Muskie--There Ain't No Such Thing

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Muskie--There Ain't No Such Thing

Muskie--There Ain't No Such Thing as told by The Fisher

When I first moved to the Nort' I was a young man but already had many fishing seasons under my belt as my dad started his boys angling as quickly as they could cast a line. I started boating lots of walleye and pike in addition to the more familiar largemouth, smallmouth, and crappie I had grown up catching since childhood.

I had a friend who kept telling me about this other fish, vicious fresh water barracudas that ate 5 pound carp for lunch. He would remove his hat and speak in reverent hushed tones out of respect for his Holy Grail of fish - the muskie.

Although unsure about his enthusiasm, after all I had never seen this brutal beast of the fresh water, the stories he told were ones that grabbed and kept your attention. Stories of broken rods, wounds requiring stitches, ducks and even small dogs being taken under as a mid morning snack. A fish that hunted mammals for lunch--WAY COOL.

My friend was impressive to say the least. I didn't know any one else who used pool cues to cast out 80 pound test braided no stretch line attached to 200 pound test piano wire leaders connected by cross lock swivels to a 10 inch chunk of wood weighing the better part of a pound equipped with treble hooks large enough that they resembled a coat rack. And as if that weren't enough, the giant blocks of wood he called "jerk baits" were only worthy of casting if they were fluorescent orange, charteruse lime, or some form of firetiger mix. You needed sun glasses or a welders mask just to look in his tackle box.

One fine day I was asked if would like to take a musky fishing trip. The trip would consist of two days fishing at approximately 8-9 hours a day. The time was the last week of October. Who could ask for more--the deal was on !

Our first day out was met with great anticipation as he kept telling me stories that fueled the imagination. However, after four hours of chunking a 2 X 4 with no results I began to wonder about this "Shamu of the North". After nine hours we called it a day. NOTHING--ZIPPO--not a fish, not a strike--NOTHING !! My friend shrugged and said, "that's musky fishing. We will try again tomorrow".

The next morning we started again. Geesh--my arms were really sore. Six hours later we still had absolutely nothing to show for our efforts. As we started down a broken rock shoreline I took on serious doubts about my friends sanity. I looked him in the eye and with a raised voice said, "THIS IS STUPID--MUSKY--THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING". He didn't answer. He just slowly sipped a drink of coffee and hurled his tree of a lure toward the boulder strewn shore.

As we reached the inside turn of that rock shore I made a cast toward a log jam in about eight feet of water and started my retrieve. As the lure reached the boat a giant fish charged past the bait, cut sideways in the water drenching me in its spray, and smashed into the lure from the side. I yelled and jerked. Couldn't honestly say that it was "setting the hook". Mostly just held on. By some miracle the line didn't break and my buddy got her in the net. After a quick measurement (47 inches), weigh on the scale (31 pounds), and a few pictures the pig was released unharmed. WOW--was I pumped. I was shaking like a leaf and stuttering like a 16 year old with a new credit card at a Thorne Brothers Grand Opening.

The feeding window had been thrown open ! About 10 minutes later I hooked, fought, but lost a fish that was in the mid 40 inch range on a live sucker. Twenty minutes after that I hooked,landed,photographed and released another musky that was 44 inches long on the same jerk bait the first fish came on. WHAT A DAY !

The rest of that evening and trip home my musky fishing buddy served me up Thanksgiving Dinner sized slabs of humble pie smothered in sides of, "I told you so, I told you so".

Now, having just mouthed off about how "This is stupid" and "These fish don't exist" only a few minutes before this magical hour occoured forced me to choke down huge portions of the humble pie/told you so mix. But I must say, humble or not, this pie was some of the sweetest and most satisfying I have ever had the pleasure to eat.

Jason "The Fisher" Pence