Roughly 270 muskie addicts took to the metro waters this past Saturday. The reason? To participate in a tourney that raises money to stock more muskies. With an affordable entry fee, the George Wahl Memorial Muskie Tournament offers people a competitive atmosphere, several top lakes to fish, and another reason to chase muskies. The best part. All the money raised goes directly to stocking muskies in our waters. A great tournament for a great cause!
Thursday night, guide partner Bob Turgeon and I, discussed fishing together. We've been looking for an excuse to get out all year. Our busy guiding schedules has kept us apart, but this gave us a very good reason to fish hard for a full day. I contemplated all the things on my "to do" list, but a fierce strike from a hungry muskie on Friday morning changed my mind. I was out scouting on a solo mission, when I had a giant erupt and go to battle. It was all I needed to get the competitive mojo back in me. That 50 incher seeled the deal. Instantly I sent Bob a text saying, "lets do this!"
The forecast for Saturday was a muskie fisherman's nightmare. The bottom had dropped out on the thermometer, the Barometer was through the roof and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. All signs said go home. Still, we had a combined 30 plus years of Tonka muskie experience in the boat that day. Our plan was to fish hard and hope for a good bite. The same as any day. Not that there was a lot of pressure from the tournament, but we managed to put high expectations on ourselves.
We zigged and zagged across the lake fishing different patterns and spot specific areas. We discussed each one in detail. The why's, where's and when's. It was fun bouncing info back and forth. It didn't take long and things clicked. The "click" came when a mid to high 40's came 3 feet out of the water on Bob's lure. As fast as I could grab the net, the fish was gone. Ouch! It was the fuel for our fire, and put us into tournament mode for the rest of the day. Neither of us wanted to go back to shore without a fish in the boat. From that point on we were a perfect team. We worked spots thoroughly and covered every detail without even asking what the other was thinking. Sometimes this happens quickly with a partner, and sometimes it takes years to get there. We managed it in about 45 minutes.
We fished hard and we fished with a purpose. The muskies weren't cooperating, but we never had any doubt that it wouldn't happen. As time was dwindling, we finally put the icing on the cake. A fat 47.5 incher came flying out of nowhere and missed Bob's lure. 2 casts later and it was an all out war. This time, we were on the winning side. A quick measurement and a picture with the Saturday edition of the Star Tribune and the fish was back in the water. It was a satisfying feeling to know that we could get the job done. We didn't care about anything other than putting a muskie in my boat.
We knew the conditions were tough, but we had no idea that Bob's muskie would be enough to take 2nd place. Heck, we didn't even think it would make a top 10 finish. It just shows that if you fish hard, anything can happen. By all reason and purpose, that muskie should not have eaten at 2:30 in the afternoon. Thankfully, nobody told the muskie that! Congrats to Bob for a great fish, and Thank you for a day on the water that I will never forget. Also, thank you to all the anglers that helped to raise money for our wonderful resources. We all stand to see the results many times over. A great day for a great cause! Until the next muskie strikes, keep on livin' the dream!