A Muskie on the Figure Eight

by | Oct 17, 2018 | muskie on the fly | 2 comments

flyfishing for muskellungeTwo days ago the forecast was for 45° and sunny for our third day of fly fishing for muskie with Bill Sherer.  But this is the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin, only about 50 miles south of Lake Superior.  The weather is more unpredictable here than most places.  Once again, our float was cold as ***** and overcast to start.


muskie fishing with guide Bill Sherer90% of all Wisconsin rivers continue to run high and unfishable from last weeks three-day rain storm.  We’ve limped along this week on tiny waterways but today Bill suggested using his big boat for a trip to a lake and wide river flowage.  We fished here in 2011 and did well.  Off we went.  This time with Granny regardless of the weather.


fly fishing WisconsinWe stuck Granny up front as I always do.  I don’t know how she fishes wearing so many clothes and gloves.  She reminds me of Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story.  But she does alright and she nailed a tiny pike out of the gate.  She refused to get her hands wet so Bill held it for her for a funny pic.


Scientific Anglers fly lineThis area starts as a river and gradually broadens.  A mile in and it turns to full on lake.  Not only was it cold today but the wind roared through the north woods.  It’s amazing to hear the rattling leaves but it’s a sound that makes you colder.  Nonetheless Bill and I watched Granny fire away, cast after cast with the musky fly.  An hour in there were no players other than the quick pike.


flies for muskieWe had a couple minutes of sunshine where the temperature warmed to a whopping 32°.  It was what I refer to as a “sucker hole”.  A spot of blue and sunshine amongst the clouds.  This one didn’t last long and was replaced by a fast-moving black cloud that dumped sheets of snow.


Granny Currier and Bill Sherer muskie fishingSometimes a guy with the nickname “Monsoon Currier” must laugh.  The storm got so wild for about 15 minutes that everything in the boat became covered in snow.  I was impressed my Granny stuck with the casting so long.  But soon she had enough and handed me the rod.  Wouldn’t you know, on my second cast a musky followed my fly to the boat and crushed it as I started a figure eight.  I thought I had him good only to lose him as he dove below the boat.


A figure eight is a trick used to keep the fly moving when a fish follows your fly to the side of the boat.  The slick move was made famous by musky fishermen but works on many fish species.  It works like this:


figure eight in anglingWhen a fish follows your fly to the boat but still doesn’t hit, rather than stop the fly and let it sit there hoping the fish will eat it (a muskie will lose interest and leave), strip until you have two feet of leader out the rod tip.  Stick the tip in the water and with your rod, physically swim the fly traveling a few feet then change direction back the other way.  When you repeat this action you are essentially drawing a figure eight with your rod tip.  When the muskellunge, which you are often looking eye to eye with, slams your fly it is one of the great bites in all of fly fishing!


Granny Currier fly fishing for muskyThe hectic snow squall ended abruptly after about 20 minutes.  That was ok with us.  Granny took the rod again, slightly agitated that in two cast I almost got a muskie, and went back to work.  I should mention, Granny has never caught a muskie before and has her heart is set on doing so.  She worked the last hour of morning but nothing.


Muskie fly fishing guide Bill Sherer The sun broke out at lunch.  The wind didn’t quit but it was much more comfortable.  Lunch was good and Granny opted to kick back on the boat deck and nap while she digested her food to begin the afternoon session.


It was my turn to cast relentlessly.  And I did.  I went long enough without a sighting of a fish for Bill and I to agree that now with the sun out, we may not see a fish the rest of the day.  It was really nice out at 2 PM.  But then it happened.


Jeff Currier fly fishing for muskieNever in my life have I gone through the complete figure eight process for a muskie and got him.  But this 32” dandy will be my first.  I saw him flash behind my fly thirty feet from the boat.  When my fly came in sight he was nowhere to be seen.  I know not to give up.  I did the figure eight and on my third cycle he burst from under the boat and ate.  I landed him!


muskie catch and releaseWhile Granny unfortunately wasn’t the one fishing for this musky, she did witness me successfully perform the figure eight.  It was enough for her to return to the bow and fish hard till the end of the day.  But nothing.  That’s muskellunge fishing.


We fish tomorrow then this unique fly fishing trip comes to an end.  We’re about to head to the Aqualand Ale House to watch some playoff baseball.  Hopefully Granny will get her fish tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Howie

    That is what makes you so good Jeff, Persistent as ever. You have not changed in 30 years. Rock on! I definitely have to do a trip with Bill.
    ps- the weather has been great since you left 🙂

  2. Jeff

    I should be hired to show up in drought regions!!!!!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!