Cory Allen is an avid musky angler, writer, speaker and angling personality from Oak Ridge Tennessee. Featured prominently as writer and contributor for both “In-Fisherman Magazine” and Andrew Ragas’ “Fishing Headquarters” online magazine, he has spent nearly a decade in Tennessee after first moving there in college. After having the itch for muskies growing up on the legendary Lake Kinkaid in southern Illinois, he found the scratch in the mountainous rivers and thunderous TVA reservoirs that held untapped troves of unspoken trophy Muskies, not only in numbers, but sizes rivaling nearly anywhere in the north, with the advantage of never having a closed season or hard water.
Specializing in following the seasonal transitions of muskellunge in both the Rock Island area and Melton Hill Reservoir, he finds the diversity of habitat Tennessee offers for a musky hunter both inspiring and challenging. From season to season and body to body, there is absolutely no tactic that cannot be called upon at some point, and has even allowed him to pioneer a few in the meantime such as sight fishing Muskies from a kayak in small rivers utilizing finesse tactics.
Cory spends the majority of his time gripping the tiller of his battle-hardened Tuffy Esox Ltd., equipped with a state-of-the-art 4-stroke Yamaha outboard and Minn-Kota Terrova 80 lb Thrust trolling motor, where he can comfortably take two anglers up the hairpin turns of select rivers or (his personal favorite) challenge to channels, points, drop offs, and humps of Tennessee’s trophy musky TVA reservoirs. Affectionately referring to himself as growing up a “reservoir dog”, he thrives off topographical complexity. With a stoic reputation, infamous for his candor on things, Cory doesn’t rep what he doesn’t believe in, and never asks: only accepts invitations by manufacturers he’s utilized first hand to great success and they have passed his trials. It’s an honor for him to be a pro-staff member for such companies as Llungen Lures, Migizi Rods, Drifter Tackle, Musky Innovations Lures, and Smokin’ Bones Tackle.
I am an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline is my natural cure for an “overly-active” attention span. Growing up I think I spent more time in the air than with my feet planted on the ground. Thankfully I felt the dose of adrenaline only the presence of a muskie can release before I lost the ability to keep these feet planted on a casting deck.
You may have heard the terms fishermen and angler used interchangeably. Hidden between these terms is an epiphany of sort, a coming of age, if you will. Transitioning from a fishermen to an angler requires a profound path of humility to accept and understand the concept of the old adage “the more you learn, the less you know. Anglers fish for the intrinsic reward of figuring out pieces to a puzzle that is un-master-able. They understand we cannot fathom how fish “see” world but only hypothesize by guessing and testing. I have been a fishermen since I could walk, but cant tell you the point at which I became an angler.
I am and always will be a small waters guy. This is in part what lured me to east Tennessee, peaceful small to medium sized systems that produce the size fish generally found in our goliath northern counterparts. While growing up on the Fox River in Northeastern Illinois, a muddy rock-ridden boulder minefield averaging 2’ in depth, I made it a mission to build the perfect shallow water muskie and flathead catfish fishing machine. Inch by inch I custom built and rebuilt a boat most would forget behind a barn into a shallow river machine that glides over top dangerous water with ease and comfort even on the darkest nights. Nothing makes me happier than catching trophy sport-fish in places only kayaks can access with the comfort and space of a 16’ flatbottom boat with all the gear a hardcore muskie fishermen could need. Catching fish that rival those in size to those caught in the great lakes in waters no wider than your living room is something that must be experienced to understand. Learning how to captain a niche craft in such adverse conditions is what has helped me become the angler I am today. Unorthodox is orthodox for me. I believe you can’t fully understand the orthodox without understanding the unorthodox. Constantly conceptualizing new muskie fishing techniques and testing them in the “wild wild south” of muskie fishing allows us to blaze our own trail and develop new techniques. For the bigger water trips, I also guide from a 2005 Tuffy Esox Magnum equipped with a 50hp Mercury outboard, Lowrance HDS8 Gen 2 graph, and Minn Kota Terrova ipilot 80lb thrust trolling motor. An incredibly stable purpose built muskie fishing machine that comfortably fits 3 other fishermen.
I have found myself beginning to enter “the industry” but not on purpose. I don’t want fame, I don’t want sponsor names plastered on my boat and truck, I don’t want millions of people to see my face and hear my voice, I just want to fish with some like minded people and show people what the actual sport-side of fishing is all about. While fame is a relative term, it still scares the heck out of me but I want to help promote what keeps the art of angling a rewarding experience by establishing a respected name, not sell out for fame. I have learned a lot about myself through angling. It brings out the best and points out the dysfunctional parts of my personality, ultimately forcing me to become more mindful of my environment and reflect on my discipline on and off the water. I think of fishing as a combination of sport and the arts, both of which many benefit from professional lesson. Muskies have been a destination for us after the pursuit of many other species. We can give you the information and tools you need to become a better angler and create your own style of patterning your species of choice, making for a much more rewarding pastime. I love teaching and helping people live healthier and more productive lives, which is why I am making my living by teaching fitness and fishing.