Then it dawned on me, my sucker bobber hadn't gotten stuck on a stump as I had suspected, but instead, the seemingly unmovable force now tugging at the other end of the line was indeed a Mohawskin monster that I was about to do battle with.
She was the third in a learning curve that began the night prior. While out battling strong winds and covering a lot of water without any action Thursday afternoon and evening, I decided to give one last stretch of water located along the channel edge a shot before calling it a night. Not even a minute into the drift and the sucker pole reel was clicking off line. I set the hook and after a brief battle the 45+ musky let go of the bait. The same thing happened the next day on the same stretch, when another beast smacked the roughly 12 inch sucker I was dragging. After a short fight the well over 40 inch fish was gone. Deflated, but not defeated, I decided to head out later Friday evening to again drift the weed line butting up against the channel. As I made my way toward the end of the drift, I noticed several stumps submerged just below the surface. As I drifted and casted my way through the stump field the bobber stopped. It didn't peel off line or make any indication it was anything other than a snag. As I worked to position my boat above what I though was the snag. I'm not sure if the fish decided to take line or what, but the next thing I realized it felt like I was moving a log on the bottom of the lake. A couple head shakes later and the battle was on. Like most muskies I hook on the Wisconsin River system, I didn't give the fish any line in an effort to keep it from snagging in stumps. She made several dives and even made a run for the motor, but after a few minute battle, she was in the net. After a few photos of the 46-inch musky, I set her back in the water and she swam off still quite green. Unfortunately the pictures I got were very bad, as the wind and fish I was trying to get back in the water quickly didn't cooperate.
On Sunday, it was my good friend and editor of the Press Star in New London, the catfish King John Faucher's shot at putting a beast in the boat. After a morning throwing for muskies, we decided to hit the drift that had produced my musky earlier in the week. Almost as soon as we dropped the sucker, the reel began clicking off line. John set the hook and the sucker pulled free from the fish. The now bleeding sucker didn't last long, as minutes later and a few hundred feet from where the first fish hit, I heard Johnny yell another fish had taken the bait. I yelled back to John to set the hook with everything he had. I watched as he reeled up the slack, and just as hard and as soon as I saw him put the brakes on the fish, the rod doubled back over hard as the fish headed the other way. Suffice to say, John was pretty bummed when the hooks came back empty. After also missing two earlier in the week, I had to smile and remind him that's how it goes. "Sometimes its nice just to be invited to the prom, even if you don't get asked to dance," I said to John with a smile. Regardless of the outcome, we had a blast chasing the beasts on Lake Mohawksin and look forward to the next time.
Suffice to say, dragging suckers proved to be pretty exciting on Lake Mohawksin over this now passed full moon phase weekend. The stretch where I located the big fish was off an inconspicuous weed line on the channel edge that many might have just cruised by in search of active fish. There's still plenty of time left this fall. Slow down your presentation, drift a sucker and enjoy the unlimited beauty now out there before the snow starts to fly.
It was great to be able to finally talk with you face to face while you were in Tomahawk last week. I can't wait to give that lure you spotted me for walleye and bass a shot. She looks like she'll be a killer. Hopefully I'll get some teeth marks in her soon. Also good to know you got in on some of that hot perch action. I hit them late in the fall last year and it was a blast. I was just using a hook, sinker and crappie minnows in shallow bays on the Wisconsin River system in Tomahawk. If its anything like last year, they should be shallow and feeding ferociously at least up until ice over. It sure is hard to beat those tasty brown morsels in the deep fryer.
Good luck to everyone heading out this week. Fish safe and enjoy your Northwoods water time!