Trophy Muskie Caught Four Times Before Being Kept
A 47-inch, 27-pound, 2-ounce Chippewa Flowage muskie caught on Aug. 11 by Jim Kniprath of Wisconsin Rapids had been caught and released four times before, records show.
The last angler who released the tagged fish, Jim Chinnock of Hayward, dubbed the fish “Long Face” because of its large head.
Chinnock said he was fishing the Kindergarten, a hot spot this year on the Chip, on Aug. 5 when it hit his surface bait at 8 p.m. and totaled the lure, tearing out the back gang hook and one side hook and separating the middle joint.
After removing the hooks, he and his wife, Carol, watched the fish swim away in good shape.
Six days later, they watched Kniprath fight and boat a large muskie in the same area, and upon checking the musky chart at Herman’s Landing, realized it was the same fish.
The history provided by Herman’s showed the muskellunge was first caught, tagged and released at 40 inches by Mark Phillips in the Pocketbook area on Aug. 4, 1986. On Oct. 7, 1986, John Kaiser of Hayward caught and released the 40-inch plus fish on Little Pete’s Bar and Randy Leonard of Hayward caught and released it 20 days later on Big Pete’s Bar, measuring it at 41 inches.
Those were the last documented records on her, as the tag was growing over and hard to read, Chinnock said. “How many other fishermen had the opportunity to see her, lose her or release her in the last five years, we’ll never know. “She was a dandy — an aggressive fish, as they all are, and I’11 bring never forget her”, Chinnock said.
“The bottom line is that this is a good example of the catch-and release program that Muskies, Inc., began so many years ago, and the success of it on the Chippewa Flowage”, he said.
He was so moved by the experience that he penned a poem titled “Long Face”.