Musky Fishing – Don't Limit Your Scope

February 18, 2023
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Musky fishing is often misunderstood as being set up in the north, but it is actually a "southern fish" to some. Tennessee, located to the east of the Rockies, is more elevated than Kentucky. Despite this, there is a vast amount of untapped musky water in the state. This highlights the importance of perception in both musky fishing and life.

Musky fishing…excuse me….”fishing for Muskies”…is often victim to the ignorance of its own archetypal visage. You know, like…there’s a bunch of pine trees, a small clear lake, maybe a loon…and it most certainly is always set somewhere “up north.”

Of course, that assumption is in and of itself a relativistic orientation. To an Eskimo, the musky is in fact a “southern fish”. So it comes as no surprise that those in the south seem to still be firmly planted in the belief that the musky fish is a “northern fish”, and while yes, there are some truths to that generalization made real by the confines of their physiology ala temperature tolerance among other things.

Of course, elevation can offset latitude to a large degree, and no place to East of the Rockies is more elevated than Tennessee.

Growing up, I was “balls deep” as the kids say in “musky couture”, and while Kentucky was recognized by sheer force of will through marketing as a musky fishing bastion, Tennessee was very much an area with “zero bars” on the musky network.

Awakening to a Musky Fishing Dreamland

Imagine my surprise nearly 2 decades ago, brought to the state by way of my study of brass instruments, to find a literal geocache of relatively if not entirely untapped muskie water.

What information was available was often anecdotal at best and that which wasn’t was only uttered in hushed whispers. Places in Tennessee today that have become so seasonally busy with musky angling traffic that they might as well install turnstiles were once places where if you were seen musky fishing, they assumed you’d somehow wandered out of an institution, and if you were actually asked what you were doing and flat out told them, you mignt as well have said you were playing paintball with a Sasquatch.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20…but foresight can be too. All you have to do is turn the fuck around and open your eyes. Why did I preface all this? Was it a “back in my day/get off my fucking lawn” flex, or an attempt to lay claim to being the first Spaniard to discover the Americas (just ask the Indians, they’ll back me up…). Absolutely not. This is one again a case in point lesson in perception, not just in musky angling, but in life.

But for now let’s just stick with the musky fishing thing.

Open Your Mind

This same myopic thinking isn’t just responsible for limiting the scope of anglers in discovering new musky fishing waters, stifling them with a fear of exploration at the risk of failure. Just like Hank Pym will tell you, there are worlds within worlds within worlds. Even when these hitherto “undiscovered” fisheries are at last…”discovered”…it is absolutely amusing to watch, having had a runway of nearly two decades, to see that the same folks who only became aware of the dot on the map once someone else stuck a dart in it, are still fishing the very same darts the very same way they did when they were first shown the dart to begin with.

Life…and thus anything and everything pertaining to it within this reality…is not so much about “what” you think, but “how” You think…

Understand the WHY in Musky Fishing

Why? Because what is a static fixed point of knowledge and understanding within an ever moving and evolving temporal and material mind scape that for all intents and purposes truly only exists in your mind, and if we’re gonna get really technical here…BECAUSE OF your mind. As I sit here, typing this on an iPhone whilst casually sipping a libation, just to prove to myself my own point, I will get up from my chair, walk outside, take a drag off my vape, and come back in to sit down…and consider the reality that I have in fact, actually traveled thousands of miles within the greater plane of reality itself.

Same bar. Same chair. Same “call for a good time” number etched into the wood upon which my elbows rest.

And yet…not.

This is why I am so confrontational of the “how” of thinking behind “pattern fishing”, and such a huge HUGE proponent of the esoteric often stifling simplistic but remarkably profound espousings of the late great Elwood “Buck” Perry.


Well, I’ll tell you. Or at least “what” I “think” is the reason…why.

But then again the only thing I know is that I am. Same as you. Because I think. And I think you think, too.

Fascinating, don’t you think?

Welp, I believe I’ll go step outside, take another drag, and come sit back down in the same stool a few thousand miles away…and I’ll let you know when I’m ready to continue this discussion on musky. Trust me, I don’t think it’ll be very long at all.

Cory Allen In The Spread, Head of Freshwater
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