Pat’s Muskie Academy – Episode 483

The Fish’n Canada crew are no strangers to the upper French River and, in particular, Chaudiere Lodge. This season, however, they brought along a new member. He is young, green (as it pertains to technical fishing knowledge), and above all else, gung-ho and ready to learn.

Enter Nik, Angelo’s grandson.

Nik has appeared a couple of times previously on the Fish’n Canada Show, but it’s always been with either the Bowman kids or grandpa. This trip was about Nik taking on a whole new direction in his world of fishing—and it wasn’t going to be an easy one.

THE BASICS WITH PAT TRYON

On this shoot, Nik teamed up with Chaudiere guide and muskie expert Patrick Tryon. Pat is known in the muskie world as a very intense and technical angler—perfect for Nik. Well, the technical part at least. You see, Nik is a pretty intense dude himself. The hope was that the two personalities would gel and not oppose.

As with most muskie adventures, having plenty of time is necessary to end up with a great outing. Fish’n Canada had Pat at our disposal for three days if need be.

Pat took Nik through all of the basics first: the equipment and why it’s seemingly overkill; the different and often moody attitudes of muskies; how to Figure 8 upon a follow; the structures and hideouts that these giants often frequent, and so on. Honestly, it’s a lot for anyone to take in, let alone a fourteen-year-old.

Overall, Pat said Nik performed admirably on the first day. They had lots of follows, a few strikes, and of course some critical misses—hey, it’s all in a day of muskie fishing. When asked how Nik took on the physicality of casting all day, Pat said he threw double 10s pretty much the entire time. Well done Nik. That ain’t easy!

CARRY ON, SOLDIERS!

Day Two had the same results as Day One. No fish in the boat, but plenty of encounters. Ang and Pete thought by now Nik would be fading. But surprisingly not; he marched through like a soldier. As for Pat, they could see things were mentally not 100% anymore. Taken aside, Pat told Ang and Pete that although Nik was still firing cast after cast, he felt that Nik was fading mentally. That’s to be expected. Both Ang and Pete agreed that it happens to them as well. And they’ve been at this game forever.

Carry on, soldiers!

Day Three, again, had the same results. Only this time, Nik did get a chance or two at some striking fish. One such incident had Nik reeling in and, at boat side on a Figure 8, a muskie inhaled the bait. Nik apparently froze in his tracks, in awe at the spectacle that just occurred, and failed to set the hook. The fish swam away.

Ang and Pete have to give Nik the benefit of the doubt here; he’s relatively new to fishing and he has never fired a cast with the intention of catching such a beast as a Muskellunge. Guaranteed, at least half the anglers reading this article would have done the same. Imagine a Great White Shark coming to your boat side and engulfing a big chunk of meat—a jaw-dropping spectacle for sure.

ONE LAST KICK AT THE CAN

After a quick break (and an encouraging grandfather/grandson pep talk), Pat picked Nik up and took him out for one last kick at the can.

Ang and Pete continued waiting at the lodge dock with tremendous anticipation. Would Nik catch his formidable quarry? Moreover (and just as importantly), would they all be leaving the French with a Fish’n Canada episode?

When the guys returned to the dock hours later, they had a look of ultimate disappointment. Angelo and Pete looked at each other thinking, “Poor Nik, all that work for nothing.” But soon after those thoughts, a smile cracked on Pat’s face. “We got ‘er done boys” were his words—and what words they were!

Congratulations to Nik for pursuing such a formidable foe. And a special thanks to Pat for being the ultimate teacher/guide.


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