FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU
MUSKY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2012
By David Grossman
Photos: Steve Seinberg
Southern Culture On the Fly
Issue No. 3: Spring 2012
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. ~AlbertEinstein
This is some medieval stuff we got goin’ on here. Tribes of warriors in pursuit of a mythical beast, armed with nothing more than a 10 wt and an exploding chicken lashed to a hook. The stage is Middle, Tenn. The supporting cast is made up of what can only be called a different breed of freaks (or musky fly fanatics), but the real star of the show is Mr. Muskellunge himself. That is if you think a star should only show up in fleeting moments of butt-clenching, and then disappear just as quickly, leaving his adoring fans mumbling, “Did that just happen? Anybody have a wet wipe?”
Cast…cast…cast…If you cast long enough at nothing, will nothing finally eat?…And if nothing does eat, how would you take a picture?…Cast…cast…cast…Has anyone considered the lunacy of having a world championship for a beast that only exists in the nightmares of small children and poodles?…Cast…cast…cast…What did Brad Bohen mean when he told me, “It’s the chickens man, the chickens.” I thought we were talking about hackles…Cast…cast…cast…Where did that 40-plus-inch fish come from?…Strip…strip…He seems to be following…Figure eight…He’s so close I could touch him with Murphy’s junk…Figure eight…Why won’t he just eat…Half a figure eight…Where did he go?…That is the closest we will ever come to calling ourselves world champions…Cast…cast…cast…I wonder if everybody from Wisconsin is nice and insane at the same time?…Cast…cast…cast.
After casting wet socks for the seven hundredth time in less than an hour, I think I spot what I believe to be a blue unicorn, or it could have been a really tweaked out largemouth, but I’m sticking with the blue-horned equine. I figure if there are blue unicorns in the hole, there must be a musky….figure eight….figure eight…a figure ten would be bad ass…I mean if eight is good, ten is like eleven…we have to move spots…no respectable musky would live in this shit hole.
I am starting to believe that this ramp at the Cane River is more elusive than the musky and the Sasquatch that delivered our pizza last night combined…while those cows do look delicious, I think they might be too fast for us. Following people to the ramp makes me happy, because this place is getting a little too freaky for someone of my delicate nature…was that a bat or a flying rat? If I drive the boat as fast as possible down river, and as slow as possible up river, I think we have a shot at winning this thing.
This many musky dudes in the same hotel room is probably illegal, or at least against some of the Days Inn by-laws, code, or regulations. When that guy said he was going to bring “pie”, the last thing I thought he would show up with is actual pie. I respect a certain level of literal interpretation, I suppose. Wasn’t there an after party we should be attending?…OK, more pie, then we go…Yes, I do think that a musky has a shot against Chuck Norris, but only if the musky was allowed a head-mounted laser beam of sorts…Who needs women with this level of musky discourse?
After an extended stay at a lovely residential institution for what we’re calling “somewhere in between exhaustion and hysteria,” I am feeling much better now. My doctors say with proper medication and daily intensive psychotherapy, I should be ready for the next Musky World Championships in Wisconsin (fall ‘13). I completely blame Todd Gregory (Towee Boats), Brad Bohen, Brian Porter and the rest of the crew at Musky Country Outfitters, and the town of McMinville Tenn., with their miles upon miles of fine Southern musky water for my current mental state. Thank you all, and always remember it’s the chickens, man, the chickens. Oh yeah, James McBeath of Jackson Kayaks won the tournament with what turned out to be one of two muskies boated on the day. The fish was 39 inches, and James is Canadian.