This story starts out with the annual pilgrimage to the Chippewa Flowage for the Hayward Chapter of Muskies Inc October Tournament. This tournament is always a camaraderie trip with my partners and myself really looking forward to this event year after year.
The weather is always the hot topic immediately prior to the tournament because it seems more times than not it is cold, windy and rainy. I had not had the opportunity to venture up to the Chippewa Flowage for a couple weeks due to a few house projects and was not sure where the fish would be located. The water temperatures had dropped considerably along with the water level and the weather was cold and windy with a touch of slight rain. Ah yes, musky fishing weather at it’s finest!!!!!
In the early afternoon Mark McCumber, fishing in the middle of the boat with a “loaned” Crane Bait of mine sets the hooks into a low 40 inch class fish. After very brief battle he exclaims the fish is not hooked anymore. Just as he says this the fish comes up, shakes its’ head and dives back under the surface. I tell Mark to reel because the fish must have gotten some slack line. At this point Mark smacks me in the arm and holds up his rod with the leader swinging in the wind. “I’m telling you the fish is not on my line” Mark exclaims again. As my head switches back and forth from his leader to the water I am putting the scenario together. We had just seen one of the best magic tricks ever, and all of us had front row seats!!!
There was a quick heated discussion about the fish and how it had done whatever to get off the line. Oh yea, the leader was still snapped too!!!!
After deciding we would be going to the bait shop for a Crane bait that evening I tossed out my bulldawg and was surprised to have a hit on the first cast after the Houdini muskie!!! I was so dumbfounded I am not even sure if I set the hook. My first thought was could this be the same fish? The fish answered me by headshaking on top and showing me it was a hybrid versus the other fish that was a true muskie.
So the battle is on with another muskie and this thing is going all over the place. Within a couple seconds I have gone from the back to the front of the boat. While I am fighting the fish off the bow I hear a sequence of noises behind me that signify the same partner who gave my Crane bait away has proceeded to disassemble my Beckman net in the bottom of the boat!!!!! At this point I was thinking of dropping off my partner with some nearby duck hunters for a ride home but somehow he pulled himself back together and assembled the net in record time and netted the fish, a 40 inch hybrid, which was quickly photographed and released. After that incident we decided it was best to leave the net assembled at all times, just in case.
We laughed about the entire ordeal and could not figure out if we should classify the incident as good luck or bad luck. In the end we just racked it up to good times, good friends and good fishing on the flowage.
By C. Meyer (Guest Writer)