Welcome to Part 2 of the quest! How many parts??? Don't Know yet. Let me fill you in on my journey and why I call this the quest. For starters, this is a quest for the new state record muskie. You might ask why I feel this is a possible feat to accomplish, but let me tell you why I'm not totally insane in the brain.
Each year all species go on a feeding binge in the fall. Like anything else, when you eat more often, you are going to grow rather fat in the mid-section. Muskies are much the same. Each fall muskies go on a huge feading binge before the ice forms. In some lakes this means that they can grow 10 to 15 pounds heavier than at other times of the season, you could call it winter weight! Once the ice forms, they pretty much shut down until the following summer, which is why they need to gain weight for the winter months. Consider it like a bear in hibernation. Now, if you couple this need to feed with the correct food, such as a tullibee or cisco (a fatty, oily forage), then you can really have a monsterous fall fish. There are a few lakes in Minnesota that have all the right ingredients to make a 54 pound muskie. Trust me, I have seen these lunkers lurking.
It sounds like it should be pretty simple doesn't it? Wrong Muskie Fisherman! There are so many factors that take part in this excursion that make it very difficult. Heck, the record has been in tact for over 50 years. Not only do you have to convince a very large fish to eat, you have to do it in the worst elements on water. The cold temps blowing across open water doesn't even compete with the harshest of storms in your ice house. Not even close! The gear has to withstand the elements, which can be tough, and you tend to use lures that are way to big for a normal fisherman to cast. For instance, the bait I am using weighs 1 pound, and I'm not exxagerating that one bit! At times you can't feel your fingers or other body parts, and Ice can freeze the entire rig. It's almost insanity.
Why do I do it then? I think it's the thrill of the hunt. The chance for something so big on the end of my line that it scares me. The fact that I just might be nuts even encourages me, and it sure would be neat to catch the biggest one my home state has ever seen!
My quest continued this past Friday, and I chose to fish 2 lakes. One is very large, and well known, and the other will take some folks by surprise if I can catch the fish I am hoping for. Well, Friday came and went, but I can tell you that my partner Mike and I came very close. We saw 3 of the fish that we went up there for, and 3 other really big ones that would make any muskie man smile. When you raise a fish that large, it is hard to tell what it is. Is it 50 pounds? 55? I just don't know, but made the trip very exciting even without a catch. Saturday I worked my tail off for a certain fish that I hoped to pose with. Everything was textbook, until half way through the battle. This is where the gear part comes to play in the cold. Well, the fish broke my rod in half during the battle, and I was left with nothing to show for my cold weather outings. Maybe that is why I love it so much. Just maybe...But I will soon be back out there...At least until my lure bounces off the water!