A couple days ago we circled up around a long table littered with florescent feathers. Fly-fishing starts at the vice. Tequila shots, beers, and buffalo chicken dip that left Pike feelin it a few days later- we tie.  Steelhead flies, nymphs, streamers, and for me and Pike, a big articulated musky fly – we were heading out to secret waters that weekend to hunt. Musky flies are tough and require a lot of patience, perseverance, and booze. The longer the fly takes to tie, the more beer is consumed. Needless to say, the fly ended up in better shape than tier. Pink and white.

Fishing for musky is about a moment. It’s a dance. You entice with frantic stripping motions, as the fly twitches, your partner approaches slow and steady from the dark. Most of the time we don’t know we even have a partner until the the fly is at the boat. Then we dip low and swing, hoping that our pause in rhythm does not spook the dancer. It normally does. Dance over. We are left shaken and lonely.

All I wanted was a musky. Muskymuskymusky. I stayed behind and watched a dirty house full of college antics go quiet as everyone had left for the holidays. The musky season was ending so this would be the last chance of the year for me to get my first musky on the fly.

I chose my pink and white tie from a few nights before. I watched as my fly performs the dance. I see the curving arch in the weighted line as it sinks, and the fly at the end gently jerking along the muddy bottom, following the trajectory of the line. Low and slow. Ten minutes into the float, maybe 5th cast and I have a partner, and there was no coaxing about it. This musky did exactly what we hoped and aggressively annihilated my fly. The fly disappears as the white belly flashes. I started screaming before I could get the words “MUSKY” out of my mouth.  Eventually, we get it in the net. First musky, home tie.

We joke about the figure 8 all the time. In theory it works great. Well yea all theory’s sound fuckin good, but something about a take on the figure 8 seems mythological if anything.

Pike sees a v-wake in the water. “Something just moved off the bank at my fly…” As I’m doubting him in my mind, “Musky!” I turn to see the dip in his arm, initiating the figure 8. As he does this, the instant the fly changes direction, mouth opens, teeth exposed, dance on! Pike gets an even bigger musky on the figure 8, a sight that is lucky to be witnessed.

We caught two musky in the final hours of the 2015 musky season. Compared to the summers harvest, we hardly moved any fish. But the fish that we did see were eager to eat, and fatten up for the winter. These fish are truly monsters, and we are lucky to be able to chase them. Musky fishing is an addiction, and I am an addict. Until the spring musky.

Tight lines, and stay core.





2015James MugeleMusky, flytying