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Dutch01

The highs and lows of fishing (and how to catch a muskie)

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Long post alert. There is no tl;dr, sorry.

 

First, the lows...

 

I wasn't planning to fish yesterday, I'm light on gas money and wasn't feeling like launching alone. Luckily I got a last minute call from two friends asking if I wanted to take the boat out. We planned to leave early until we noticed the weather report. Thunderstorms. I'm not afraid at all to fish in the rain or snow, but I won't fish anywhere near lightning. Plans revised, we decided to do an afternoon/evening fish.

 

We pickup my boat from the storage yard and we're off. I'm excited to get my boat on the water for the first time this year. I bought a "spring wake up" package from an (as yet) unnamed marina because I couldn't find the time to drive out of town to where I store it and do it myself. The marina picked it up from storage no charge so I was really paying for convenience if anything. It was relatively cheap, so I'm okay with that. Up to this point. The service guy assured me all I had to do was put it in the water and fire it up.

 

We get to the launch, drop the boat in the water and I notice my 2-stroke oil is empty. :angry: I guess they don't check that but at least I always keep spares. I fill it up, and turn the key...... Click..... Click.... Battery is dead. :angry: I forgot my booster cables (of course) so I swap in the deep cycle. Fire the motor up and it runs like a dog. Won't rev, smokes like nothing I've ever seen, and stalls out. I pop the hood and there's 2 inches of gas and all my oil floating around the bottom of the motor. We fire the motor once more really quick to see where the gas is coming from. There's a missing screw and gas is pouring out of the hole. I'm getting real hot under the collar by now. :wallbash: We drain the gas and by some strange stroke of luck the screw is in the bottom of the housing. It's a small brass screw, something to do with jetting maybe? Anyways we put it back in, add the last of my oil, and cross our fingers. I turn the key and it fires right up, and runs like a top for the rest of the day.

 

Finally, we can fish. Sort of. The wind is insane out there (this was a Kawartha lake for reference). It felt like a steady 25-30kph with gusts into the 40's and 50's. My 55# Terrova was running at 90-100% trying to use the electronic anchor. Drifting was way too fast (drift sock added to wish list) . We didn't catch a thing. It was tough.

 

And now for the high.....

 

After all we'd gone through, we decided to double down and stay for the night fish. We were bound and determined not to go home skunked. Besides, it's been my experience that the wind usually drops off when the sun goes down, at least on this lake. It did drop off, if only a little, and we got to walleye hunting in earnest.

 

By 11:00pm, with no fish and not even a nibble, we were a little beat down. But we were fishing after all, there are a million worse ways to spend a Saturday night. I was on my third "last minnow" when it happened. My lighted bobber disappeared. I don't mean it slowly went down. It just darted straight down into the darkness and was gone. Heart pounding, I take up my slack and lean into the hookset. It doesn't even budge, and I think for a split second maybe it was a snag. In the darkness I hear a huge splash, like someone just did a cannonball, and suddenly my drag is screaming! FISH ON!

 

As an aside, I fish walleye almost exclusively, and I usually fish a 2000-2500 reel on a medium/fast rod with 6 pound trilene "sensation", but not tonight. I had just revived an old Abu Ultra Cast 3000 and put it on an old medium/slow Ugly Stick. I never much liked that rod, it's pretty "whippy", but I thought I'd give it a try for trolling. I dropped by LeBaron for their "free" trilene XL spooling event on Friday, and loaded it up with 175 yards of 10# for a $1 "service charge".

 

Back to the fight, I have no doubt that if I had my usual setup in hand I would have been promptly overwhelmed. For the next 15 minutes this fish just bullied me. I couldn't turn my drag up too high, I knew by now this was no walleye, and I didn't want to get bitten off. But every time I got it near the boat, it would spook and take another twenty yards of line. The wind and waves were pounding us in the dark. It kept trying to wrap me around the anchor rope. It basically went where it wanted. Finally, after it jumped a second time, it seemed to start tiring. Which is good because my arms were burning!

 

When we finally got it in the net, you'd have thought we just won the lottery they way we flipped out. We were quick about it though, I wanted this fish to live. A quick measurement, a quick pic, and time to start the revive. It took about 5 minutes, and I knew she was ready to go when she gave me the tail splash in the face and disappeared into the depths. What a moment!

 

It measured in at 42". I know for muskie guys that's not big, but I'm used to catching walleye. This was the biggest fish I've caught in my life. It was a sweet reward from the "fish gods" for our perseverance as far as we were concerned. And now I know how to catch a muskie - just go walleye fishing!

