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guideman (US)

This is me with 2 Tiger Bass caught in my private lake in S.C. I have fished Lake of the Woods, Ont., 51yrs. I lived in Ill. my whole life and moved to S.C. June, 2011. I had a home at Lake of the Ozarks for 17+ years, where I caught all species of fish.

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guideman (US)'s Profile > Stories > My First Keeper Musky

My First Keeper Musky

Posted Jan 12, 2011 by guideman (US)
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 This goes back 40+ years. I was staying at a new lodge just south and west of Nestor Falls, Ontario. It has changed owners since then but was owned then by George Rogus and his brother. It was on a chain of lakes called the Pipestone Chain. George was a very friendly kind of guy and would come to check out how my group was doing, every so often. One evening, he starts telling us about a walk in lake, not too far away, that has nothing but muskies and small mouth in it. Well, my fishing buddy and I look at each other and both yell, "We'll go!" So, the next morning, we picked up a map and traveled to the walk out spot. We now have to carry whatever tackle and gear we want to bring in, over land and hike into this lake. I will mention here now that I had just recently completed reading the book "Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers", and I had become a nightcrawler fishing fool. So, among all the gear I had carried in, was a package of night crawlers. We finally got to the walk in spot, loaded up the boat and motor that were stored on the shore there and took off. This is a very large body of water and we have a map of the outline only. We were told that there are several nice rocky reefs to watch out for, that come up from deep water and are usually very good small mouth magnets. We brought along a portable sonar unit and used it to slowly try to find our first rocky reef. After we nearly ran aground on our first reef, we had to back off a good distance from the top of the rock pile and then anchored. We started to cast to the area of the drop off around the reef and started to catch small mouth bass. My buddy was throwing small crank baits and I was throwing a jig with a twister tail. Everything was working very nicely. Most of the smallies weren't all that big but every now and then a nicer one would hit. After about an hour of us hauling bass, we decided to check out some more of the lake. We cruised along a distance from shore and came to a big bay with a huge rock reef just as you would enter the front opening of the bay. The water was clear to see down pretty deep but a dark tannic shade. We started working around this reef and began catching some nicer bass. I am bringing in about a three pounder when suddenly I see a flash and jaws open only to grab my smallie right around the muddle. The fish swings around right in front of the boat, then dives, going down the side of the reef into the depths. This took place very quickly but just as the reel's drag started to pull, I was able to open up my spool so the line peeled off with no resistance. Now what? The big musky clearly had the bass cross wise in it's mouth. The line just went down the side of the reef and stopped there. Since I had seen this all very clearly, I assumed the big fish was holding the bass, readying to eat it or turn it in order to swallow it head first. I figured there was no way that setting the hook now would hook the musky because the hook was in the head of the bass, which had clearly been outside of the musky's mouth, as she swam by. So, I waited, hoping the line would start to move because the musky had, at least swallowed the bass. Naturally, my buddy and I were losing our minds waiting. Neither of us had ever caught a musky before. I asked him how long it had been and he said that it had not been long enough. So, he started to fish again while I waited... and waited. I could not take any more so I reeled as much slack out of the line as I thought would tighten it up. I lowered my rod tip, which was a light spinning rod and felt the line tighten. I pulled back as hard as I could and the line simply broke. I guessed that the fish was sitting down at the bottom of the reef and when I pulled the line, the line caught on the rocks of the reef and split. No musky, no bass, no nothing. Oh well, I re-rigged but this time I set up the night crawler worm rig. This is basically a walking sinker in front of a swivel followed by a snell of about 18 inches. The crawler is air injected in the tail so that it floats up off the bottom. This rig is cast out and slowly reeled in. I was now catching several nice bass using this method. I threw the rig way out and reeled in until I got hung up. We had to pull up the anchor to go free my hung up rig. As we neared the rig, I could see the line going down into the water and as we were directly above the line, I saw the hung sinker and the worm floating above it. Slowly approaching the worm, was a nice musky. I froze looking down at the scene as the musky slid up to the worm and sucked it in. The fish swam away immediately with the worm and freed the sinker, all in one movement. I reeled in and the fish was hooked! The fish acted as if it didn't realize that it had been hooked. It swam slowly for a while and any pressure that I applied made no apparent difference to the fish. I watched it move around effortlessly and it just pulled drag as it swam away. All of a sudden, as if a light went on in it's brain, it broke the surface of the water and really started to fight! I did everything I could to keep the fish from diving down into the rocks and again tearing my line. This time I was lucky. This fight went on for about ten minutes and my buddy was able to net the fish. I had actually caught my first musky! ON A WORM! I feel bad now because back then, we would keep good fish for eating. I put the fish on a stringer and towed it around with us the rest of the day. We caught many more bass that day.
I even had a second big musky grab a smallie, I was reeling in. That one left me with a chewed up bass that had many missing scales and several scars. I think it swam away under it's own power and hopefully survived. My first musky was hauled back to the lodge, cleaned, frozen and was eventually made into a few good meals. I even had the head dried and made into a neat mount. That was many years and many, many great memorable fish ago. It would be about 37 years before I fished this lake again. I will tell that story another time. This lake is called Kishkutena and if anyone who is reading this ever gets the chance to fish it, don't hesitate. I doubt that you will be disappointed.
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Comments (3 comments)
Aaron Wiebe
Aaron Wiebe (posted Feb 11, 2011)
Loved reading this story Jack, you really captured the appeal of checking out a new lake!
guideman (posted Feb 3, 2011)
I wish I still had it but it got destroyed when we moved. My guess is that the fish probably weighed about 15 pounds. Thanks for the comment, Jack
sKunkT (posted Feb 2, 2011)
Great story! My wife also caught her first on a worm when she was a kid. I have yet to catch one. I would like to see a picture of that head mount if you still have it!
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