Yup, you read it right. Like muskies at the end of November isn’t humbling enough for most musky hunters, let’s throw catching one on a fly into the mix.
When Charlie called me from Tennessee all excited because he had just won the Tennessee Invitational on a fly and told me he wanted to come up here and throw flies at muskies the last week of November I asked him in all seriousness if he had any idea what he was actually in for. Last year I had three guys from Houston in town for a conference and they wanted a go on the Ottawa at muskies. One guy never got off his seat and I never saw more than his eyes behind his balaclava, and the other two just kept asking me how it was possible that I wasn’t wearing gloves while they shivered away. Charlie assured me that if I could put him on muskies that he would catch them.
Off we went last Thursday. If he had any doubt of what to expect he had a rude introduction to the realities of the situation as we had to wait 15 minutes for the boat to thaw from the trailer. When you look at the picture and see Charlie holding the rope next to my Crestliner you might not realize that the trailer is stuck to the bottom of the boat.
After that was solved we headed out onto one of the first windless days on the river in weeks. How lucky was that. I honestly thought I was going for a nice fall boat ride and if I didn’t get a fly in the head that it would be a day well spent. I looked over Charlies collection of giant flies from all over the world and picked out a couple of big ones. Twenty minutes after that, while I was still sipping my coffee and wiping sleep from my eyes, the water EXPLODED beside the boat and we both watched a 4-foot class fish roll on his bait. It was a jaw dropping moment for me I must admit and apparently I was going to musky school today.
After tying a nice trailer hook into the big fly, we continued to work a school of bait fish for a couple more hours but couldn’t raise another fish. Quickly we were off to chuck some structure and smaller pockets of bait fish in shallower water.
Spot number 2 produced another great take at boat side and a 40 inch fish cut the 100 lb leader like thread. Twice unlucky but again amazed and thrilled to witness this.
A short time later Charlie had a ‘nice take’ as these fly guys say and his rod was bent under the boat. It took a while to get that fish out and I was so ready to net Charlie’s first ORMF musky when this great big pike (by Lower Ottawa River standards anyway) appeared. Immediate disappointment hit me smack in the face as a pike has no value to a musky guy. That was quickly overcome by Charlie’s great joy at just catching the largest pike of his 68 years!
At the end of the day we headed back to fish bait fish and were finally rewarded with a musky on the fly. It is a great accomplishment for Charlie and he will no doubt get a bigger one the next time we share a boat together. I would never have said that about a fly guy before today but I had never met Charlie.
Thanks for taking me musky school Charlie.
John M. Anderson
We produce BIG fish!!
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