Monday, June 15, 2009

Taming the Tiger....Rocky Mountain Tiger Musky

Oh my… I suppose you could say that I got a tad bit busy…OK... very busy. I've got a lot coming up. Probably too much on my plate but I'm going to try and get this updated... key word... plate ha ha ha

This winter the thought of Tiger Musky grew stronger every day. Grizz dubbed it “mushy musky brains”. Months down the road we realized this quote was more than spot on. The past spring the crew slipped up to the north scouting, fishing, studying and waiting for the right time to hit it. For two-months we pounded the banks, or as my good fishing buddy says ‘mowed the banks’, tied flies, changed tactics, lines, read books, talked to the old guards, studied videos and learned a ton about leaders, etc, etc. It never ceased to amaze me how picky these fish can be so a full arsenal is a must.

They’d chase our fly all the way to the boat, for 10 casts, then, out of nowhere they attack with authority. The first hit is what drives us. It’s a fantastic feeling to experience, one I will always long for, one everyone should encounter. Now losing a fish to a poor hook set also comes with a feeling, doesn’t matter that your turn on the front of the boat is over but the disappointment with yourself to negotiate within a spit second angle, power and leverage. These critters have exceptionally hard mouths, bony mouths; occasionally he standard strip-set was swiftly out maneuvered. A more direct approach by setting head on, rod aimed straight into their eyeballs, countered their maneuvers quite nicely… a little tip that was pickup by doing some homework. BUT even then it as amazing how long they’d fight before relaxing their powerful jaws and releasing the harmful hook covered with fancy materials back to the angler.

Over time word spread as others were reading the same chapter. The fish were beginning to get hammered. The parking lots were filling up; a few times twenty trailers neatly parked could be counted just in the lower lot alone. We observed dozens of fish with large rapalas, flies, hooks and leaders stuck in their jaws. Two of these fish were seen from a short distance jumping high in the air and shaking their heads trying to dislodge these foreign objects. One in particular leaped a few times and you could clearly hear the rattle of the jerk bait. I know we were just as guilty of being parted off as anyone, it really made us think about our strategy and about our own personal philosophy. For us it’s mainly due to using mono incorrectly, as in too light for the job. It’s was a card toss really; using wire yielded us fewer fish this year than last, also fewer strikes. But all fish were landed if hooked. Mono on the other hand was very successful and our hits tripled, causing our success rate to go up but getting parted off brought the ratio back down… what to do. So we took a stab at trying to break it all down. This is the fun part in fishing, the learning. The issue is using light mono, say 20-25lb, while it preformed OK for smaller fish the larger 30-40+ ers snapped it like a giant breaking a toothpick. Not good. We upped the ante and settled on 40-50lb, so far its work well for us. Don’t get me wrong, guys do well with wire but for us and our style of fishing, as the season grew busier and bustling with people, fishers and wake boarders, wire was getting rejected more often than not. So for now, were going with what we know learned ; )I’m certain there are those that will say the complete opposite and I’d love to fish with them to see their style… as you can never learn enough.

All in all the season was a success. It was a great chapter in our early stages of Musky fishing learning. Good friends, good food, bad weather and odd camping arrangements made for an awesome adventure. I can’t wait till next year!!


Scott said...

Nice hat! Oh, and nice fish. Love me some toothy critters!

Troutdawg said...

Love the Tigers and man do I wish I could get one this Year! Time for another trip to New Mexico~

wyoflyfish said...

Looking forward to this story... I have only ever caught one muskie (in Canada) and that was on terminal tackle. Someday I hope to find one on the fly. Maybe this will be the year??? I hope so.

mike doughty said...

hopefully next week i can complete this chapter in my fly fishing life.

BG said...

Well I finally posted it! You guys need to go and get one, its a great time.

Mike - good luck man!

mike doughty said...

wait.....i meant next year not next week