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Be Prepared for the Unexpected By Randy Tyran Century Island Lodge is located in the heart of Osbourne Bay. And, because of the location it offers the angler much greater access to prime fishing periods, unlike other facilities on the lake. You will be fishing prime water while others would be traveling... Muskie Fishing Have you ever had a muskie follow your minnow bucket at boatside just to examine it? Has a muskie nosed up to your trolling motor to investigate the sounds and vibrations it gives off as you engage the propeller, or latched on to your stringer of walleyes long enough to net the opportunity for a picture? Have you been in the boat while two muskies were caught simultaneously on the same cast at the same moment? Of course many of us, or someone we know, have had a muskie attack a walleye or pike that was being reeled in. But to boat two muskies being caught on the same lure simultaneously? WOW! Now that’s hard for even me to believe as I reflect on that particular day, but it did happen! These are just a few of the exciting experiences that I have had fishing muskies over my lifetime. Experiences such as these excite even the most avid of anglers and are sure to become a part of your storytelling the more times you get out and enjoy this unique and sometimes very unpredictable sport. I have had the opportunity to fish muskie each summer for the past twenty years, since I was nine years old. The primary location for my personal education on this freshwater predator species has been Osbourne Bay of Eagle Lake, where my family and I own and operate the remote island fishing resort, Century Lodge. It is located on an island on the southeast end of the ninety mile long Eagle Lake in Northwestern Ontario. Growing up amidst some of the best muskie fishing available, I had a unique opportunity to be exposed to the sport early and to develop my understanding through numerous experiences. Although I have fished for over twenty years in some of the world’s best muskie waters, I still consider myself a student and am constantly yearning for more knowledge about these elusive fish. I enjoy listening to fellow anglers and sharing ideas and concepts in the field, which I think are continuously evolving as more and more muskie fishermen join the sport. The instinctive quality of muskie fishing was taught to me in large part by elder Native Americans who grew up on the lake during the 1940s and early 1950s, many of whom have now passed away. These teachers knew very little about GPS units, depth finders or the names or manufacturers of lures, but what they did possess was an instinctive quality few ever achieve in a lifetime. On the flip side, I have also fished with a number of professional anglers such as Bob Mehsikomer, who rely not only on instinct but also their detail-oriented, high-tech and scientific understanding of the way muskies think and use the environment in which they live. Both the instinctive qualities that I have learned in large part from Native Americans as well as the high-tech scientific approach that I grew up around have benefited me immensely in catching fish more often. With that being said, my goal in this article is to pass on to you a few suggestions that will better prepare you for your first or next muskie trip when you do hook into the elusive muskie. I frequently encounter lodge guests who arrive at our resort without reading the suggested lure list we send out or calling ahead for de

Randy and Jonathan Kintner releasing Jonathan’s first Osbourne Bay muskie. Your experience at Century will be very much a family experience. tailed information - which I gladly impart. As a result, they are not prepared to fish for the big one. To me, it does not make much sense to invest large sums of money traveling to Canada (or anywhere else, for that matter) to fish for muskie if you have not taken the time to invest in the right tackle, gear and other preparations beforehand. If it is your first time muskie angling, it can be quite overwhelming trying to figure out what to purchase for your adventure. If you have seen the price of muskie lures today, I’m sure you realize that it can also be quite costly. Most of the lures are over fifteen dollars, with some now pushing fifty bucks! With that in mind, I strongly suggest avoiding the approach of “buying the kitchen sink”. Instead, be a smart buyer by studying your location of interest and choosing your lure selection accordingly. In Osbourne Bay, where I fish, you can get away with using three or four lures and having a very successful trip. This shallow, naturally stained fishery provides excellent topwater fishing along with a good bucktail and spinnerbait bite. Deep crankbaits benefit you little here, but are used quite extensively on the deeper and clearer big part of Eagle Lake. My favorite lures for Osbourne Bay are the M & G Flashback Bucktail, Mepps Magnum, Poe’s Giant Jackpot, Bucher TopRaider It is also imperative to use the right fishing line. I am a strong proponent of braided line over monofilament for these brutes. Braid offers minimal stretch, which increases hook set capability. Perhaps more importantly, braided line stands up to the rigors of casting all day along rocks and other structure that would quickly nick mono and render it useless. With braided line you will often see a fray where the line has been compromised, whereas with mono you most likely will not. I personally fish with nothing lighter than 40 lb. test. With the fine diameter of today’s braided lines, the castability is there without the feeling of using rope we endured with the old black nylon lines. While I have seen braids fail (no line is perfect), they offer far more durability than mono. The last thing I want to see in my boat is a muskie, big or small, swimming off with a lure in its mouth and a bunch of line trailing behind - possibly killing the fish - because the wrong type of line was used. Proper leaders are also very important. The terms titanium, fluorocarbon, 50 lb. test, etc., mean very little to me, as I have seen all of them either break off or be bitten in two by a fish. I personally use stiff wire leaders with double snap ends and heavy duty ball bearing swivels. One bit of advice I often give our guests before they come is to go and find the toughest leader they can, pass it up, find one better and buy that one. Good ones should run about five bucks each or two for eight dollars, which I am more than happy to spend for a leader I can depend on. Remember, you are only as good as your weakest point, and if your leaders are sub par, the muskies will let you know. I find the 8-12” length is just about right for casting. The longer 18-24” sizes mean your lure will be hanging an extra 6-12” from the rod tip when casting, which is unwieldy and increases the risk of hooking your partner. Rod selection is often based on which lures will be used. If this is your first time, I suggest purchasing only one muskie rod until you’re sure this is a sport you will want to stick with. A good rod and reel combination can multitask for applications ranging from jerkbaits to bucktails to topwaters – don’t feel like you need to start out with a different rod for each type of lure just because that’s how the veteran anglers do it. Online retailers like Thorne Bros. www.thornebros. com , Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s offer a