Tag Archives: musky fishing

The 9 hour musky hunt that finally paid off – fishing!

Hi fellow fishing enthusiasts, anglers and AMFisHers! This is quite the post about an amazing musky catch I had on Sunday September 10th 2017!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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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My two day musky adventure blog post – fishing!

Hi AMFisHers! This blog post is the full story of my recent two day 2017 musky opener fishing trip.

The trip started Saturday June 3rd as that is when musky season officially opened in the area I decided to fish. This is a lake I have fished for many years now and have caught some muskies here in the past. I know the lake very well and know a lot of great musky spots, but my biggest challenge this season was musky fishing out of a kayak.

Musky fishing is already a challenge in itself, strong heavy gear is needed along with big heavy baits, so fishing for musky from a boat is already draining enough and I was very prepared for how draining it would be from a kayak, but determination could not hold me back!

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I arrived at the lake around noon as my plan for the first day of fishing was to stay out on the lake well into the late evening as I wanted to experience and get more familiar with fishing for muskies at night. I got all my gear ready and the weather was in full cooperation as it was a warm day with lot’s of sunshine, only immediate problem I realized was the water temperature was still quite cold. The weather in this area had not been hot enough over several days so with the cooler temps I immediately knew I would have to revisit my strategies that were in place in order to try and catch some muskies.

As I headed out to my first spot that was a big weedy bay not far from shore that leads into some deeper water, I was going to stick with my strategy for a short while to see if I needed to rethink things as I kind of knew I would. My presentation was to use 6 to 7 inch bucktails in bright colors due to the very sunny day. I started casting right up over the weedy area, as the weeds were submerged and the presentation was to burn these bucktails back quickly to trigger any active fish strikes. About 20 casts in with no action I decided to slow the speed of my retrieve down slightly as I mentioned the water was still quite cool for early June so it made sense to slow my bait retrieve down. After another 20 casts in this same bay with 4 different bucktails there was still no musky action or even any sign of any fish being interested.

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I switched from bucktails to some mid size minnow style crankbaits, then some mid size soft plastic musky baits and lastly some top water pro style baits. The result on my first spot was the same with all the baits I used, no fish in sight no fish interested in what I had to offer. The weather was not ideal as muskies prefer warmer water in the early months during and after their spawn is complete, but a sunny hot day and water that was still cold made me quickly revisit my approach and instantly start considering much slower bait presentations, so I was actually approaching it like I was fishing in late fall.

I hit my second spot which is a decent size rock shoal a few hundreds yards straight out from the main dock area. This spot is ideal for muskies, large somewhat shallow rocky sandy flats with many scattered weedy patches that are surrounded by deep water escapes and even thick weed cover deeper water as well, the best of everything. I started off with my original approach for several casts and actually got a solid hit as soon as my bucktail with the water. It felt like a good hit from a decent size fish but I knew it was not a musky and was pretty confident it was a nice big smallmouth bass that was hanging around the rock shoal. Low and behold the battle was on, this very chunky smallmouth was jumping everywhere trying to get off the hooks!

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Needless to say during both these smallmouth bass fights the fish got the best of me this day, as they jumped and bounced off the kayak as I was was pulling them into the cradle I had secured on the side of my kayak. After wrapping up at this spot I paddled over to my third spot which was the largest one I had easy access to and holds muskies. Again it a large flat with various weed edges in that 5 to 10ft depth range and has access to deeper water and shallower water. I started off with top water, then went to my shallower running crankbait, then back to bucktails and finally a medium size soft plastic musky bait. At this spot I must have made over 12,977 casts and figure eights, talk about grueling work! Unfortunately again there were no musky sittings in the area, nor any kind of fish activity at all, so the pattern of this many casts with several baits and not fish brought me back to the fact that the fish had really turned off being active and it was going to take even more than a slower fall presentation to hook into any.

