It’s moments like these that make you feel alive. Hours and days on the water without any sign of a musky certainly pays off with a fish like this! I’m the newest member of the 50 Inch Club and I’m thrilled to tell you about it!
Lately I have been spending time fishing in the Ottawa Valley Region. It amazes me that the fourth largest city in Canada is surrounded by so many incredible fishing opportunities. It’s surprising to be able to step out of the city and into that tranquil zone on the water after a short drive. Not only is there a lot of water surrounding this region, there’s world-class musky fishing!
Musky are extremely delicate and due to the low population of these incredible fish, it’s our responsibility to be prepared while targeting them. Proper rods, reels, line, leaders, nets, tools, etc are essential to catch and release these fish as quickly as possible.
I use the Rapala R-Type 8’6″ Musky (fast action, extra heavy power) rod paired with the Andros reel, 80lb test Sufix 832 braid with a 100lb test fluorocarbon leader.
This fishing adventure took place last Sunday afternoon. Ottawa native, Eric Riley, and myself were on the hunt for musky! We fished in a section of the Ottawa River system, targeting structure, shoreline and isolated humps. We fished with large flies and spinners and came up with some bass and nice-sized pike. We continued on with only a bit of daylight left. Before working our way back, Eric offered me one of his topwater musky lures to try. Topwater is my favourite presentation, as it’s so exciting to see fish explode on the surface! I had never caught a musky on topwater. My previous personal best was a mid-40 inch fish from my Hobie kayak last summer (caught on video), taken on a Storm ThunderBeast.
As I threw Eric’s secret weapon topwater lure for the last part of the day, I said to him: “My ultimate musky would be on topwater.”
Working along the shoreline, I fan-casted away and…it happened. A massive V-shaped wake came up fast on my topwater! Eric saw it and screamed: “FISH! FISH! FISH!” as I continued to retrieve at the same steady pace. The fish HIT…. and MISSED!!
I didn’t allow my heart to break, but instead continued at the same speed, retrieving and hoping that it would give me another chance.
It was a dream come true as the fish hit again, pulling the lure entirely underwater! I waited, as you must with topwater, and set the hook the moment I felt the weight of the fish. FISH ON! WHOA!
We didn’t need to wonder long about the size of this fish on my line, as it thrashed and gave us quite the display. My heart was pounding more than ever, and I had to remember to breathe. This was the fish of my life, and I knew it as soon as I saw it.
There wasn’t a lot of line between the musky and I, but the fish definitely made me work to bring it in. Eric had the cradle net ready, and I worked the fish head-first into the net. It wasn’t ready just yet! Another run, and I was able to turn the fish and get it all the way into the cradle! Eric and I were both yelling and screaming with excitement, as it was the biggest musky either of us had ever laid eyes on. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I was so excited!
We kept the fish in the water while removing the hooks. I then grabbed my camera and Eric captured my incredible catch! A photo is worth a thousand words, and these photos will hold as memories for the rest of my life.
I was shaking, smiling, screaming… couldn’t believe my eyes!!
Musky on topwater…. check!
50 inch musky…. check!
I nearly shed some tears of joy as I watched this fish swim away. An unforgettable catch.
I think Ottawa will be seeing more of me! Thank you for reading!