It wasn't until the rain picked up and the wind started to blow that I was reminded just how tough muskie fisherman are. I laughed and my buddy Bails giggled when we zipped up our rain gear and continued chucking our baits. About a dozen boats zipped past us ducking behind their windshields on the way back to the access. The rain was pounding the water, and the waves had reached maximum size for that lake. We found a few others tucked behind a point sheltered from the wind. For Bails and I, we were just getting started. His comment went something like this..."Here we go fish, Bring it!"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Muskie fisherman are the most dedicated and hard-core angler on the water. When the weather turns bad and conditions aren't favorable, most anglers head for shore. Funny thing is, these are the conditions that I savor. I'll find the windiest part of the lake and tear it to pieces. Water crashing over the front of the boat usually means muskies in the net. If you fish bass, odds are that you'll be waiting the wind out from shore, or hiding in a calm spot. Walleye fisherman often think they've lost control of their boat and call it quits. Panfisherman only consider a good day on the water to be high sun and no wind. I'm not knocking anyone here, but truth be told, it appears muskie fisherman are the only ones tough enough to take the abuse.
This past Saturday I was reminded just how crazy we really are. Taking it from the top - I had a short window to sneak out on the water. The conditions were shaping up well and a front was within range of letting the flood gates open. My brain went crazy and I just knew the muskies were going to snap. I called my buddy Sean Bailey, aka: Bails, and he quickly said yes. This wasn't his first time being thrown into the muskie elements. We've been doing it together for several years. We've also been catching muskies in these elements for several years too, so it was no surprise when we pulled up on the honey hole and saw a fish within our first 3 casts. She was a dandy in the 50 inch range, but chose to save her meal for a fish without hooks.
A few minutes later and we were on to spot number 2. As the wind switched 180 and hit me directly in the face, I jokingly made a bold prediction. "Bails, you are going to catch one on this cast." He laughed, but nodded his head in approval. His lure was in the sweet spot and the change in wind was an obvious trigger. I almost wet my shorts when 5 seconds later his first muskie of the year exploded from the water carrying Bail's bait. You just couldn't draw it up any better. It's times like this that you wonder how the heck they can be called a fish of 10,000 casts.
After a quick photo he released the fish to fight another day. After joking about the entire scenario, he picked up his weapon and threw it again. Instantly another muskie came from the depths and tried to eat his lure boatside. Not quite ready for the instant opportunity, he pulled the bait and missed out on his chance for 2 muskies in two casts. By this time the waves were starting to grow and you could see the action level rising. The perfect example in how and why it pays to be a hard-core muskie dude. In that 10 minute window the wind went from west at 5, to east at 25. Extreme weather almost always means extreme fishing if you chase the mighty musky. It almost seems that the nastier the better.
Over the next hour and half we jumped from spot to spot and did everything we could to keep the muskies from coming in the boat. I personally made a few mistakes and so did the fish. It was an obvious lesson in muskies 101, but I failed to photograph any of the interested muskies that wanted my lure. In total we had 8 encounters. By the time we left the water we were one of only a few remaining boats on the lake. Of the few remaining, all were chasing muskies. A testimony to how tough we really are. But, when you look at the results, you understand why. Give a muskie fisherman a storm and he'll give you a picture of a muskie. Until next time, keep on livin' the dream!