, boat a 50 and be home in time for dinner. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
Often times my buddies ask me something along the lines of “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you fish for something that you can actually catch all day long?” Sure, I could go to the local trout stream and catch a couple dozen mediocre trout, or I could head to Florida and beat up some Snook in the mangroves. Yes, that’s all great, and do my buddies have a point? Probably, but fuck that who cares!
There’s only one way I can describe it to them. FlyFishing for Musky is like picking up chicks at a bar. Sure, anybody can go to the bar and bring home a couple 5’s, but at the end of the day nobody really cares! Chances are you won’t even remember it and the story is equally lame. I compare that to nymphing for dink trout. Everybody needs to get their fix, I get it…but it just gets old after a while. At the same time, let’s say you go out, you’re at the top of your game, somehow the stars align and everything comes together; you’re walking out of that place with a 10 on your arm and grinning from ear to ear. Now that’s what it’s like when you catch a Musky! Sure, it took 15 follows from other beautiful fish that you would have been perfectly fine with, but that’s the price you have to pay to play with the big dogs! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does…sweet Jesus there’s no better feeling.
That’s where Musky Fishing separates the men from the boys.
You are going to get discouraged and you are going to want to give up. You WILL get denied by a beautiful fish that you thought for sure was going to eat on the 8; there’s just no way around it. You have to brush yourself off, get all those negative thoughts out of your head and go to the water confident that today will be the day. Confidence is a key part in the Musky game…just like at the bar. The beauty of it is that if you just keep on casting, I guarantee you that there will be a time when it all comes together and you get a shot at the fish of the lifetime.
Moral of the story: Don’t bring home a 5…always go for the 10.
By Ty Loomis of Keystone Fly Fishing