You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need…..
Ten years ago I had the pleasure of netting Pete Bowman a 50-inch musky here in Prescott-Russell. It was and is the biggest musky of his life and a proud moment because Pete is a true prince in the world of fishing. You can’t find anyone who doesn’t like and respect Pete. He went from winning the biggest bass tournaments in Canada decades ago to becoming one of the most recognizable and best liked people in the outdoor world in Canada and beyond as co-host of the Fish’n Canada TV show for almost 35 years. Having the opportunity to try to better Pete’s best a decade later is a privilege.
When muskies follow the script it is a beautiful and empowering thing for a hunter. It makes you feel like you somehow have a little bit of Kevin Costner in you and indeed you can dance with the muskies. But often muskies have a script of their own. The three days ahead of us looked on paper like day one was going to be the day with clouds, temperature, and humidity. Day two and three were cool blue sky forecasts which means belly to the bottom type of days for the big girls and probably everything else green and gold too. Pete and I decided to fish a little longer on day one to take advantage of the movement motivating conditions. We had a couple of fish that didn’t stick and a beautiful fish that ate Pete at boat side late in the day. The last I saw of that very camera worthy beast was out of the corner of my eye while going for the net when she was thigh-high and shaking like a banshee. I concluded this long day of false optimism for us with a familiar pouty rant;
This is stupid.
I am going home.
Sometimes there is nothing else to say.
Having no fish in the boat on day one meant we would have to put some fish in the boat for day two to take some of the pressure off. No muskies, no show. It is understood. We would have to fish a little harder, again, to make up for lost ground, er fish.
We lost fish that just didn’t eat with enough aggression again, moved two superfish in circles, and did in the end manage to bag a nice one for Pete’s first ever figure eight musky. A score of one means day three would have to produce fish for us.
All you can do in the musky world is fish your best and put the odds in favour as much as possible. The fish come or they don’t. If you do this in the end you will get the fish you deserve. This won’t happen trip by trip but it will happen over time because this simple formula combined time on the water equals musky success. But tomorrow we still have to catch at least two muskies in a stratospheric barometer and one of them has to be big.
Day three came as predicted and we moved nothing in the first eight hours of the day. By the time we filmed a Muskies Canada embedded segment in the afternoon with our president Peter Levick the day had four hours left in it. Failure was looking like an option.
The Ottawa River is home of the original Disney fish. That’s a happy ending musky caught at the tail of a day when hope has mostly left the boat. They gave us the small one we needed as a filler fish and then Pete caught the joyous oh-so-needed fish. Ironically it came on the very spot that we caught our first musky together ten years ago.
In the realm of musky shows this will probably not be classic because there is just not enough fish. It will tell a real story about what musky fishing often is; the hardest fishing of all for the greatest reward that swims. People who cast for muskies earn their reward more than any other anglers. Rewards are far fewer too but in the end we think they are worth it. Life is about the pursuit of the rare and the beautiful. Some people think it is about the trophy but for most it is about the hunt with friends and in the majesty of nature.
Thanks to my friend Mike Kadoura for manning the drone boat and smiling constantly. Mike you are a source of wonderful energy. Thanks to Peter Levick for manning the drone boat and representing Muskies Canada so well once again. Thanks to Jon Hathaway from J and H musky baits for building some of the finest marabou blade baits I have ever seen. They moved and caught muskies for us (https://www.facebook.com/J.H.Baits/). Thanks to Prescott-Russell Tourism and Ontario Tourism for their support (http://www.tprt.ca/en/). Thanks to Ontario Tourism for their support. Thanks to cameramen Sebastian and Mike for enduring the longest shooting days I have seen in the pursuit of that perfect shot. You are a pleasure to share a boat with. And most of all, thanks to Pete Bowman for coming back after all these years. I never fished harder on a shoot, I never saw a host fish harder, and I never laughed more. Pete, you are one of the most fun people I have ever shared a hunt with. See you again in ten.
John M. Anderson
We produce BIG fish!!
be good, do good, live well
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