Day one ended with me continuing to fish right up until around 10pm, but I fished the two first spots again and again as they were much closer to shore so safety had to be first. Once day one ended I went back to the main dock, loaded all my gear and kayak and decided to try some casting from shore to see if any big ones were cruising the shallows at night. Worked the same group of bait presentations I had been working all day, not one bite not one breach not one fish anywhere to be found. After a few more chats with fellow musky anglers they too mentioned a few smaller musky run in’s but no landed fish, so I decided to call it a day as the bugs by this time were out in full force.

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I crashed for the night as a typical angler would do, in my JEEP and enjoyed a very not so good sleep, when I actually thought it would not be too bad to sleep in but those JEEP seats are not comfy at all! Got up early Sunday morning grabbed some breakfast and a coffee from Tim’s and headed back to the dock which was only 7 minutes away. Note to anyone thinking of sleeping in there vehicle overnight during a fishing trip, make sure to make yourself as secure as possible, which is why I decided to crash at a Tim Horton’s because it was an all night open location with a lot of car and people traffic, cameras and lights, seemed like the safest place to crash. Also make sure to have a very bright luminous flashlight handy, as it can make for a great self defense item, by utilizing the intense brightness to blind the eyes of anyone either trying to get into your vehicle or trying to harm you.

Once I got to the lake it was absolutely the most stunning view I had seen in many months! The lake was completely motionless and resembled a large piece of glass, not a wave or any water movement in sight. While getting things prepped and assessing if the rain they called for was going to actually happen, I knew that water this still would not make for good musky fishing. While enjoying my coffee and breakfast there was zero and I mean zero water activity by anything. No bugs moving on the surface not birds feeding and no fish breaches, all things you do not want to see not taking place.

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A few other anglers that were there for their second day of fishing walked over and we engaged in a lengthy conversation about if we any of us were actually going to fish that day. Since I had mad the 2 plus hour drive up to this lake from Toronto and was in no rush to get home, I spoke with a few guys a long while longer to see if any changes would start happening to the lake. After some time had passed a slight wind picked up and the water started to move, this was a good sign but it needed to last in order for the fishing to start picking up. The wind stayed steady and the few of us were about to get out on the water in the next few minutes, when it clouded over even more and the rain moved in.

I jumped into my truck to observe what was going to happen next, as rain usually stirs up the lake and fish start to feed. Low and behold nothing was happening, the wind got stronger the rain less intense and there was once again zero fish activity, no surface breaches which is usually the norm once it starts to rain. I decided to wait a while longer as it was still quite early and cool that morning. A couple of boats headed out anyway and I used this time to rethink about what my strategy was going to be if I got out on the water.

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After a short while it was still raining but quite lightly, so I decided to shore fish again with some top water musky baits, to see if anything was going on. When I say zero attention to my baits I mean a big fat “0”, nothing was anywhere, no roaming fish not feeding fish. From here I tried a few more musky baits with no success and decided to downsize dramatically to see if any other species might be feeding. Started using smaller size inline spinners and again no fish action of any kind. After an hour or so of experimenting I could see the two boats heading back towards the dock, with their heads shaking side to side as they had not had any luck. The second boat was heading to the other side of the lake and also gave me the we saw no fish look as well, this was when I knew battling the lake in that wind with my kayak with a hope that fish would start to feed was completely off the table at this point.

I continued to walk around the immediate shoreline casting various size baits with no success at all and the decision to pack it all in and head home seemed fitting right about then. All in all it was a very tiring musky opener with a lot learned on my end even though I did not catch any fish, I was going home with a new appreciation for musky fishing as well as very sore muscles.

The fish of 10,000 casts definitely beat all the anglers that weekend and that is how things go sometimes, we do everything we can and still come up empty handed when it comes to catching fish, but the learning’s are the most valuable takeaway for any angler who stuck it through as long as they could.

Hope you enjoyed this musky story…tight lines!

The AMFisH guy…

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