Hi fellow fishing enthusiasts, anglers and AMFisHers! This is quite the post about an amazing musky catch I had on Sunday September 10th 2017!
For many of you who follow my fishing stories through my various social media platforms, you will already know I have become quite the musky fishing enthusiast over the last year or so and for those of you who are not too familiar with my attraction to musky fishing, well get ready to find out why!
As we entered into the month of September I was quite active on social media talking about many of my past and upcoming musky fishing outings this season, which was not too many of them due to the extreme heat we experienced for a good portion of our season here in Canada. With extreme heat like that I avoid fishing for muskies altogether. Now someone might ask why? Well if you have never fished for muskies you would not know that a musky will fight with everything it has when it is hooked, it will not give up on the bait and will not give up until it is flat out exhausted. The biggest issue with a top predator like that is it will always fight like that, in cold of hot summer waters which can quickly fatigue the musky past the point of it being able to stay alive. I have such respect for the illusive top predator that I do everything I can to avoid hooking into one when it is too hot, as they will exert themselves far too much in that hot summer water, risking possible death.
After a few outings on some much milder days in the earlier season I had a few musky follows by smaller fish but never hooked into one on any of those previous outings, There were a lot of factors from, being chased off the lake by storms, extremely windy wavy days that made fishing in the kayak next to impossible and a lot of severe intense rainy days.
As the weather started to stabilize somewhat I was patiently waiting for early fall to arrive as the water temperatures would cool down significantly allowing me to target muskies. I had been looking forward to this early fall musky fishing day for a few weeks and could not wait to do all I could to find some of these guys!
Upon arrival to the lake everything looked great weather wise. It was a cooler day about 19 to 21 degrees locally(about 70 ish) with a slight wind and calmer water. A few days prior to this outing I had made a list of my top 10 to 12 baits that I was going to work hard all day long, in various spots and depths to try and hook into a BIG ONE!
I went straight to work, got the kayak and all my gear ready then was off to the races! I hit my first spot and worked it quite intensely for a while with no activity or musky sightings. Moved over to my second spot which is my honey hole rock shoal area and worked this spot for another while, with zero sightings or activity again. Decided to try a much farther spot where I could fish an entire shoreline that is shallow and drops off quite quickly to deeper waters. Once I arrived at this third spot I once again worked all my baits for the day, moving slowly down the entire shoreline then paddling back up to pass over it again and again with various baits, still no activity of sightings of any fish species let alone muskies.
Musky gave me two gifts from the fight, a scraped bloody hand and a severely bent back bait hook!
By the end of this very long shoreline stretch I ended up in my fourth spot which was a nice large bay where I have seen muskies before and is also one of my favorite bays to fish. I spent another long while fishing this entire bay, picking it completely apart with various baits covering every square inch of this area, with no musky sightings once again.
After having been casting the entire time with no luck, I decided to cover even more water by trolling the shoreline and bay I had just finished fishing. I grabbed one of my bigger musky rods, put on a deeper diving Grandma perch pattern crankbait in the 10 to 11 inch size and started to troll. I covered so much water with zero luck at hooking into any type of fish. From here I decided to head back to where I was originally for a regroup session on strategy so I continued trolling along the stretch of shoreline to another area closer to the main dock and previous spots I had fished.
I worked yet another long stretch of weedy, sandy and rocky shoreline but ended up empty handed again, no fish were to be found anywhere after a few hours of covering so much water with so many different baits. It was time for me to refuel, stopped for a good 20 minutes, enjoyed some food and snacks, hydrated and was back at it immediately!
With musky fishing the trick is to continuously cover water, casting and casting repeatedly in hopes that your bait lands on top of a hungry musky. I trolled over to where I had first started with a few different baits and yes still not luck catching anything let alone a musky. By now I had been on the water for what felt like 8 days, but was more like 5 to 6 hours and was nearing the 5:40pm mark. I got back to my honey hole musky spot, the rock shoal I touched on earlier and started trolling around in larger patterns with 4 different baits in total, still no sightings or luck hooking into a fish. I stopped trolling and want back to casting my 12 baits and worked a large stretch of water around this shallow rock shoal that is surrounded by large patches of healthy weeds and sandy rocky bottom. Can you believe it still no fish, nothing was biting and I was seeing nothing.
Below is the honey hole that produced this great fish, a large rock shoal surrounded by deep water weed, sand and rock bottom.
As sunset was fast approaching a few other boats were fishing around this same area with no luck either. In light of it being fall with much shorter sunlight days my cap for getting off the water was about 7:30pm or so, as that is when the sun would have fully set for the day. It was closer to 6:20pm or so and I was still grinding it out saying it has to happen soon, I have fished so many baits there has to be a musky feeding here soon.
With one other boat on the other side of this rock shoal, that had two senior couples in it, we were the only people fishing this area. It was the perfect time to go back to the one bait I had fished the most that day, my Joe Bucher Outdoors black and orange top raider prop style bait. I love top water fishing in general and love it even more for muskies! I had already cast this bait at least 2,787 times that day and due to it being a low light time of day and still a good time of year for top water musky fishing it was high on my list to wrap up the day with.
I started casting and casting the entire rock shoal area again, cast after cast I could feel that I should be hooking up to a giant musky soon, it’s that feeling that all this hard work today just has to pay off already. Then on this one cast that landed about 10ft away from the center of this large rock shoal, I started reeling my top water bait in. Normally I look about 2 to 3 feet behind my top water baits when I am retrieving them as you can see early signs of a musky waking along after it just below the surface. What happened next is always something you can expect with a predator fish like this but my eyes were glued watching just behind my bait.