 

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One thing I am curious about is an estimated weight. I've seen a few Kawartha muskie over the years and they seem a bit snakey (long and thin). This one was fatter than the ones I usually see. I've checked a couple of charts online and the consensus is around 20 pounds. Let me know if you have an opinion.

 

Dutch

Edited by Dutch01

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Sweet ski dude! If it was a pike id be happy to guess but ive never weighed a ski before so i dont have anything to lean on. Either way its a nice fish, congrats on the pb!

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Yeah, I don't usually weigh my fish unless I'm keeping them. There's a slot everywhere I fish walleye so I've gotten used to the tape measure instead.

 

I didn't want to weigh this one on my little scale and stretch it out vertically or worse have it shake off the scale and be flopping around in the boat.

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Nice fish dutch!!!!

 

Way to go!

Thanks!

 

Beauty Dutch!

 

I think any of the muskie guys would be super happy with a chunky 42.

Good to know Chris. I wasn't sure just how big they get in the Kawarthas. I didn't think 42 would move the needle for a muskie guy.

 

I loved it. I might have to actually start targeting them someday.

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I weigh esox in the cradle and then subtract the weight of the wet cradle (about 2.5 lbs), you likely didn't have a cradle walleye fishing, I'd guess around 20 too, regardless a beauty ski

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You'll probably hear it till your ears bleed, but yeah buddy!!! Awesome story Dutch, and a nice specimen! I'm slowly liking this musky chase that I see alot of you guys on here do!

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A Kawarthas 40 with that build is 15-16, so your estimate is in the ballpark. I used to weigh a few back when I started muskie fishing. Very nice fish - I'm sure it was quite the battle on that gear! My first good muskie (45", 23 lbs) was caught on a 7' Ugly Stik lite with a 2500 Stradic while walleye fishing too...

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Thats a beauty ski. Persistance definetly paid off . I would say she is hovering around 20 pounds thats a thick one ! Congrats

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Nice going, perseverance pays off! I'd be pumped for a 42" biggest ive gotten yet is a 40" and that was on a charter on lsc

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Nice, way to go. I'm hoping for one musky opener on Nip the week starting this Saturday :)

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A total karma post, taking the real bad to find some real good.

 

Go over that motor with a fine tooth comb and in the meantime, enjoy the grin and vibes that big muskie catch is giving you.

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A total karma post, taking the real bad to find some real good.

 

Go over that motor with a fine tooth comb and in the meantime, enjoy the grin and vibes that big muskie catch is giving you.

 

I don't believe in karma - as in some cosmic scorekeeper who keeps track, but I do believe what we call karma is the cumulative effect of a series of good or bad decisions. So basically if we'd rolled over and gone home we'd have missed out, but we doubled down and got rewarded. I'll take those days when I can, because there's plenty of times it worked out the other way! I'm definitely going to savor the moment, it might be a long while before I see another fish like that.

 

As for the boat, she's running good now, but I am going to have a talk with that marina tomorrow. Not pleased with them at all right now :angry:

Edited by Dutch01

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Beauti fish.

Great story

Walleye bite sucked for me this weekend

 

Walleye have been slow for us all this spring. We're getting some, but fewer and smaller than usual. I haven't yet figured out why......

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You sure worked for it and deserved to land her. If it was a Pike I would say 20 is bang on. Did you think of pulling the anchor? I might not because it was at night. Regardless you landed it and on light gear, priceless. Good on you Dutch.

 

I would be having a chat with that Marina for sure. I would have been more than hot under the collar. What if you didn't find the screw?

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You'll probably hear it till your ears bleed, but yeah buddy!!! Awesome story Dutch, and a nice specimen! I'm slowly liking this musky chase that I see alot of you guys on here do!

I hear you. Lake St. Clair is on my to visit lakes this year. They catch them there with regularity. Around 3 hours from here, no excuses this Fall.

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You sure worked for it and deserved to land her. If it was a Pike I would say 20 is bang on. Did you think of pulling the anchor? I might not because it was at night. Regardless you landed it and on light gear, priceless. Good on you Dutch.

 

I would be having a chat with that Marina for sure. I would have been more than hot under the collar. What if you didn't find the screw?

I actually didn't think of pulling the anchor!

 

If I didn't find that screw, my day would have been over before it started. They replaced my steering cable too, at least that worked well yesterday.

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Congrats on the catch! Taking lessons from Lew on how to smile holding a big fish are paying off!

HH

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