There's the trying different lure sizes, colors, presentations, locations and a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with catching a big musky, even if you're just the one holding the net and snapping the photos.
This was certainly the case this past weekend as my buddy, Andy, boated his largest fish to date on Lake Mohawksin Sunday.
Even beforehand he was off to a pretty good start after boating a 38-inch fish on a small lake just north of Tomahawk Friday afternoon. Being that he had to work for the opener, it was actually just his third cast of the season. The fish took an orange-bladed black bucktail in shallow weeds. And I was under the impression these were the fish of 10,000 casts.
Saturday was humbling, as a brutal cold front packing strong winds pushed through the area. After 10 hours of fishing we had not had a strike, much less seen a fish.
Things certainly didn't look too promising for Sunday as the temperature had dropped the night prior to around 30 degrees. After waiting for the air to warm the water temperature sightly, we decided to head out at around 10 a.m. The plan was to fish at least through a solunar minor that was taking place from noon to 1 p.m. We had tried a wide-range of tactics and presentations in various structures and depths in an effort to find an active fish.
By 1:30 p.m. we had just about had enough when I suggested we try one last stretch of shallow weeds. After cruising the boat into position, I heard him grunt "fish" from the back of the boat. From the tone of his voice I could tell he had hooked a nice one. It didn't take long and the Mohawksin monster was presenting itself boat side. As many musky anglers know, this is the moment when many things can go terribly wrong. Just as he brought the fish on its side, the fish turned and made a dash for the motor. To his credit, Andy was able to turn the fish without causing it to go wild, and after working the musky back around in a large half oval pattern, I was able to easily slide the fish into the net.
Being that we didn't want to stress the fish too much, we only took a quick measurement and a few photos. At 47 inches, Andy had just landed and released his biggest fish ever.
After some celebratory high fives, we began to wonder if we had dialed in on a pattern. I switched to a topwater and within 10 minutes had a fish following up to the boat. Within the next half-hour I had another follow and missed this fish on a figure-eight boat side. The third time was a charm, as moments later I landed my first musky of 2009. It was only 32, but it sure felt nice getting on the board for the year.
Since my friend had a drive home ahead of him, we didn't fish much longer after I connected. What made this outing so unique is we were able to find a pattern that I wouldn't have tried had it not bee for his fish.
Topwaters aren't my first choice of baits to use after cold fronts, and I certainly don't turn to them in spring in cold conditions. However, this time they worked and did so very well.
They say you should learn something new every time your on the water. The lesson I took from this outing is it certainly does pay to think outside the box sometimes. Topwaters after a cold front in the spring. I guess I'll be much more open to trying knew things as the season starts to heat up.
FYI. There's full moon set to take place this weekend! Good luck fishing and enjoy you Northwoods water time.