The Muskie Moon
I will try to keep this short. This is the month, this is the moon, this is the time. I put it together, left after an interview and met a friend on the River in an area we don't often fish. In an area not many people often fish because it just isn't very easy to get to, jet boat or not. We decided to float down the river in a V john boat to make life easier while spreading out the cars. Easier? Who am I kidding? Well a storm came through so we tried heading back up river to the put in just after dark. On the way down the first set of riffles we had pinged and ponged our way down river and I even had to jump out of the boat to guide it down the boulder strewn channel. On the way back up it wasn't any easier, especially since we got tangled in an old fire hose. Now we're facing down river in the peak mid flow of the curret, transom facing upstream, any second about to take on water and I'm using some tiny pair of scissors to cut the fire hose. That wasn't happening. Somehow I got it untangled not a moment too soon. That was enough of boating around boulders and rapids in the dark for me. We decided to get out and wade around a little in a large eddie instead.
It looked like a spook kind of night to me. THe moon had finally cleared the clouds and the fish were about to wake up. First my friend John is up to bat on the boat just before dark. He snags his double cow girl spinner bait on the bottom in about 3 feet of water. He's jerking the heavy action casting rod to free the lure, it comes flying off the bottom, nears the surface and there's our first surface action of the night. A huge muskie takes it boat side. The sudden change in lure speed must have triggered the bite. 5 or 6 times around the boat we go and we've got the fish in the net. A net large enough to hold both my 12 year old and 4 year old BTW. HOw it fit on the boat you don't want to know.
I figured the muskies were done for the night and we'd settle on some smallmouth or maybe a walleye. IT was already a huge success to get the one muskie, even if I didn't catch it. So, back to wading. We've more than shined the prop by now so it felt good to feel hard ground. We're working spooks through a sea of surface foam. We notice a fin or two working the surface. Almost shark like. Then the first surface explosion. This wasn't a bass although I was expecting one or two smallmouth maybe. My first 40"er of the night. Next few casts, 4 pound largemouth in a smallmouth water? What? Then another. Yep, my friend is throwing huge spinner baits and broken back rapalas, and is not getting sniffed. I'm spookin it Kimbro style and I'm gettin bit. THe boat was 50 yards downstream over countless boulders. My friend left me to change rigs. We didn't bring much with us because we figured we would only fish a short while. Well, I didn't need anything other than the good old spook. As my friend John is looking through the boat, here comes the second "Lunge" of the night. Tailwalks, cartwheels, summer saults... it's like a steelhead mixed with a smallmouth and a snakehead. The top dog in this and all other necks of the woods. My second muskie of the night. I just doubled the number of muskies in my life in one hour. I've probably fished for them 20000 hours and I'm only just now unlocking the code. What a night.
Here's my second fish. Just a baby really at 30 inches. John C's fish from earlier in the evening was enormous. We have photos on another camera. Over 40 inches, thick as can be and alive and well today.
Disclaimer. THe water temperatures are approaching that lethal stage. It dipped down the last few days so we took a chance but once water temps get above or near 80, there can be mortality for Catch and release fishing and to catch and kill could quickly destroy the fishery as there are only a few muskies per each mile of the river usually. Please follow catch and release, use a large net or cradle, keep the fish in the water, do not pick it up by the gills, support the weight of the fish and revive it as well as possible.
- Fishing Stories, Trips and Adventures