Musky, My Current Addiction of Choice!

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The fever has hit!

By Mike Corrigan

A number of years ago as editor of the Manitoba Fly Fishers Association (MFFA) I wrote an article on the evolution of the fly fisher. Really, it was about how the addiction to fly fishing drives you to more and different species, locations, and opportunities. Your addiction to fly tying also gets dragged along for good measure! 

Moving to Manitoba in 2014 has really opened my world to the sheer number of species that we can target locally for our “fix”. With the move also came a whole other need to upgrade some of my equipment, especially the fly lines; but that is a topic for another time. 

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I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to do several hundred days of sight fishing for numerous Saltwater species as well as the famed Brown Trout of New Zealand. So, this is where my addiction has taken me; the adrenaline rush of seeing the fish take the fly. 

FIRST MUSKY

I caught my first Musky in 2017 with the help of a friend in Kenora, who was new to fly fishing, but eager to give it a go. Together we found fish and fly patterns that found the fish. The Musky in the lakes we fished seem to top out at 34″, not bad but like most addictions you want more. So, Recently, I decided to step things up a bit and hired a guide to try and find some larger fish. 

HOOKED MAGAZINE PROVIDES REFERENCE!

I re-read the “Hooked” Special Edition, 2019 issue and contacted a guide by the name of Glenn McDonald out of Vermillion Bay. Glenn runs a guiding outfit call Buck-Tails Hunting and Fishing. He had never had a fly fisher in the boat but he was game to give it a try and learn at the same time. 

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We met in Vermillion Bay and traveled north to a lake he felt confident we could get into some fish. Glenn, a very personable individual, has a passion for catching Musky. I rigged up my 10 weight Temple Fork Mangrove rod and Ross Big Game reel, with a Musky Taper RIO fly Line. The leader set up is 18″ of 30 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon, with 5-6′ of 20 lb Seaguar, and a hand tied “Knot 2 Kinky” 25 lb wire leader. My fly of choice is an orange Comet Minnow (see the picture), a pattern I came up with a year ago that has caught the majority of my Musky and Pike. The pattern is all of 4″ long, very small by Musky standards; tied on a size #2 barbless hook. 

NO WIND- NO PROBLEM

The lake was dead calm when we launched his low profile Bass boat and after a short ride it was game on. Cast number 5 or 6 produced a small Tiger Musky, my first ever! During the day Glenn piloted the boat to likely spots and with the exception of a few stops we saw Musky, and sometimes multiple fish, at every location. All told we saw 20- 25 fish, with some topping out at over 40″. I ended up landing 2 Tigers and 2 Musky, the largest being 35″, which is a personal best. I “jumped” 2 more, but the follow and the anticipation of a take is the addictive part about these top Predators. 

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Glenn was surprised at how well the day had gone and I coaxed him into trying to cast after watching me and asking questions. On his second cast he actually had a follow! Glenn also observed that as fly fishers we generally don’t get the chance to get the fish on the reel as most takes are boat-side. So, we end up fighting the fish with tension on the rod and the fly line. His one comment was that he coaches guests to never stop reeling when they have a fish on. 

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So, it turned out to be a tremendous day all around. I found a personable and knowledgeable individual to share the day with and Glenn got to see how effective fly fishing can be. I encourage all who are struggling to locate that bucket list fish to hire a guide. 

(Mike Corrigan is currently President of the Manitoba Fly Fishers Association, a very active club in Winnipeg, MB)

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