Ahh yes, it's about that time again. Time for the big girls to come out and play. For most, November means deer hunting, pheasant hunting, or just hunting in general. For me, this still applies, but I also go hunting for the one. The biggest, fattest, meanest fish swimming in fresh water. I tend to give her a personal name, but we all know her best as the state record muskie.
If you haven't followed my quest in the past, here is a bit of info to get you up to speed. Each fall, specifically the month of November, I begin a quest to land the next state record muskie. I know this might sound rather stupid to think that I can just go out and catch a state record fish, but it really isn't that out of line. See, in the fall these fish become larger. Given the right lake with the right forage, these muskies can literally weigh an extra 10 pounds heavier during November than at any other time of the year. Finding the right locations and timing things perfectly put the odds in your favor to land muskies exceeding 50 pounds. This isn't simple by any means and it takes great patience and persistence in the worst elements mother nature can throw out, but the rewards can be incredible.
For the last two seasons I have been concentrating my efforts on Lake Mille Lacs. It is no secret that this lake holds some of the largest muskies ever grown. Coupled with the tullibee population, these beasts reach peak weight just before the ice forms. It is cold, it is exhausting, but I have found ways to cope and I have found fish willing to strike. Two years ago I landed a fish that still leaves me wondering. She was a beaut that no doubt surpassed the 50 pound mark. The next day I scored another giant that might have only been a few pounds shy of the record as well. It was those two fish that fueled my fire to catch a fish larger than the current record.
Last season was another epic quest that gets me excited to start this years journey. I located 3 fish that I figured would have topped the scales around that elusive 54 pound mark. Two of them were near the record, and one of them totally blew the rest away. I nicknamed her Diane, and we fished her hard when the weather would allow for the better part of two weeks. I estimated her at about 60 pounds, and I am not making this up or exxaggerating. Some days I could get her to follow and others she would have none of my business. When she would come to the boat, it was a sight out of this world. Picture a five gallon bucket nearly 60 inches long following your bait and you will understand what I am talking about. She was almost surreal. I don't remember the date, but there was one time that we got her to eat. It was with my good buddy Mike that day, and after releasing a nice mid 40 inch muskie, we quickly drove to her location hoping the short window of opportunity was till open. I pointed to her home, and Mike landed the lure spot on. She devoured the bait the second the lure hit the water, and chaos broke loose. It was a battle that I will never forget, and one that left Mike in tears on the back deck of the boat. As the fish came around the boat, she did a barrel role and the over-sized lure popped free. It was an experience that you literally had to be there to understand. Sure it's only a fish tale at this point, but something so large and powerful still leaves me sleepless at night. I know what we had, and we had the next state record inches from the net.
So with that, I hope you understand my quest for the one. It is not made up, it is not exxaggerated, it is not a ridiculous feat to accomplish, but it is the most insane fishing one can imagine. As the water temps continue to fall to the perfect degree, I will soon be trailering the boat north. When you are in your deer stand, I will likely be on the water. When you are ice fishing the first frozen lakes, I will likely be chipping the access free to launch my boat. When the weather cooperates and the winds lay down, I will likely be somewhere on that big pond. This year I will have more guests than ever before. Clients, Newspaper writers, television crews and good fishing friends are all on the menu to join the insanity. It's all gonna be a hoot! What will we do when we land that beast? I just don't know, but I hope that you follow along and join me for the entire experience. Until the state record strikes, keep on chasing your dream!