As anglers, we all remember our first big fish.
Whether it was that 30 inch walleye, 8 pound largemouth, or that 25 inch brown trout a lot of people have their stories about the one they caught, and even more have stories about the one that got away. In my area, here in Wisconsin, most of these big fish stories revolve around the musky. Someone got that 55 throwing bulldogs on that last day of the season in the snow or got that 45 jigging for walleye with only 10 pound test. I am no different. I still remember exactly how it all went down when my personal best finally came up from the depths after hitting a bucktail and slid into the net. While this story isn’t about my biggest musky, it is about one that had more passion, dedication, and heart put into it then all of my other musky combine. This is my first musky on the fly…
It all started last summer after a couple of months burning bucktails. I was just getting bored with it to be honest and wanted to try something new. I had fly fished all my life, teaching myself on the creeks in the driftless area and moving on up to smallmouth and largemouth. After researching fly fishing for musky for a month or two I felt pretty comfortable that I could handle myself, with casting, leader set ups, and fly selection. So I went out and bought a ten weight and on my first trip out had about a mid-30 inch fish come up and miss my fly. It was over after that. I knew right then this is what I wanted to do. After a few more fish lost my first couple of months ended. Over this past winter I spent all my time and more money than I should have trying to perfect my tying. Something about musky flies really has me addicted. There just is a freedom to tying musky flies. There is no set pattern.
After a long winter of tying flies and learning as much as I can, the musky season finally opened. It’s a very
exciting time for all die hard musky fisherman here in Wisconsin but for me I know it’s going to be a rough first month. Just to be honest I SUCK early in the season. So it was even more shocking that when I went out the first week of the season, in 20 mph winds, on a lake I am not very confident in I finally stuck my first musky on the fly. I was throwing a single white fly that I had tied the night before in an area of the lake we had got a tip on. I was stripping really slowly and all of a sudden there was just weight. I strip set and I felt him pull back and all I could think about was please don’t be a pike! When that fish finally hit the net I couldn’t contain myself and I just started yelling. The fish was 32 inches, far from my biggest, but it is a fish that means more to me than any of my other musky. I have gone the rest of the year without even a follow from a musky on my fly rod but that fish is the one that has kept me going. It is that fish that just increased my addiction and motivation to keep pursuing no matter how frustrating or difficult it gets.
By Austin Mitchell