Fish Tales

JT’s First Lunker

A proud daddy moment. JT caught his personal best “Big Toad!” When he set the hook we watched the bobber stay down and deep moving along in the ultra clear water. Seconds later the bobber emerged and a big leap of the 5 pounder had daddy all panicked reaching for the phone and fumbling it in the canoe. (Wanted to get a video of him reeling it in.) JT stayed all calm and cool while the bass peeled line and surged under the canoe bending his ultralight rod in a perfect horseshoe. A couple of slow-mo head shakes underwater, the bass finally surfaced and I lipped it for him. I must have been way more excited as I quickly gave JT praises and a couple “daddy proud” pats on his shoulder. lol Anyways, the fish measured just over 20 inches. JT was awestruck! I will never forget his expression. A quick photo and JT put his trophy fish back in the water as he watched it swim away. I am certain this will be one of his many true fish tales and a memory that will last a lifetime



Cradle Musky

June 21, 2011 – Lower Manitou Lake, Adams Bay


50-1/4″ Musky

Just before dinner my brother and I decided to venture into a small bay and fish for northern pike on Lower Manitou Lake. I was casting a Mepps #5 Aglia over submerged cabbage bed when a big fish hit my spinner so hard the water boiled around it. I set the hook and connected. As the line moved left I could feel my heart pulse racing as I was anticipating what this fish might be. The fish swam and stayed deep for a good couple minutes. I thought to myself that the fish I was battling was too big to be a bass, and no chance it could be a walleye. Thinking ahead, I glanced over to see how big a net we had in the boat. I thought “Oh my gosh” we only have a small bass net! No way we could land this beast. After about a three minute battle and some big runs underneath that had me circling the boat the fish slowly came to boatside. It was a Big Musky!! An said “screw it with the net.” He then got over to the side of the boat, reached over and with his arms cradled the monster into the boat. We laughed in joy and I was almost crying in tears. The fish measured 50-1/4″! We released the fish after a few quick photos. It was a memorable day!


Love at First Bite

July 2015 – Rush Lake


My son JT fell in “Love at First Bite…” A couple years ago I took my then 1 year old son out fishing for his first time on Rush Lake. Rigged with a 3-foot Mickey Mouse fishing pole, bobber, and a long shank hook with a big juicy nightcrawler, I was so excited to see the anxious anticipation on his face as the bobber ever so slightly twitching as a fish nibbled away. Then the bobber halfway submerged and glided away at a fast pace and I said to him “you got him son.” I helped him reel it in and he landed his first fish, a sunfish. He fished a little bit longer and caught about 3 more sunfish and a perch. And then he was done for the day and wanted to go play on the beach. I remember my first days of fishing with my dad. Now I get to enjoy watching my son catch fish and spend quality father-son time on the water.


Two Big Muskies – One Weekend

May 2006 – Rowan Lake, Miner’s Bay


47″ Musky

Upon venturing into a small bay that connected to the main lake through a narrow channel, the sun that day was high and the weather was hot and humid. A slight wind coming from the west we focused on the shoreline that was furthest to the east. The wind was blowing into the shoreline and the pike bite was awesome! After some pike action, we moved the boat to an inside turn that was between shallow and deep water surrounded by emerging cabbage beds. My brother was throwing his favorite red #3 Mepps Aglia spinner. As he reeled his spinner in a huge musky slowly followed his spinner out from the shallows. The fish wasn’t active but after my brother casted his spinner in the direction of where she had gone the fish followed the spinner again back to boatside. At the time I was twitching a 4″ pearl-colored Banjo Minnow about half way back to the boat. The musky was in proximity of the lure. I twitched it once and she turned. I let the Banjo Minnow deadfall when all of a sudden the musky opened her mouth and inhaled the minnow. The water was so clear and I could see the entire episode unfolding before my very own eyes. She slowly turned away and swam with it… Moment of truth. I reeled in the slack line all the while I could hear my heart beat louder and louder… I set the hook and the fight was on! The fish ran from one side of the boat to the other and at one point had wrapped the line around a tree stump. Maneuvering the boat and keeping a tight line the fish unwrapped herself and after a brief battle my brother netted the fish. I will never forget the look on his face as he saw the fish thrashing in the net! He said it looked like an alligator! After a quick measurement and a couple photos the fish was released unharmed.

The crazy thing about this musky tale was the fact that I was using only 8 lb. test Stren and a short 4″ leader!


47″ Musky

This second monster I encountered was literally a couple days later in the same bay as the one above. My brother and I ventured into the same bay only out in slighter deeper water along a patch of reeds that extended between two points. I grabbed my rod already rigged with a 5″ pearl-colored Banjo Minnow and made my first cast into the reeds. I twitched it twice, and without warning the water blew up as the lure broke the surface! Just like a torpedo the musky came out of the water and exploded on the lure! Heart pulse thumping and my knees knocking… I set the hook and connected. The fish took off and went deep. For a minute the fish didn’t seem to want to come to the surface. My legs kept trembling and after about 3 minutes I got the fish to the boat and my brother again netted a beautiful fish! A quick photo and we put her back to grow bigger. A week I will never forget…


Monster Musky at Boatside

October 2001 – French Lake

The sun had just went down and the dusk started to settle in… It was a cool evening and my friend Jim and I were out for a little musky fishing. We hadn’t see any fish all afternoon. And then it happened… Around 8:30 p.m. I casted out a black topwater lure called the Hi-Fin Twin Teasertail over cabbage weeds in 7 feet of water. As I cranked a couple of turns on my baitcast reel, a large wake appeared behind my lure that seem to follow with each turn of my reel handle… It followed and followed for about 7 turns of my reel handle. The wake suddenly disappeared. Did it leave? I made a couple more cranks and as the lure approached the boat I made a quick L-turn with my rod changing the direction of the Teasertail and out of nowhere a giant musky did a big arc out of the water and slammed the lure missing it by a couple inches! KABOOOSH! Gone! Like an atomic bomb just went off. In a split second… My body was shaking and my heart pulse racing. