I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by, even though it hasn’t been a normal summer. The fall change can be felt ever so slightly on the occasional cool morning. Before you know it, we will be trading in our rods and reels for bows and arrows but until that happens, there are still some fish to catch.

A few years ago, at a neighbor’s birthday party, I met a guy who shared the same musky addiction that I have. Justin may be infected to a higher degree than I am. He is not burdened like me in the early musky season with the distraction of mushrooms or trout. It’s the same later in the season when I switch my attention to the archery hunt. Justin is either musky fishing or making musky lures and he is pretty accomplished at both. When it comes to lures, I believe that his specialty is bucktails which is good for me because my nickname for him is “Justin Bucktail.”

I hooked up with Justin a couple of weeks ago on a northern Wisconsin lake and to my surprise he had put together one of my favorite musky lure combinations. It was a smaller black bucktail with two matching No. 7 black Colorado blades, a smattering of black/white tinsel and two treble hooks. Everyone who chases muskies has a confidence lure and this is mine. When Justin Bucktail offered the lure to me so that I could be the very first person to cast his latest creation, I jumped at the chance. Before he could change his mind, I swapped my lure for his like I was a quick-change artist.

It wasn’t the first or second cast but within the first 10 minutes I had a musky hit the lure, take it sideways and it was gone without ever getting a hook into it. While it was certainly a bummer to not land that fish, it was validation of my favorite lure type and color. I didn’t have to be that guy to say “I told you so” because that musky really did it for me.

Now certainly when I think I’m right I will let you know, but once again I didn’t need to. A near 40-inch musky did the talking for me again. The fish came charging out of nowhere and hammered my lure, I mean Justin’s lure, and this time the hooks landed. After a short fight, the fish slid into the dipnet and the black buck tail received my official seal of approval. That lure is definitely a keeper.

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All good fish stories end with the one that got away and that’s how today’s story ends as well. I can’t believe that I did this but when my time in Justin’s boat was done, that custom made lure was still there and not in my tackle box. I must be slipping because normally there is no way that I would have let that lure get away.