It is a sad day as I sit down to write this article. The quest that I have been so fortunate to partake in has an end in sight. Many of you have been following this journey with me, and for that I feel honored. For those that are reading this for the first time, I have been in search of landing the next state record muskie. I called it "The Quest For The One," and it was quite the quest at that. You can follow along in previous articles if you wish, as I give detailed descriptions of the past few weeks.
There were some extreme highs and lows that came along with this journey. Some tremendous fish in the boat, along with the big one that came unhooked just before the net. She was the one, a fish that no doubt would have shattered the record. With that fish came a few others that fueled my fire. I gave names to these fish that I would see each time out. Edna, Diane and Marge to be exact. These 3 fish kept me sleepless at night. I had encounters from fish on my trips that would scare a normal human into finding a new sport to pursue. Along with the fish came the elements that made most consider me crazy. Ice, wind, waves and bitter cold temps. I actually enjoyed the challenge.
This past weekend I made what might just be my final trek in pursuit of the one. The reports that I received from others told me to stay at home. The lake was suppose to be frozen, but I didn't care. "Where there is a will, there is a way," was the motto that I went up there with. We found an access that had the least amount of ice. With chisel in hand, we chopped it away and made a path for the boat. A 15 mile boat ride put is near the spot. Ice bergs were our main obstacle as we drove, and nothing was going to stop us. Well, that turned out to be a false statement. Upon reaching what I called "the honey hole," things took a turn south. My entire source of information had failed me. My graph and all the data that I had compiled over the weeks quit working and left me blind. Miles from shore in a sea of open water, I could no longer find my tiny spot. The fish were instantly safe from our over-sized baits, and it became very clear to Matt and I that the quest was over. Maybe it was a sign from God, maybe I had worn out my welcome, or that he wants me to wait another year. I haven't quite decided yet.
The lake is still open, but it won't be long now. The ice is inevitable, and the water was a bitter 33.1 degrees. "Yep, she's gonna freeze, the fish are safe," Matt said. At least for today that is. Will I figure out an overnight solution to my graph, or have I accepted defeat? I'm just not sure yet. The emails and phone calls inspire me to keep going, but at some point I will have no choice. If that was it, then I will consider it another great run. To be in the position to land such incredible fish is an experience in itself. Watching Mike loose the 60 pounder will be haunting, but fuel next years fire. So close, yet so much fun. I cannot give closure just yet, but part of me thinks that fish is testing my stamina. Maybe I am crazy, but I don't think the end is here for me just yet. Sigh...At least I hope not!