Unexpected circumstances have brought an early end to my guiding season, but we were able to finish with a bang.
On Monday, Jordan Gensmer from Angler’s Haven and his father Pat joined me for a day of chasing muskies. Our streak of nasty weather and tough luck on musky days continued as we fished through snow storms throughout the day. We did however have one heck of an encounter with a big fish. Jordan brought a musky that we estimated to be in the upper 40’s to the boat on a Bull Dawg. We circled the boat and brought our suckers through the zone she was in, and it was more than she could take. She nailed one of the suckers, and Pat was in for a ride after he reared back and set the hooks. It was one heck of a battle as the rod buckled and Pat had all he could do to gain any line. I thought it was a done deal. After what seamed to be an eternity as Pat fought the fish around the front of the boat, the line went slack and reality hit. We had just lost a great fish. Devastating may be too strong of a word to use, but it was certainly more than disappointing for all of us. Everything was perfect, and I wanted Pat to get his hands on that fish more than anything. As musky fisherman do, we picked up our chins and battled through the rest of the day with driving snow piling up in the boat. That was the last fish we would see on the day, but it won’t be soon forgotten. Water temps. ranged from 49 – 52, and it looked more like December than October. In fact, I couldn’t help but sing a few Christmas carols that I know the boys appreciated. Thanks to Jordan and Pat for a truly memorable day. We’ve got a score to settle men!
A late cancellation in my schedule on Friday gave us an opportunity to get Rick Roppe from Winter, WI back in the boat for his annual trip. Rick brought along his boy Scott (who’s a bit familiar with my boat) for a classic fall day that produced big fish and broke our musky slump. Our main target was walleyes, and we had stiff southwest winds to battle. It was a “fish here, fish there” kind of day. When all was said and done, the results were impressive. The trick was getting the boat to stick on our spots in winds that gusted over 30 mph. When we were able to do so, walleyes up to 27″ were cooperative on jig and minnow combinations in 17′ to 30′ of water that ranged from 41 to 49 degrees. They were fabulous fall specimens at their max weight, and we were also able to catch a few smaller eaters for the boys to take home for dinner. The day was capped off with Rick landing his first musky ever, a fat 38″ fish that Scott had spotted surfacing in 30′ of water moments before it hit Rick’s jig. I’ve never seen that happen before at this time of year, but it happened… Who knows??? It was the perfect ending to a day that was the answer to why we fish in October. It’s not easy, but the rewards can be incredible. Congratulations to Rick and Scott on some incredible fish. Gotta love it!
Mark Hayman from Siren, WI had one heck of a trip last year, boating a mammoth 48″ fish that is one of the heaviest ever in my boat. Well, this wasn’t last year… Mark and I dealt with rain, snow, sleet, rain, and winds up to 30 mph. on a day that tests your fortitude. Mark has caught enough muskies to know why we put ourselves through this, and this was a day that makes you appreciate every one you catch. We pitched plastics, deep cranks, and slow rolled blades while dragging suckers throughout a day that produced nothing. NOTHING!!! Water temps ranged from 39 to 44 degrees as we ate our helping of humble pie. When it was all said and done, we both agreed that this was pay back for last year…
Tim Beres from Minneapolis returned for a fall trip along with his buddies Tom Blodgett and John Koleske from Racine, WI for an afternoon trip on Sunday. We had a tough walleye bite to deal with, but it wasn’t without excitement. John landed his biggest eye ever, a monster 28″ fish in 30′ of water on a jig and minnow that was thick as could be. Again, that’s why we fish in October! That wasn’t enough for John however… Awhile later he tangled with a musky on light line, and came SOOO close to putting it in the net. He battled the high 30’s fish to within a few feet of the boat before it decided to end the game after giving us a good look. Heartbreaker!!! After several short bites and a small walleye landed, we moved into some shallower water in search of crappies. We found cooperative fish in 25′ of water. Although the size was small, the action was good, and the guys stayed busy as the sun set on our 2013 season. I found it ironic that we finished the season how we began, crappies on plastics under slip bobbers. Water temps held at 44 degrees throughout the afternoon that featured winds from the south, west, north, and east. Good luck to anyone trying to predict this weather!!!
Even though this is the end of my 2013 open water guiding season, I’ll continue to post reports and articles periodically throughout the winter. Stay tuned… Thank you to everyone who has made this a magical season that I’ll never forget. I’m blessed!!!