The Madness of Musky

Some people go fishing just to catch fish and to get outside, some people go fishing purposed to catch monsters. Some people go fishing to enjoy beautiful weather and warm temperatures, some people go regardless of rain and cold. To those who relate with the latter stated people know exactly what I’m talking about. The pursuit of something that requires so much patience that sometimes the fish seems like pursuing mythical creatures. Muskellunge are the largest member of the pike family and are notorious for being the fish of 10,000 casts. Musky can get to gigantic proportions and many anglers have stories of seeing huge specimens follow their baits or try to rob caught fish whilst retrieving. Most of the stories seem exaggerated but many are true. Here in Iowa we are very fortunate the local Department of Natural Resources stocks musky into many of our larger lakes. One such lake happens to be a short drive from my home. After a long rainy summer the river had absolutely zero chance of returning to its fishable state. I decided to focus on catching a musky on a kayak to pass time. Six weeks later I made that goal a reality.

Big baits, big setups, long casts, and many days without seeing a fish was extremely common in my pursuit. In a six week period I had 10 follows, 3 strikes, 2 passerby’s and 1 musky that didn’t get away. My wrists and elbows burned from using gear much larger than usual but every new glimpse of a real-life musky rekindled my desire to keep chasing them. I fished through many rainy and cold days trying to use the conditions to my advantage but nothing seemed to work or bring musky closer to the kayak. To make the situation more of a mental challenge my close friend caught 2 musky within 15 minutes a few weeks after I started my goal. As friends tend to do, he never stopped reminding me of his good luck.

One day I switched gears and brought tackle that I would typically use for walleye and bass and within 15 minutes I hooked and boated a 43.5” musky. The moment I saw the fish my heart began to pound and sweat formed on my brow. My only concern was getting the fish into the net and onto the deck of the kayak. After a quick 5 minute fight the musky was netted and being recorded by multiple GoPro cameras. All the hard work and stress had finally paid off. Pictures and videos were taken and the ‘ski’ was safely released. I paddled my trusted Cuda HD a victory lap around the lake while laughing the whole time. It was one of those moments where you’re so happy you want to laugh or cry and I fought tears and laughed the whole rest of the day. The fish was definitely not even close to being the biggest in the lake but I had worked extremely hard to catch it and it was finally an accomplishment. Just like other aspects of life, the hardest struggles are generally rewarded with the best accomplishments.

If you’re pursing such fish, think outside the box and don’t give up and keep grinding it out. There is a cure for the madness of musky just keep casting for it. Tight lines!

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