The fish of 10,000 casts

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by CoolBreeze135, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Good evening, all. It’s time for a story. Lately I’ve been trying to catch a musky from my kayak. The first two attempts were enough to get me interested, but unsuccessful. My first time out, my friend raised a few fish, hooked two, and I saw a couple. The next attempt, I got a strike from a small fish, and an eat from a big one. After a battle, I lost the fish.

    Today, I set out in the afternoon for attempt #3. I was cautiously optimistic after the last attempt, but I only had 2 hours of fishing time. I cast several large baits looking for the toothy fishes, and raised a nice one. Unfortunately, it did not bite. I moved downstream for a while, and switched up baits again. Things were looking pretty grim, and I was fishing the final 50 yard stretch when my lure stopped in its tracks during retrieval. I thought I snagged the top of the tree I was casting at. But then I felt a head shake. I battled this fish for several minutes, but I was afraid of losing it. I was closed in by submerged wood on two sides, with the bank close by on the 3rd side. I worried the fish would wrap me around a tree. I kept the fish close to the surface and somehow managed to avoid the obstacles. Thankfully, I was fishing with someone in a second kayak, and we landed it as a team effort. It measured 36”, which isn’t very big for musky anglers. However, it was caught in a small river which is rarely more than 6 or 8 feet deep, so for the size of the water it was a decent fish.

    Anyway, I am feeling quite successful and happy that I prevailed on the third shot. Now on to the good part- the pics!

    497D8823-30B6-4C5E-A452-09EEDB1575C2.jpeg

    D0DD3B24-BF33-453B-BFAA-4CDB9F6859D4.jpeg

    38FD96D8-5247-4A6A-92F1-F6751EE699BA.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  2. ExAF1N1

    ExAF1N1 Member of a small but fierce tribe. LB-42 Supporter

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    Too Cool! Congratulations!
     
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  3. central joe

    central joe Wait For Me!! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Congratulations young fellar. joe
     
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  4. piney

    piney Bushwhacker

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    Congratulations. A nice reward for the time and effort you put in. Thank you for the story and pictures.
     
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  5. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Wow! Nice one.
     
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  6. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You did well.. :)
     
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  7. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Thats awesome, I have caught a ton of Muskies, but I can't say I ever hooked one from a kayak. Let alone land it! Nice job, an accomplishment to be proud of.
     
  8. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    Nice work! I always wanted to catch one from my 'yak too and I caught a small one a few years ago and pulled it off...but I kinda wanna hook into a larger one too lol.

    Way to get one crossed off your list!!! Great pics too!
     
  9. fatcat55

    fatcat55 Scout

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    Congratulations. Good job!
     
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  10. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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  11. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    Way to go! Great fish!
     
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  12. Bonekrakker

    Bonekrakker Not a chiropractor Supporter

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    Congo rats bro!
     
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  13. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    NICE! Plenty big if you ask me!!
     
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  14. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Great fish, and great pics!
     
  15. MommaJ

    MommaJ Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Great fish totally cool
     
  16. jonathan creason

    jonathan creason Scout

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    I’m man enough to admit that I’m more than a little jealous. Congrats on an awesome fish!
     
  17. Tangotag

    Tangotag Field Gear Junkie Bushclass I

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    Top predator of the waters.:dblthumb:
     
  18. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Nice fish! Congrats! I don't know how many hours I spent in Colorado throwing big streamers with an 8wt fly rod for tiger musky with no luck. I've never had a chance to go after true musky.
     
  19. Silvercreek Farmer

    Silvercreek Farmer Tracker

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    Very nice! I've had a few follow up, but never take my lure. I do love a Mepps spinner!
     
  20. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I caught a 52” musky years ago in a 14’ Jon boat with nothing but an electric trolling motor. 10 lb test, 1/4 oz jig head with a twister tail grub. That fish dragged my Jon boat more than 1/2 mile around the St. Lawrence River. Imagine how far it could have taken your kayak! They are awesome fish. Nice catch!
     
  21. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    NICE! :dblthumb:
    Congrats.
     
  22. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    Beautiful fish! And you caught it in what state?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  23. Hunter4623

    Hunter4623 Supporter Supporter

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    Awesome. Many people fish a lifetime and never catch one. It’s still on my list
     
  24. Paul Caruso

    Paul Caruso Being all that I am. Supporter

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    Congrats on the musky. Thanks for taking us along.
     
