I was lucky enough to have a good friend in engineering school who was a di- hard fly-guy that got me turned onto this sport a few years back. After school he went up to Virginia for a job (apparently you got to have one of those) there he began to chase the fish of 10,000 cast on the Shenandoah. Now this kid has probably put in 30,000 cast and doesn’t have anything to show for it except a strong shoulder and a handful of follows. Undeterred he called me up and said he would be back in Knoxvegas for a day and want to go check out “Da Hill.” Having not seen him in a few months I obliged and we decided on a day I hitched up the Snook and drove north.
We got to the water early around 7 and the fog was thick. Be began throwing the modified chicken carcasses (musky flys) at lay downs realizing it was still early and the water was cold. We both took turns casting or should I say hucking flys with most retrieves ending in a lengthy figure-8. This is something that I have decided that fly rods were not intended to do. Melton Hill is surprisingly clear, I have not been on this lake in years. My dad used to take me down to Clark Center when I was yound to catch blue gills and such. It was good to be back.
Flied tied and ready mounted on BIG STICKS
The Snookie was loaded and ready to hunt
Casting at day break the fog was thick
One of the dead chickens in action
An hour or so into the trip we found some schooling smallies. I have never seen smallies school, and it was fun to watch. It was a 15 minute long affair that took up nearly half a cove. This was much longer and bigger than a largemouth feeding frenzy. Didn’t get any pics of the bass, but they were good sized and each puked up a fair share of “leavins” in the boat.
Breakfast was served on the boat as we ran to warmer water in the back of large inlets and creek moths looking for the monsters.
Navigation was key
Later in the day I, my turn came and I mounted the bow of the Snookie. A few cast in I started my retrieve as normal as my ***-hole 1st mate continued to critique my “side armed, ill-timed, and inaccurate” casting (hucking) of the 8” fly. A few strips in from the bank a NUCLEAR SUBMARINE became faintly visible behind the fly. My heart beat jumped, hair stood up, and breathing stoped. There she was….over 40 inches of pure predator. As I stripped she would follow…each strip my muscles tightened. What felt like an eternity was probably 30-45 seconds? I have never seen a fish move so slow or deliberately. Bass and other game fish make a decision to eat or attack and do it instantly….not musky. As I brought the fly to the boat, musky in tow, I begain to make my figure 8. The fish was so long that I was careful not to hit her with the rod tip. 1 ½ times around the fly went and she followed………and like that the fish disappeared below the boat into the deep. I continued to repeat my the cast and figure 8 with no luck. It was hard to cast since my leg continued to shake for a few minutes afterwards. A few minutes later we decided to contine down the bank as we assumed we were in the right place. Just a few minutes later I saw another musky, smaller than the first lurking below a over hanging tree !!!!! my buddy could not believe my luck. He though for sure I would land a musky of my first outing while he still has not gotten his first. Cast after cast began to seduce her out of hiding. These fish are fearless as the fly banged and splashed around her. Finally she appeared to take note and the process began again….muscles tightened breathing slowed and hair stood on end. Strip…..follow, pause……strip….follow,pause….strip……follow,pause……s trip……follow,pause……strip……follow,pause….to the boat she came paying no attention to the Snookie and her crew. As I began the figure 8 she dove….never to be seen again. After collecting my thoughts and letting all of the surrounding area know my displeasure we switched and proceeded to fish. I wish I would have gotten a picture of these fish chasing the fly but we were both so entranced it was the last thing on our minds.
As the day wore on now more fish were seen but the feeling those fish gave me well bring me back soon. The muskellunge is a worthy advisary and will test a seasoned angler, but the sight of a small submarine following the fly is something I have not experienced and will not experience again until It happens again
Until Next time