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Dare to Be Different


Fishing for muskies is a learning process. And to be consistently successful, it can be a long process. Anyone who knows me or knows much about me knows that I have a "thing" for catching trophy pike. And while I'll always love and fish for big pike, the last few years have found me chasing another top predator. Muskies.

This new obsession started when I started writing about pike for Esox Angler Magazine in the early years of that excellent publication. It was through this association that I met some of the greatest muskiemen on the planet. Guys like the Shumway Brothers, Dick Pearson, Doug Johnson, and Jack Burns.

Jack and I became close friends and fished for pike and muskies together from the near north to the far. I learned a lot about muskies from Jack. He gave me great advice and no doubt shortened up the learning curve about these great fish. And that is what this article is about. I'm going to share a tidbit that Jack told me that made a huge difference.

This started when Jack first visited us at Clearwater Lake, just north of Emo, Ontario. Jack, Mary and I fished the Clearwater/ Pipestone chain together for a few days and we learned a great deal from this master. One thing he told me really stuck with me. I can still picture his face as he told us, "If you fish the same way as everyone else, and you fish the same spots as everyone else, your results will be very predictable. The same as everyone else. Dare to be different! Go in the opposite direction and fish in an opposite way!"

Last year, Mary and I were back on that lake fishing out of Clearwater Lodge again. It was August, but the weather was cold and drizzly. Everyone we saw was casting in the shallows and we were too, with no fish coming to the boat. Then I remembered Jack's advice. Dare to be different! So we did. Everyone else on the lake was casting shallow so we decided to troll deep. Seemed like the opposite to me. And it worked! By fishing in the opposite manner, Mary and I both landed our biggest muskies to date! By trolling Believers deep, Mary caught a girthy 47 incher and I got a 51!

If you are out and having trouble connecting with muskies, remember this bit of advice my dear departed friend gave me: Dare to be different! Go in the opposite direction! You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.



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