This past weekend, I had a chance to drop into the 2019 Muskie Odyssey at the Garnet B Rickard Complex in Bowmanville, Ontario. This event is bi-annual and has never been held in Bowmanville before. Judging from the crowd—and the opinions of the show’s participants—it’s a great location with a good possibility for a return visit.
A BIT ABOUT MUSKIE ODYSSEY
The Odyssey is Canada’s largest all-Muskie event and this year had over 60 exhibitors and 19 speakers. That’s a lot to take in over a single day. They had two seminar halls going full-tilt all day long with the speakers catering to all things Muskie. Some of those speakers were John Anderson, Mike Lazarus, Shawn Maher, Jim Saric, Bill Barber, and Bill Hamblin (these guys are the best of the best).
New for this year were sessions dedicated to fly-fishing for Muskie and to Women and Muskies.
Bait makers were the main booth holders with names like Hose Baits, Thursty Lures, Dadson Blade Baits, Bondy Bait Company, Muskie Factory Baits, Handlebarz Muskie Lures, and the list goes on.
Manufacturers like Garmin were there as well as outfitters, resorts, etc.
Peter Levick of Muskies Canada greeted me and my wife Leisa at the door, and I could tell he was beaming with the turnout. (By the way, the surprise of the day was when, after I got stood-up by two of my fishing brothers who were supposed to join me, Lee piped up, “I’ll go with you!” I was glad to have her there to see what a hardcore group Muskie anglers are.)
One would think that with a price tag of seventy-five bucks and upward for a single crankbait is ridiculous, right? Think again! I’ve thought it and said it for many years now; Muskie anglers are like no other. They are totally dedicated to their sport and are absolutely fanatical about it! So seventy-five bucks is a mere spit-in-the-ocean when it comes to quality, custom, handmade baits.
One of the first people I met there was Shawn Maher from Hose Baits. He was sitting at his booth, chowing down on some fries and gravy with a completely empty pegboard behind him. He had sold out of over 90 custom cranks in no time at all. And he had limited people to two baits per customer. Apparently, the lineup to his booth was a spectacle—and let me say, Hose Baits are at the higher price point of the Muskie crankbait world.
I walked around to Frank Thurston’s Thursty Lures booth, and he’d nearly sold out as well. He said he had a fantastic day!
Here are some of Frank’s great creations.
Pete Levick told me that one of the silent auction lures went for $550.00! That’s insane!
MUSKIES CANADA ODYSSEY FUND
Now to the best part of this story. All of the net revenue from The Odyssey goes into a special Muskies Canada Odyssey Fund to support research, education, and conservation projects that enhance and sustain Canada’s very special Muskie fishery.
I’m not sure if it works for all the booths, but Peter told me that the custom bait builders pay for booth space with the product. Sounds odd at first but when you look into it, it’s brilliant! These baits are then sold at the silent auction tables and the monies, in turn, go back into the Odyssey. Well thought out, boys!
I’m glad I attended the show as it was great to see a lot of familiar faces, to see the array of Muskie fishing products, and to shake hands with a bunch of Fish’n Canada fans.
For more information on future events and this wonderful fish species, check out www.muskiescanada.ca