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  25. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    BooYahhh!! Awesome job!!

    Never caught one myself. First one I ever saw swam past me as I was swimming in a river that feeds into the St Lawrence.
    The tail just about smacked my face ad it glided by. HUGE!! Like The top of a barstool size!!
    I got out pretty quick!
     
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  26. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    West Virginia. There are some pretty good populations of them in some of the rivers here.
     
  27. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    That’s a monster, and quite the memory, I’m sure. This won’t be my last encounter in a kayak. That’s was too fun. I need another crack at it soon.
     
  28. oathkeeper762

    oathkeeper762 Bushbum & PT Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Congrats that’s a nice one. Well done.
     
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  29. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Fantastic! :dblthumb:
     
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  30. TentMonkey

    TentMonkey Scout

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    Tamarack angler kayak? What kind of gear were you using?
     
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  31. Luzster

    Luzster Of course your opinion matters, just not to me... Supporter

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    But how did it taste? :rolleyes:
     
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  32. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    We have a Lifetime Tamarack (my wife’s) and a Field and Stream Eagle Talon 12 (mine). I often loan out my wife’s kayak to my fishing buddies.

    My heaviest rods are only bass rods, so I was throwing 30lb braid, a steel leader, and a #5 Meppa Aglia spinner with a buck tail on my bait caster.
     
  33. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    I couldn’t bring myself to eat a fish like that. However, I have eaten smaller slot-sized northern pike (and would do so again). They are a little bony, but if you pull oFf a “back strap” fillet, it makes great fish nuggets to fry.
     
  34. Swampdog

    Swampdog Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Congratulations, excellent job and photos, thanks for sharing your fishing adventure with us.
     
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  35. WisconsinEric

    WisconsinEric Scout

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    Nice Fish. Consider picking up legit muskie release gear including a Beckman/Frabil muskie sized net and a mini bolt cutters to cut hooks/baits apart for speedy releases minimizing the risk of killing the fish. Muskies are very fragile fish, and the guys that chase them frown on those not taking the game seriously. Fishing in water over 80F degrees greatly increase the risk of fish death after release. Water Temp is less on an issue in rivers as the moving water has more dissolved oxygen, so you are good there.

    The hook/mini bolt cutters to have is the Knipix brand. Felco may have one too. We have no problem cutting apart $40 handmade baits in order to minimize risk of fish death. The baits can be rebuilt at home before the next fishing session. Replacement wire for said baits can be ordered from Rollie and Hellens Muskie Shop in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
     
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  36. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    well done. handsome fish ...
     
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  37. Snakeshooter

    Snakeshooter Supporter Supporter

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    Congratulations
     
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  38. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    I know that musky can be surprisingly fragile, contrary to their appearance. I do take it seriously, and in this case I did my best to take proper precaution. Here's my situation:

    I'm a budget-minded multispecies angler. I fish from a small, rather inexpensive kayak. My budget and watercraft do not allow me to take a bunch of dedicated musky gear. Also, I have a pretty minimalistic approach. I usually fish with one or two rods, a tackle box, and a few extra pieces of gear. That's just my style. I fit everything but my boat and rod in a backpack. A musky landing net is huge, and I honestly don't know where (in the kayak) I would put one if I had one. They are also stupid expensive. The Frabill Musky landing nets that I have seen cost upward of $150. That's way more than any of my rods cost, and a significant percentage of what my boat cost.

    Also, I fish small rivers for musky. It is very unlikely that the temp ever reaches 80F even in the summer. The size of the water also means the size of the fish is small. Most musky I could encounter are under 40''. I'm certainly not hunting for the giants. My bread and butter fishing is trout and smallmouth. I just hope to catch a small to medium-sized musky on occasion. I'm not spending much money on baits, either. I use size 5 Mepps Aglia (the successful bait from my OP), inexpensive bass jigs with trailers (musky seem to love them, from my limited experience, as well as some friends'), and some of the 5-6'' inch Storm Wildeye swimbaits for which I paid $1-$4 each. Nothing that I fish with is a big, serious musky bait with beefy hooks that would require legit bolt cutters.

