Make a long cast, grip the rod tight and work the bait erratic with an increase and decrease in speeds along the retrieve. Once boat side, lower your rod tip into the water and power into the first turn in a downward motion followed by a rising motion coming out of that turn. Sound familiar? Make another wide turn and bring the bait near the surface, then back down. Repeat over and over then cast over and do it all again. Don't stop this process for even a second or you won't catch anything today.
Ah yes, this is muskie fishing. A sport with so many rules that it seems painful to do. After nearly 4 hours of perfect form, flawless figure 8's and precise boat control on prime structure, I was about to give in to the muskie God's. I cranked the trolling motor on high and told the boys, "hang on, I am going to move us one last time for one more cast." Eric left his line hang out the back and I motored us across the area we just completed a solid 20 casts on. With my headlamp shining on Eric, I watched his rod bend over. "I think I have a fish," he said quietly. "No, it's just weeds, never mind...wait, yes, yes it is a fish." I started laughing and expected to see a bass or a clump of milfoil. To my surprise, the biggest muskie of Eric's life swam peacefully around the boat holding a bucktail in it's mouth. That was the moment chaos broke loose. But, it was already too late for that muskie. This scenario proves that I would much rather be lucky than good.
The following morning I meet a couple muskie junkies at the boat landing. The sun was still sleeping when I gave my usual muskie tutorial. With proper casting form completed we moved on to the hook set and battle scenario's. All things necessary to properly get started in muskie fishing. It was during this time that a muskie grabbed my clients bait and took him for a ride. If it wasn't the 6th cast of the day, it was his 7th. That was a good start and the first muskie of Mark's life. I can only chalk it up to luck!
That night I hooked up the boat and decided to fish the late shift. My "lucky charm," Matt Hennen was eager and the conditions looked prime. An hour into the wild goose chase, he hooked up on the figure 8. I quickly reeled up my line and grabbed the net. With pictures logged on my camera's SD card, we released the fish and head back for more. But, there's a problem. In a hurry, I failed to reel my bait completely into the boat. Hanging over the side, the hook grabbed a weed during the drift and pulled the entire rig overboard. Uh oh! Upset at myself for the stupid move, I started adding up the dollars. The Calcutta was only 5 days old, and counting up the rest of the rig just made me want to vomit.
I shined my headlamp into the wind driven waves in hopes of finding the needle in the endless hay stack. For 20 minutes we drug baits across the bottom hoping to snag something at all. I zoomed tight on my GPS trail and followed as close as possible. Then, out of nowhere I spotted it. The bait held tight to the milfoil, but the cork end floated upward giving a sparkle when my light flashed across the Calcutta gold. I almost wet my shorts with excitement. Still laughing about it all, Matt re-hooked his favorite lure and tossed it back out. In 5 short turns of the handle, he was hooked up again. If I wasn't there, I probably wouldn't have believed it. This proves again, that I'd rather be lucky than good. In the muskie fishing world, I'll take what I can get. This point marked the 7th consecutive trip with a fish in the boat and the first double. Maintaining a streak is something I am always proud of. Will it continue? Until the next muskie strikes keep on living your dream!