It was an extremely proud moment for me, but it quickly turned into a stressful situation after I got the musky to the boat. I had serious problems removing the deeply hooked fly. The musky had its mouth slammed shut and would not open it more than a couple seconds at a time. After a few minutes without making any progress, I became desperate, and used my hand to pry the mouth open (dumb I know, but the health of the fish was more important to me) and I ended up badly cutting my hand on the razor sharp teeth. The entire hook removal process took far too long, and that made it extremely difficult for us to revive and release the fish. It was an organized team effort to say the least. I held the fish in the water, Louis stabilized the net, and Murphy ran the trolling motor upstream to keep water running over the gills until we got the musky green again. Talk about a bummer that ended up overshadowing a proud angling moment. That’s not how I wanted my first catch and release of a musky to go down.
If you’re planning on going fly fishing for musky or any other toothy critters for the first time, I highly encourage you to read over these organized catch and release handling tips and gear recommendations. They’ll keep you and the fish safe, and you’ll greatly decrease the chances of ruining a great moment on the water like I did.