Where, oh Where do I begin? This past Wednesday my good buddy Mike and I made our trek to continue the quest for the one. This was Mike's first time joining me for what I consider the most intense fishing Minnesota has to offer. Everything was coming together perfectly. The water temp had lowered immensely to what I prefer for this time of the year, and the full moon was only one day away. In my mind, I couldn't concentrate on anything other than that new state record. This is what I have been waiting for all year.
This was not your normal trip to the lake either. We had a camera man lined up to film our day and the trophy of all trophies, but at the last minute he was unable to make it. Dang! This left us with the camera equipment and the challenge of recording our own record breaking catch. We couldn't figure out how we were going to battle the fish, net it, and video tape it with just the two of us, but we were more than up to the challenge!
Much to our surprise, as we approached the waters edge, it was very apparent that we were NOT going to be launching our boat at that access. The entire bay was ice covered! I had a phone conversation with another friend the night before, and he said he thought it was frozen, but I just thought he was crazy. Turns out, he was right! Oh well, we kept on driving looking for a place to launch. It only took us about 10 miles and we had the boat in the water. Here we go!
Spot number one was a small location that I boated Mrs. Fatbelly the year before. She was close to, if not a state record. I released her, hoping this day she would bite again. No can do, and we were off to spot number two. This is where the action gets good. We worked this spot hard knowing there was a state record lurking on it. I had seen a fish that we named "Marge," a few times during the last couple outings. Just as I pulled the trolling motor out of the water, BAM! Mike's rod was bent over to the max, and a muskie came skyrocketing to the surface with a pound of rubber hanging from its mouth. Quickly I netted the fat 44 incher, and then filmed the rest. We found it hard to do it any other way. We got some great footage, and learned that Mikey wasn't the greatest on camera when he is all flustered. Sweetness! Fist pumps, and laughs as we pulled out of spot number two!
As we pulled up to the next location, I was all jacked up. The conditions were perfect, and they were biting! Not following like the previous trips....They were here to EAT! A few casts, and the trolling motor taking us up to the spot. That's when I started to get real tense. I just knew that we were pulling up to the largest fish I had ever seen, and we had a feeding window that meant she could likely eat. The next few moments were something you couldn't even fathem. Mikey's rod bent over the way that no fiberglass should ever be forced to bend. "You got her! That's the one! You got her!" That's all I could scream as Mikey did everything in his power to tame this wild beast. I jumped from the front and grabbed the net as Mikey fought hard to bring the giant boatside. As I raised the net and looked up, all we could see was what looked to be a 10 foot long fish screaming under the surface. "ITS HUGE" Mikey screamed as the fish went by, and then, just like it never happened, the fish was gone. One loud scream from Mikey, and he was on the floor, and I thought he was going to cry. What had just happened to us two fisherman was a once in a lifetime event that these words won't even put justice to. A fish that would have no doubt shattered the state record was on his line 10 feet from the boat, and then gone! Simply unbelievable!
Once we were over the shock that had taken over us, we continued to push on. I'll be honest, there were so many emotions in that boat at that time, it was almost like somebody pulled the plug on the boat and we had sank. To go from such a high, to such a low was beyond comprehension. We had her. We had the one. It was painful. Nobody will ever fully understand what happened up there, and to most, it is just a fish tale. The one that got away, and sure it was 60 pounds. They all say the same thing and laugh, but we know. We saw her, and doggonit, it was awesome!
Our day continued, and we quickly had new life in us. I had seen another record on this spot, and we weren't about to quit. 20 minutes later, we were rolling again. "There's one!" I had a nice one screaming boatside behind my bait. She didn't eat, but 2 casts later Mikey had another scream boatside. The air felt so tense, you could have cut it with a knife. Then a short time later, I saw her. Another potential record breaker that I named Diane. She was at my feet, and chasing my bait right below me. If you haven't experienced something of this caliber, you are missing out. She didn't eat, but gave us the hope we had needed.
Our day kept on, and we knew that we had one more good run about to take place. The moon was going to rise at 3:58 that afternoon, and that means feeding time if you are 55 pounds. Just like clock-work, at about 4:02 I had a fish scream to the boat that almost made me wet my shorts. She didn't eat, but looked as large as the one that got away. A definite record breaker. Edna was her name, and I wanted her bad! About 15 minutes later, Mikey did it again. I just happened to be looking his way when the water literally erupted 10 feet from the boat. A very large muskie grabbed his bait and went instantly airborn. Three feet out of the water she came, and I have never had the net ready so quickly. As she became an amazing acrobat, she spit the bait, and jumped literally right into the net. The most intense 5 seconds of Mikey's life ended with a fat 46 inch muskie in the net. Awesome!
That ended our day. A day that neither of us will ever forget. We had "The One." We lost "The One." A trip filled with anticipation that did not dissapoint. A quest no doubt that I am determined to conquer. We were so close that it almost hurts, and although we boated 2 very respectable fish, nothing will ever change what I will remember. We filmed as much as we could, and I will show you this film when it is ready. Whether it makes it on the big screen or not, I hope that you can take from it the intensity and passion that was shared on that big lake. Picture number 2 is a still shot that I took from the camera, which is why it has a different look to it. I'll never sleep the same as I did before that trip...What a day!