When it comes to muskies, I've caught my fair share. I've never counted, but the number sits somewhere north of 50. That said, I still remember my first muskie (below) most of all.
I caught it in early June 1985 during a torrential rainstorm on western Wisconsin's Bone Lake, and the 36-incher ate a white (Blue Fox) Roland Martin Big Bass willow-leaf spinnerbait at the mouth of creek. No, I didn't catch the fish by mistake; I'd downsized because the muskies were heavily pressured. I was on the 4-mile-long lake in a 12-foot rowboat powered by a vintage 3-hp Evinrude. Good times!
Recently a friend of mine's son experienced his first muskie catch, and based on the e-mail he sent to me (below), I'm sure he'll remember it forever, too.
Hi Dave, my name is Bridger Scraper, and I'm 13 years old. I want to tell the story of how I caught my first muskie in Ontario on June 20, 2014.
My 11-year-old brother, Hale, and I were casting X-Raps along the shore of a bay we call Moose Bay in hopes of catching a few walleyes. As my dad steered the boat around the corner of the bay, I casted toward shore. After reeling in the X-Rap halfway to the boat, I noticed what I thought was a big northern pike following my lure. I told Dad about the fish, and he said we'd visit that spot again later.
When we came back around to that part of the shore, I attached a brown and yellow spinnerbait to my baitcaster. I casted to the spot where I saw the "northern" and instantly saw a huge fish surfacing for my lure. I continued reeling until the spinnerbait was back to the boat. I started to do a figure-eight with my rodtip, like Dad taught me, and after two laps of doing the figure-eight, the now identified muskie chomped down on my spinnerbait!
I fought the fish for about 10 minutes, until we had her tired enough to bring into the boat. Dad put our walleye net around its head and grabbed its tail; he then lifted it into the boat. I attempted to pick it up, but it was too much for me to handle, so I let Dad do the lifting.
The muskie was 48 inches long and weighed an estimated 25 pounds.
I enjoyed the experience of catching this great fish, and I'm excited to go back next year to catch another. Good luck fishing, Bridger.
P.S. Bridger's dad, Jon, a former guiding buddy of mine, provided these additional details of their family trip:
Friends and I have been going to this lake for 7 years now, and this was the first year my two sons joined us. It seems that every year we have some musky action, but it isn't fast and furious because the water is usually a little cold yet when we get there. But this year was magic. In addition to Bridger's muskie, we caught walleyes at will (100s) and more than 50 bruiser smallies on our fly rods. The boys had never caught anything bigger than a bluegill on their fly rods and now they're fly rod nuts! It was a real memory-maker this year!
Hale Scraper with a handful of smallmouth bass.
Hale and Jon with one of many walleye doubles.