    I definitely want to be aware and intentional when handling fish. I carry the Fish Grip, a pair of rubber-coated gloves, and a heavy duty set of pliers (with wire-cutters that are surely acceptable for the lighter hooks I use). My strategy (which worked in this particular instance), is to clamp the lower jaw once I get the fish to the boat. Leave the fish in the water while I remove the hook. Hold the fish up horizontally for a pic, then release. This fish swam away quite strong after that process. I know it's a bit more of an ordeal than if I had a larger craft outfitted with fancy musky gear, but it worked for me and I am confident that the fish was unharmed. Also, I was very mindful of how long the fish stayed out of the water. I didn't get as good of a picture as I wanted, but that's because I didn't want to leave the fish out for a big photo shoot.

    Does taking this "seriously" necessitate spending a bunch of money, or does it depend more on the strategy and care taken by the angler? I am of the strong opinion that the latter is a bigger contributor than the former. I might have less of the gear than other anglers, but I am cautious to take a lot of care. Surely there has to be an effective way to handle smaller musky that doesn't require a bunch of fancy gear, right? I definitely want to do things right, so I'm happy to learn from your experience.
     
  39. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Or you could just eat it.
     
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  40. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    There are plenty of tastier and less rare fish to be eaten.

    Plus, small fish taste better. The thin fillets get crispier when you fry them.
     
  41. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Oh, I'm not saying you should have eaten it. I respect your choice to release. I'm just saying, it's an option. Especially if the catch was damaging enough that they're not likely to survive, at least won't go to waste.
     
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  42. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Gotcha. Fair enough.
     
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  43. mcblade

    mcblade Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Well done man, especially fishing from a yak.
     
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  44. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There is nothing more depressing in fishing to have a big one of those follow your bait right to the boat with it’s lips millimeters away from the hook, just to have it decide to turn and swim off. Outstanding job on landing one!!!!
     
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  45. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Had a couple more encounters recently. In the first one, I was fishing shallow water for smallmouth. I'm talking maybe 2 feet deep. I hooked a decent 14-15'' bass, and brought it close enough to see it. About a 30'' musky t-boned the smallie. Destroyed it. I fought the weight of both fish for a while before my line snapped. Then the musky just stopped. It sat there slowly and gradually swallowing the bass it stole. I watched it for a solid couple of minutes before it swam off contented.


    Yesterday, I set out on foot for an exploratory fishing trip hoping to find multiple species at a new location. I had a larger rod with braid and a wire leader, so I cast around to see if there were any musky around before switching to target smaller species. No bites. I fished finesse bass baits for a while and also got no action. Then I switched to a senko and threw into some lily pads. Had a hit. Set the hook and felt a solid tug on the other end. I was thinking it was a hefty largemouth, but after a minute of fighting the fish, I saw the torpedo shape and toothy head. Turned out to be a small (29'') musky. Surprisingly, I was able to land it from the bank on my finesse rod with 12lb fluorocarbon. I snapped a quick picture before sending it back home.

    20190907_165919494_iOS.jpg

    20190907_170124798_iOS.jpg
     
  46. Jerseywith5

    Jerseywith5 Tracker

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    That’s a good outing.
     
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  47. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Excellent fish!

    I've caught rockfish from my kayak and had ling cod attack them on the way to landing. Definitely an exciting time!

    :38::38:
     
  48. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    Gotta downsize! While Crappie fishing one I hooked and landed
    2 in one day on a#12 Olive bead head bugger, on a 5wt. Fish were 40”&37”!
    No bullsh*t.
    Best part was the guy that was fishing near me throwing a big 10” Suick actually netted the 40” for me as I had my hands full as I was fishing off a small inflatable kick boat. I also caught a 35” later that season on the same gear! Go figure.... I guess the bugger looked tasty....
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  49. Pharmer

    Pharmer Supporter Supporter

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    Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing
     
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  50. TentMonkey

    TentMonkey Scout

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    There's a technique for getting the Y bones out of a pike (I assume a musky would be pretty similar). Basically you cut the larger chunk of meat off that's under the bones, and the piece of meat that's above the bones, leaving the part that's in the "Y".
    Screenshot_20190910-145049_Drive.jpg

    From "Tips for fishing from canoe & canoe country nature guidebook" put out by Northern Tier high adventure, Boy Scouts of America.

    Edit to add..... Sorry for the uncropped screenshot. The booklet is available for download, and it's pretty interesting reading for those that are into this stuff. Nothing I'd expect to be new news to most here, but entertaining nonetheless.
     
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