There are impressive photos on Instagram. And then there are IMPRESSIVE photos on Instagram. Sam Scott operate Blue Ridge Musky guide service in Central Virginia. He loves to catch big muskie and then post pics before the release @variverrat. Sam took time to share with us his love for big fat muskie fishing, especially out of his kayak.
Vibe kayaks are relatively new. What made you purchase a Vibe?
I have 2 SeaGhost 130s and 3 110s – my personal favorites for the rivers are the 130s. I decided to go with Vibe Kayaks for the same reason I think most people decide – you just can’t get a better boat under $1,000. These boats are built well, feature rich, and just an unbelievable value!
Now that you have been fishing out of them. What are your reviews of the Vibe’s?
After a year and half in both 130s and 110s, I have put over 1,000 hours on my boats. They have held up to the abuse of the rivers here in Central Virginia. I personally haven’t turned one over not once.
I think what impressed me the most is how I can spend 80% of my days out there fishing Muskie from a standing position. I sit down only to paddle through rapids or retie baits and such. Some ripples I even navigate standing. The boats are solid!
If I’m going to nitpick, the hero seat could sit a few inches higher. Although with a simple mod I have mine sitting up higher. The center console could be a bit shorter, providing more deck space to stand on. And the foot pegs could be a bit beefier. Again though, that’s all petty complaints. And most of them have been fixed and documented within the Vibe community of “modders”.
What accessories have you added specifically for Musky fishing?
As far as targeting Muskie out of my Vibes, the one thing I have added to my boat and my client boats is a cradle net. Due to the size of the fish, pole nets have to be gigantic to fit a plus sized Muskie. Cradles are a much smaller package and can be mounted out of the way and close to the water, where they are easily deployed and used to land your fish.
I actually designed and sell a custom kayak cradle at Blue Ridge Musky. They have been working great for all my customers that use them.
Describe for us what it is like to hook into and battle a big musky from a kayak. What is the thrill of catching a musky for you compared to other species?
Muskies are a species like no other. They are smart voracious predators. It takes a lot of skill, attention to detail, and the perfect conditions to all coming together to fool one of these big fish into eating an artificial lure! They are called the Fish of 10,000 casts. And I think the fact that they are so difficult to catch is what draws hardcore anglers to them.
Spending an entire day lobbing 5 to 10oz or even 1lb baits time and time again…all leading up to when that big female rises from the depth and gets behind your lure, following inches behind the bait right back to the boat. And then you’ve got this 4 foot long, 25 to 30 pound tank chasing your bait around the figure 8’s just a foot away from your boat. And if you do everything right up until this point, you might hookup boatside and then chaos breaks loose and the fight is on.
Now comes the part that really tests your angling skills, keeping this big fish hooked while she makes strong runs and heavy head shakes trying to throw the bait from her jaw. It’s an absolute rush from the point she rises behind the bait until the point she swims away, whether you succeeded in landing the fish or she outsmarted you.
How many rods are you carrying on your kayak for a day of musky fishing?
I normally have three rods setup for just myself. Each one is ready to rock with a specific type of bait that it’s made for. I may carry a few extras as backups for anyone I’m fishing with that day. The trick is to stay organized and streamlined throughout the course of the day so that every bait and each rod can be picked up and used at a moments notice.
I saw you posted about catching a musky on a figure 8. What are the keys to doing a figure 8 from a kayak?
Figure 8’s are much easier when standing up. The concept is similar to playing keep away with the fish. You never want to stop that bait, always moving and changing direction just like the prey would do when running for its life.
What are your favorite baits for your kayak musky fishing?
Each season brings with it different baits. I have boxes set up for each season of the year. My favorite would be either the post spawn bucktail bite, or mid winter throwing glide baits. Both are a lot of fun.
You have plenty of musky citation size fish. Is there one that got away that haunts you?
There have been many big muskies that got away. The older females are smart. And you really have to know what your doing to get ones attention, much more has to happen to hook and land a big female. I’ve lost a few real nice fish over time and it hurts, a lot, but that’s part of muskie Fishing. We don’t land every fish we hookup with. But there’s one female, likely close to or over 50”. I’ve had her hooked once and lost her, but I’ve raised her a dozen times since. I’m just waiting for the day she gives me another shot at landing her!
What is your personal best musky from a kayak?
My personal best from the kayak is 50 3/4” This was a post spawn bucktail fish that followed back to the boat and chased around my figure 8’s for what felt like a really long time. But she fell for my hat trick and I got her to bite. Again, chaos broke loose for several minutes and then she was in the cradle and was now my new PB.
A few photos were taken and she went back in to continue terrorizing that hole hopefully many years to come. I had a first timer out with me that day, and after seeing me catch that fish he got hooked for life on Muskie Fishing.
How is that for some muskie catching action? If you would like to spend a day with Scott or are interested in his cradles, check him out @BlueRidgeMusky on Facebook.