Fishing Hall of Fame Angler/Guitarist Joe Bucher Shares Video for ‘Surf Slap Muskies’

"Whenever I jam to raw bass tracks, I first try to establish a contrasting rhythm that somewhat surprises the music ear. With that in mind, my instincts gave me a surf guitar vibe..."

Legendary Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame angler Joe Bucher is most widely noted today as a musky guru. His beginnings are deeply rooted in bass fishing. In fact, during his boyhood years he was locally known as a “Teenage Bassin’ Wiz.” Throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s he was a full-time walleye guide and took clients on frequent musky trips. 

A prolific writer, Joe has authored six books and has contributed writings for many regional and national publications on a wide variety of hunting and fishing topics. His articles regularly appear in the pages of Outdoor News publications as well as Musky Hunter Magazine, which he founded. He has been a writer for over 35 years and published his first article when he was just 19 years old. He has pioneered many of the musky angling concepts that are now considered mainstream techniques, and he founded Musky Hunter Magazine in the 1980s.

Bucher is one of the most highly sought after seminar orators for big game fish in the country drawing crowds of fans and hardcore anglers anxious to learn more from a true master. Every July in Northern Wisconsin he hosts Joe Bucher’s Blues Fest which features live music, barbecue, and silent auctions. A guitar player since age 13, he writes, produces, and plays his own music instrumentals for his TV series, Fishing With Joe Bucher.

Photo credit: Tim Gaffney

Of the song and accompanying performance video, Bucher tells us: 

“Surf Slap Muskies” was built for my tv show opening scenes, as a tune for use in a fishing scene, and is all about energy, ramped up opening scenes, vigorous casting, and the anticipation of a strike. This tune was used for a lot of opening scenes to set a tone of excitement, energy, and anticipation. For “Surf Slap Muskies,” I was working on some bassline rhythms that my friend Steven Paul sent me. 

Steven is a highly skilled studio musician with incredible talent as a bass poet and music studio producer in the Nashville/Knoxville TN area. He’s also a musky angler and that’s how we originally connected. Anyway, Steve cut this slap bass track that really caught my ear. Whenever I jam to raw bass tracks, I first try to establish a contrasting rhythm that somewhat surprises the music ear. 

With that in mind, my instincts gave me a surf guitar vibe and I can’t explain why. The chords and the lead licks are kind of like The Ventures: Pipeline, Walk Don’t Run, Wipe Out, and Apache. How does slap bass work with surf guitar, I have no idea, but I was messing around with this surf vibe and it really seemed to work. My intention here was first and foremost to feature Steve’s terrific slap bass licks and not to muddy it up with power chords or any lead guitar solo licks. The slap bass was the feature. 

The simple surf chords with a little classic Strat vibrator (bar) and even some volume swells made for great video transitions. I then finished it off with this very distant simple lead guitar riff sneaking things in around the slap bass being careful not to clutter Steve’s dominant bass line. It worked. Keeping things simple is often the best — even in fishing!

Joe Bucher


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