It's that time of the year again. Cool temps and overweight women cruising below the surface of my favorite fall lake. It really doesn't get any better than this! Time to catch a record muskie!
Joining me on the first trip of the year was my father and his neighbor, Mike Masurka. Two muskie crazed guys that wanted to see what all the big fish fuss was about. Our mission was clear from the start - catch a state record muskie that tops the 54 pound mark. The weather looked bleak, but the high sky was actually brewing up a perfect storm.
It didn't take long to get the action rolling. About 30 minutes into the day I had a monster chase me boatside. It was big enough to make my knees shake. The exact reason that I trek north so many times each fall. Little did I know that I would soon be holding the beast in my hands. As I swung the boat around for a 2nd chance, I was soon engulfed in full battle. Giant headshakes left and right signaled that I had a big fish on the other end. Soon, a monster broke the surface and my screems for the net were finally understood. Moments seemed like an eternity, but I soon found myself staring at a fish that filled my entire net. She was huge!
Next I wanted to verify what I had. After all, making claims of a state record fish without properly measuring and calculation would be foolish. The bump board revealed that she had a length of exactly 54 inches. My tape measure read 24 when I took her girth. Fat, but not obese. Then my curiousity got the best of me. I had a digital scale and took a step on it while holding the fish. For anybody wondering what it really takes to land a state record muskie, a fat 54 incher with a solid 24 inch girth comes out to 44 pounds. I'm sure that I could have been off a little bit in the rocking waves, but that gives a ballpark to how big the state record and a 54 pounder really needs to be. It's astonishing!
As I released the beast we were ready for more. After all, we were less than an hour into our day. Next, it was Mike's turn. Spot number two gave up fish number 2 and his first Mille Lacs muskie. A nice fall fish that he proudly hoisted for a picture. It wasn't his first muskie or largest, but it sure had sentimental value.
Location number 3 gave us another muskie strike. Unfortunately, this one came unhooked. I was in awe of the aggression the fish were showing. Over and over I explained to Mike and my dad that this is not the norm for November. A short while later I was hooked up again. It turned out to be a muskie, but rather skinny and unusual for the big pond. It had a very distint pattern, almost like a tiger. I hand grabbed it and we snapped a quick pic to check out the colors and patterns.
While the action continued, the rest are about the ones that got away. My father and Mike each hooked up briefly one more time and we played with a few more giants boatside. In total we saw 9 muskies, hooked 6 and landed 3. That would be a good day in August, but in November I simply have to laugh and give thanks to God for the amazing action. We didn't land a record, but it is definitely a day that we will never forget. A monster came in the boat and the thrill of Mille Lacs in November lived up to the hype. I'm sure I'll look back some day and say that was livin' the dream. For now, it only fuels the fire and makes want to go back for more. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for the next 12 days and the fish will have to wait. Hopefully, there is still a record swimming around when I return. The "Quest" is what I live for every year. The action today proves that it is totally possible. Exactly why I label this, livin' the dream!