Oh My God! What a fish! Sooooo close to breaking that precious 50 year old record that we as muskie fisherman are so avidly chasing. I have several pictures that I will post on here that kindof show different angles of that pigs gut. The official measurements of this beast top out at 54.5 inches (Todd says 55, but I'm sticking with 54.5) and a girth on this girl at 26.5 inches. When you calculate that up, you get a beast that ends up in the 50 pound range. The sheer mass of this girl makes the Mille Lacs fish a truly sought after beast, and different lakes may never reach the potential and girth of the fish swimming in this giant pond. I truly must say that this was a struggle for every second that I was holding her. I have held onto hundreds of muskies in my day, but this one takes the cake. Now I know what my fishing partner was screaming about when he was holding his huge 54 incher a few years back. The only difference with this fish is the insane belly that they possess this late in the season, which is truly remarkable when you get to hold it.
What would a Trophy Encounters update be without the story, RIGHT??? Well, here we go! Todd had this craving to see a state record caliber fish, and knowing what to expect this time of the year, he had to twist my arm for about zero seconds to get me to hook up the boat. There was an unfortunate event in my morning that caused me to lose my train of thought at the access, and resulted in the two of us unknowingly hitting the water without my digital camera. I don't want to get into the details, but that makes the first time in years that I forgot the darn camera. Our hopes were high, and there was a vibe between the two of us that we were going to land a giant in the 26 degree cold. I don't know why we had that mojo working for us, but we seriously went about our business and prepared for this big girl to come in the boat, like we knew it was going to happen. With the temps being so cold, it took a while to thaw out our reels and equipment to work properly for us. Well, about 2 1/2 hours into our morning, my ungodly large lure was stopped in it's tracks and out of the depths rose this beast that I will now name as "Ol' Betsy." I didn't quite realize what I had until it was in the net and rolled onto its side. Instantly the two of us were screaming like school girls, and I'm sure it could have been heard for miles. The girth was impressive, and needless to say, I was instantly shoulder deep in the water trying to grab the tape measure from under the belly. I went for the camera, only to find that it wasn't in it's normal spot. "Oh No" was all that I said, and then a pause.
Thank God, I reminded Todd to grab a back up camera that morning just in case of this exact situation. He later told me that he had left his house only to drive back to get that camera. What a relief, and I pulled Betsy from the water. I was in shock at how hard it was to hold her, and I basically just leaned back on the butt seat and held her on my body. Todd snapped about 8 pictures as fast as he could, and afterwards said that he was shaking so bad that he wasn't sure if any of them turned out. We released the fish and she swam away instantly as if not even harmed by the process. We were shaking with joy and instantly headed to shore to first grab my digital, and then we couldn't take the curiousity of knowing if the old school film camera actually worked. Needless to say, there aint no place to develop one hour photos within a half hour of Onamia, so don't bother looking. We hit the water to finish out the day, and I made a pit stop on my way to deer camp to verify our catch at the local Target store.
It was such a great time sharing this with Todd, and although I am glad that I caught this fish, I really wish Todd would have landed ol' Betsy. I actually think that by his reaction to nearly seeing a state record fish being caught, I think that if he would have landed it, that it may have killed him. Haha, but seriously, sharing your excitement during this process is what truly made that day on the water for me. I have caught many a musky in my day, but nothing can compare to what we experienced in that boat on that cold November day. I want to give a big shout out to Todd on the assist, and oh, by the way Todd, I had total faith that you wouldn't knock that fish off the net:) Thanks for the memory of a lifetime, and fellas, Ol' Betsy is healthier than ever, and still waiting for that next battle. That fish will be a state record in a very short time! Hope you enjoyed that story everybody. Until Next Time, Keep on Livin That Muskie Dream!