Out of nowhere as I am into about 8 feet of my retrieve I see this wake and massive head surfacing at great speed from the side of deeper water not from behind my bait as it normally would be. This musky with almost all of it’s head moving along the surface exits the water and slams my bait from the side, completely snatching it up and plunges back down! I knew immediately it was a musky and a good one at that. The boat with the seniors fishing yells out holly crap you got one! Processing all of this insanity at once was not an easy thing to do, but from where the musky attacked my bait he had already moved another 10 feet to my right pulling line. I took a split second to feel the weight and set the hook, bang the musky was fully hooked and on my line!
This fish was an angry fish, it did a big loop around my kayak diving as soon as it got to my right side. From what was to be a fast deep dive it decided to head for the surface and jumped a good 2 1/2 to 3ft vertically out of the water thrashing violently. It lands back in the water to only one again head for the surface and this time it jumped over the front end of my kayak! Talk about this fish fight making for a good video, but just before I had made this cast I had my camera running and turned it off due to nothing having happened for some time and to respect the boat of seniors fishing on the other side of me. So yes I did not catch this on camera as my GoPro’s were off and there was absolutely no time to grab for one let alone turn one on.
This musky had not stopped it’s jumping yet, dove right out of the water again and again, with three jumps towards my face, yes my face! All I remember seeing was a wide open mouth trying to shake my bait with big hooks in it coming right at me. Instinctively I pushed my right shoulder in front of my body as I turned towards my left and this musky bounced right off my shoulder with the front end of it chest, completely avoiding me with the hooks….what a relief that was did not want a big fish like that attached to my face!
With the other boat in utter shock at what they were seeing right before their eyes, I was having the battle of a fisherman’s dreams! I could not believe my video cameras were not on, but had to do what needed to be done to land this BEAST! The musky finally stopped jumping and I was getting my cradle ready to guide it in. As soon as a good moment presented itself I took the chance and pulled the musky into my cradle, then secured it shut. The battle did not end there everyone, this musky decides to start thrashing around and trying to escape!
Once it was in the cradle I was going to make an effort to turn my closet GoPro camera on, unfortunately those plans were foiled when i saw the musky’s head completely vertical out of the top of my cradle. With some quick thinking I instantly pushed it back down, doing everything I could to avoid the hooks. The musky was not letting off at all, he tried to make another dash out the end of the cradle, which is when I think I yelled out no damn it no! Again as quickly as I could, I closed off the end of the cradle and finally had secured the musky. First priority at this point was to free the bait from the fish, to prevent any damage/injury to myself and the fish.
I grabbed my long nose extended pliers and began the process, which was not easy with this fish that was obviously extremely angry with me! It did not take long at all, I removed the front hook and struggled slightly with the back hook, that the fish had bent open, but had two bards in him and the third stuck in the cradle. I used my serrated edge knife to cut small portions of the cradle away from the hooks and the bait finally got free. Moved it far off to the side, locked the cradle shut then reeled in the line and bait so I could move it on the other side of my kayak to prevent any further complications.
The other fisherman offered to help me land this fish with a net they had, but my cradle served me well. With almost all the daylight fading quite quickly I paddled over to the other boat with the musky in the cradle doing well, to ask for some help taking a picture of this awesome sunset catch! The seniors were quite excited I even asked then for some help and they wanted to see the fish I had just battled right in front of them.
Once I reached there boat the driver of the boat secured my kayak safely next to their boat and we started the chatting about my catch. First they were in total shock at the size of this musky and even in more shock that the fish did not hook my face on any of those jumps towards me! I quickly grabbed for my phone passed it over to one of the ladies who was going to snap a couple of quick pictures for me. I grabbed a ballpark measurement of this musky on my cradle ruler and it measured in the 41 to 42 range. Judging by how thick and fat this fish was I pegged it at 20 plus pounds but actually think it had to be a few more pounds for sure.
After we took the pictures and quick measurement I started the process of reviving the fish to let it go. During this time I was thanking the boat for all their help as they were thanking me for sharing my catch with them. A few more pictures were taking of the musky finding it’s orientation again, as it had put up one heck of a battle! After about a minute and a half the fish looked very strong as it rested between my hands and slowly but surely started to swim out of the cradle…what a moment all five of us instantly smiled at the same time!
A few hand shakes took place along with a lot more thank you’s from me to them and I was on my way to get off the water. As I started paddling away I looked at my left hand that was covered in blood and knew it was not blood from the fish, Dunked my hand into the cold water to rinse it and realized that I got scrapped when the musky thrashed in my hands for the pictures. Did not feel a thing on my hand as those razor sharp gill plate bones scrapped right over my hand so sharply that I felt nothing. I applied pressure with my fishing towel for a few minutes while rinsing it off a few more times and finally had the bleeding down to a very minimal point so I paddled back to the dock.
By this time there was almost no light, the sun had completely set and it was getting dark pretty quick. Still shaking with excitement from this amazing catch, I reached land and started the process of getting off the water. All said and done I was ready to start my 2 hour drive back to the city, after what ended up being a magnificent 9 plus hour day of fishing that ended up with one of my heaviest musky catches yet!
This is one great fish species to fish for, they push you to the extreme level with everything from trying to find them, to trying to trigger them into biting a bait…magnificent creatures to say the least!
It was a fantastic day of really hard work paying off…put in the time everyone and it will pay off one day!
Hope you enjoyed my story on this great catch…tight lines!
The AMFisH guy…
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