Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Muskie Expo - Chicago

The Chicago Muskie Show.  It's always a good time.  Last year management switched along with the venue, so, I was skeptical of going.  However this year The Fat Gordo and DanK mentioned going, and I agreed to join them.

I, personally, don't have any specialized musky casting rods or reels or use any of the other equipment I see at this show, but I love going, because, I love chasing musky, and talking to others who are like minded.  Plus the gear is pretty damn cool!!!

I think this would work well in the Driftless Area for trout.
The lures at the place are ridiculous!  You won't find 3/4 of this stuff in any big box store.  All of them are handcrafted by the individuals who are selling them, and while I will never own 98% of this stuff, but it's just hard not to admire the craftsmanship and thought behind all of them.

Wild eastern brook trout in small streams would love this.
Chris Willen Guide Service at my local fly fishing shop DuPage Fly Fishing Company about 2 weeks ago giving a presentation about fly fishing for musky, but I was not able to attend.  Lucky for me, he was at this expo and was giving a presentation, too.

Chris tying up some musky bugs at his booth.
Chris is very knowledgeable about his craft, and his presentation on Fly Fishing for Musky really showed that.  He covered all the necessary equipment, flies, techniques, practices, and went in depth on some more, and answered some great questions from the audience.  After hearing he was bitten off 16 times on a flouro leader, I am making the quick switch to the knotable wire leaders.  Thanks, for a great presentation, Chris!


One day I was listening to ESPN's Mike & Mike, and they had Christian Laettner on as a guest, because, ESPN had an upcoming 30 for 30 documentary about him titled, "I Hate Christian Laettner."  During his interview on the show he mentioned that he is an avid musky fisherman, and has a website The Muskie Life.  

Well, walking around the expo who do we see...Christian Laettner himself!!  Such a cool dude!

Highlight of the expo - Christian Laettner.
Meeting Christian Laettner was definitely the highlight of the Muskie Expo for me.  Turns out he has some pretty awesome stickers and t-shirts, as well.  His daughter is an artist and created this design for him.  Look closely at the markings on the musky, and you will see "Musky Life" hidden within.  This sticker will definitely find a home on my Yeti cooler.

Musky.
There was much of the same throughout the show, but there was 1 lure that really stood out to me - Beaver Baits Trophy Musky Lures.  They looked like super duper sized game changer fly that was weighted with treble hooks, and a beaver tail.

That's a lot of buck tail!
These lures looked freakin' awesome, and the video they had playing showcasing it's action in the water made me want to buy one for the hell of it, but my wallet spotted the price tag and whispered to me that it's probably not a good decision.

Love this color pattern.
Another cool product I seen at the show was this Just Encase fly box.  Just Encase makes some really shnazzy boxes that are fantastic for all of those big musky lures.  They just released a version of their box that is made specifically for big musky flies utilizing magnets.  Really cool innovative product.

Awesome!
One of my missions while at this expo was to find a lure to replace my buddy Musky Mike's top water musky lure.  Over the summer I casted one of his high into some trees - We're Huntin' Musky.  I was unsuccessful finding the exact same lure, but I am still determined that it will pop up somewhere online.  For the meantime I purchased this one that had similar dimensions and make up as his.  Hope he likes it!