Ok, so lets get right down to the goods of the story. It all started early in the morning this past weekend. Don and his son Steve joined me on the water for their second shot at a muskie this year. These guys are no rookies to this sport, and have boated some dandies with me the last few seasons. This year however has found 'em on the other side of the lucky coin. Our first trip resulted in 4 that came unhooked. They were all heartbreakers. With a mission to seal the deal on a big muskie on this trip, we hit the water with the ultimate pursuit ahead of us. Our goal was a 50 incher. They fished hard for several hours with only one muskie miss to show for their efforts. Finally about 3 hours into our morning the water erupted on Steve's lure yet again. A monster of a fish somehow managed to yet again keep the hooks free and clear of his jaw. We gave the beast some time and returned to the location of the strike. This time it was Don's turn. Yep, the beast latched on and gave us the ultimate experience in muskie fishing. A 50 plus incher that exploded on topwater and found itself airborn during the intense battle. Nothing short of spectacular. But, as luck would have it, the jumping muskie spit the hook on its last jump. Going from such a high, and absolute chaos, our hearts sank as the trophy of a lifetime swam silently away. As any good fisherman would do, we put our trademark on that trophy. Having done battle with the fish, it was up to Don to name that muskie. His choice? This was easy, he chose to call his fish, Don Murray. Perfect!
Now lets fast forward to this morning. Tom Doyle was my guest and we had the exact same expectations as we saw that sunrise glow in the eastern skies. Muskies were on our mind, but 50 inchers were the goal. Much the same as the previous trip with the Murray's, things started out slow. After a few hours of nothing, we finally started to see some action and quickly returned to the scene of the past crime. I retold the story of the trip before, and explained that there is a 50 plus hanging in these exact parts. As we approached, the first fish showed itself. A brief hook up and that fish was gone. No problem I told him, the big one is just ahead. As we narrowed the distance, things went bolistic. The water erupted and a premature hookset gauranteed that the muskie named Don Murray would yet again swim freely. We then left that spot, but after a brief departure, we came back to the active pod of fish we had found. Tom was somewhat down on his luck at this point, because he already had 4 fish slip through his fingertips. I reminded him as we approached that spot that it only takes one cast, and maybe the fifth time would be the charm. He laughed, but as soon as he got within range, Don the muskie again went buck wild on his lure and put up a battle that implied "I give up, you win." It wasn't until after the high fives, and hoots and hollers that Tom admited that he thought I was nuts for returning for that fish. At that point we just laughed and headed on our way. Tom can now say that he is a member of the 50 inch club. Man is that stuff exciting! You just cannot make that up. So as the story goes, the muskie named Don Murray has been defeated. A two day story that will surely remain in the memory bank for myself, Don and Tom. Thanks for all the fun guys! Until next time, Keep on Livin' the dream!