About a year ago, during one of our pre-season planning sessions, we got to talking about what a successful day on the water meant to different anglers. We wanted to show that two different anglers (or sets of anglers) targeting the same fishery, with different attitudes and techniques, would have completely different outcomes. And furthermore, that both could still consider themselves to have had a very successful day on the water.
We also had to keep in mind that the concept of success varied with experience; the longer you did it and the better you got at it, the more your perception of success would change. For example, as a novice angler, a stringer of five or six small Pike after hours of casting is a big deal. After some experience though, you’re looking for that monster Pike that could eat that original stringer in one bite!
ENTER THE BEASLEY BROTHERS
We decided to showcase this topic and make an episode of it. We needed to talk to non-professional anglers who understood success and love to fish. Enter the Beasley brothers—Paul, Keith and Kevin. All very successful guys in their own right, being the stars of the extremely popular hunting series “Canada in the Rough”. These young men are great outdoorsmen, expert hunters, and very good fishermen, who over the years have always wanted to shoot a Fish’n Canada segment on their own. This was the perfect opportunity to test our philosophy on fishing success, but with a twist: They would fish and we would hunt—for muskie!
Having grown up in Peterborough, Ontario hunting and fishing all their lives, the Beasley brothers are very familiar with the bays and shallows of the beautiful Kawartha Lakes. Paul and Keith are taking the reins on their portion of this show and they’ll be fishing the Otonabee as well as Chemong and Buckhorn Lakes. Meanwhile, we’ll be fishing the French River out of Chaudiere Lodge, where we have fished many times before, but never for Muskie.
To make sure we have similarly successful experiences (and to give the brothers a little incentive), we told them they could use FNC1, our new custom-built, 20-foot Princecraft with a 250 Verado and all the extras. We consider this to be the ultimate fishing machine. That news got them very excited about this show.
TERMS OF SUCCESS
In terms of success, the Beasleys stated that catching a lot of nice fish would do it for them. We, on the other hand, have another point of view: Success for us means nothing less than a record fish; making contact with just one monster muskie is enough. Anything more than that would be a bonus.
Since this episode is about success and how different anglers interpret it, our interpretation involves immersion into the culture of muskie fishermen who, as everyone who fishes knows, are a breed apart. For die-hard muskie fishermen, success means only one thing: a world-class trophy. And these guys are absolutely relentless in their quest for the mother of all muskies.
Completely dedicated, they’ve GPS’d their spots, checked their solunar tables, moon rises, and moon sets; and go regardless of the weather, with telephone poles for rods and humongous lures.
SOAKING UP THE CULTURE
On this episode, the Beasley’s muskie technique is pretty much the go-to in most areas, especially in the Kawarthas. They’re fishing in 10-12 feet of weeded water with high skies and no wind, using seven foot heavy Bass rods with #5 feathered bucktail inline spinners on 12″ Titanium 30 lb leaders. They’re casting through the milfoil and cabbage, and are getting most of their bites as the lure clears the weeds.
We’re fishing a series of hard-bottomed spots in anywhere from 10 to 50 feet of relatively weed-free water with overcast skies and a slight wind. We’re using 8-9 foot Muskie rods, 10 inch Dadson inline spinners with huge Number 10 blades, 12 inch Magnum Bulldawgs, and even 16-inch Delong Giant Witch Eels, all secured onto 80 lb fluorocarbon and knottable 50 lb metal leaders! Everything is tied to 80 and 100 lb test braid. Talk about soaking up the culture!
THREE ROUNDS IN THE OCTAGON
Our technique is quite similar to the Beasley’s: repetitively casting and reeling. They, however, have to keep their spinners very high in the water column to try and stay above the weeds. By fishing open water, we, on the other hand, can literally count down our big blades, as well as vary our retrieves to find an optimum running depth and speed in order to trigger a strike. This can be crucial!
As most good hardcore muskie fishermen know, when casting, always try and finish with some kind of extra offering at the end of your retrieve. Half of a Figure 8 is all it takes to give that following fish a reason to smash a bait. And trust us: muskies follow.
If you are planning on taking on the mighty muskie, then keep the following in mind: The gear that the Beasley boys are using will start to beat up the average anglers arms, shoulders, and even their back within a couple of hours. And if you want to throw the stuff that we’re throwing, be prepared to feel as though you’ve just finished three rounds in the octagon with the heavyweight champion—this game is a killer!
It seems like both of our groups succeeded in our respective muskie fishing adventures. Paul and Keith hit the fish-filled lakes of the Kawarthas and boated a bunch of very respectable Southern Ontario muskies. And, they had a blast in the process.
We, on the other hand, actually exceeded our own expectations. We caught the giant we were looking for and then proceeded to catch its clone in a very short window of time. This is almost unheard of in the world of muskie fishing.
Trust us when we tell you this: Muskie fishing normally isn’t as easy as we made it look in this episode. As we said early in the program, fishless days (and even weeks) are very much the norm. That said, by choosing prime locations and fishing them in peak activity periods, both parties were able to achieve successful results.