MUSKRAT!

Aww…don’t muskrats look all cute and cuddly? There was even a song written about it, “Muskrat Love”, (for you people born after the 70s, here’s a link):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_lJysxbmxs
You’re welcome for the earworm.

This little ode to the loveability of muskrats was performed by The Captain & Tennille, who were probably fed magic mushrooms by muskrats and then “inspired” to sing the thing, or lose body parts. The threat probably wasn’t needed, because magic mushrooms, and just LOOK at that darling face! Hell, they even added cute muskrat chatter. Shows you what they know about muskrats. They will eat you, and line their den with your bones.

muskrat

OMG! Don’t you just want to touch this adorable little rodent? I mean, look at that cute little NOSE!

So, I’m enjoying my day of fly-fishing, and not catching anything, when the Universe decides she’s bored, and picks out a random target.

Me.

Only I’m not really random, anymore, because she knows that I’m always good for a little dumb-assery.

There was particular fish that kept rising near the bank. For you non-flyfishers, that means it sticks it’s head out of the water to grab bugs, or sometimes goes all Moby Dick, and flies out, and makes a big splash that no self-respecting flyfisher will ignore. The thing is, though, that muskrats make that same sound when they dive under, and they like to do it behind us, because they like to watch us spin in circles, casting, like some short-circuited Olympic Ribbon Gymnast.

Aaaaaanyway, “my” fish was Moby-Dicking, and I made a couple of casts upstream to let my nymph float down to it.

Then things got surreal.

I was watching my line, making small adjustments to get the fly to line up in the vicinity of the fish’s face. Then I saw it – the muskrat swimming upstream in line with my fly drifting downstream. It was like Two-Ships-Crossing and the Titanic got married, if one of the ships was fur covered meat, and the other was a feather-covered meat hook submarine, and the iceberg figured it was probably a good time to swim away.

Then it happened: the meat-hook-submarine hooked into the fur-covered-meat-ship belowdecks. Seeing enough videos of animals and birds tangled up in fishing line, I wasn’t about to cut my leader (again, for you non-flyfishers, the leader is a long, supposedly-invisible-to-fish-line tied to the regular fishing line. The regular line you’re not supposed to let the fish see, or they’ll swim away to eat a fly not connected to a leader, or get fooled downstream by some oblivious-to-what’s-happening-upstream bastard’s invisible line, who does catch it. I’m looking at YOU, my husband).

So…I did the humane thing – pulled back on my rod, hoping the meat-hook would rip itself away from the meat-ship.

Nope. Game on. I gotta say, foul-hooking a muskrat is a fight every flyfisher should experience. Or maybe not.

Reeling in as I approached the creature, my intent was to see if I could unhook it. I mean, really…Muskrat Love, for the gods’ sake. Except now that I was within range, I observed that it was heavily armed, plus it turned into some kind of squirming, “Eeeeeek-eeeeeeek-eeeeeeeeek-ing” (I think that may have been a muskrat roar) fur-covered-meat-tornado. With huge, orange teeth-weapons.

muskrat teeth

Photo by Albumen
That face doesn’t look so cute now, does it?

Falconry gloves are not standard issue gear for fly-fishing. But I had the next best thing – my net.

I actually netted a muskrat.

So now it’s flopping and roaring, and I gotta stick my hand in there. In hindsight, I really didn’t HAVE to stick my hand in there. I realized this only after it saw my hand coming and latched onto my index finger.

It wouldn’t let go. My other hand had the net, so I just did what anybody else would do with a netted muskrat attached to their hand; I dunked it until it let go.

Happy ending – I was able to get my nippers out, and cut the tippet, leaving the meat-hook-submarine embedded, but only about an inch of line hooked to it (once again, for you non-flyfishers, a tippet is the tiniest end of the leader, where you tie on the fly. It’s supposed to be super super invisible to fish. Like the one who swam downstream and ate the oblivious-to-what-was-happening bastard’s fly).

muskrat bite

Son of a BITCH, that hurt

muskrat bite

“Naw, it ain’t THAT bad”

muskrat bite

Yes. Yes, it was that bad.
I quit counting at four sanitary wipes. I had enough disinfectant in my system, that I’m probably peeing it, now.

At home, after bleeding through the fourth bandage, I decided to make a finger puppet named “Muskie”. Because all I could think of with two bloodstains coming through my bandaid was muskrat eyes. I tried to make it a friendly puppet, but I’m not good at drawing muskrats on bandaids. So now, I have an evil muskrat finger puppet.

Which I’m having lots of fun with.

Except that my husband isn’t. I don’t think he sees the humor of me hiding under the kitchen counter and slowly raising Muskie up, and squeaking, “Are you enjoying dinner, oblivious bastard?”

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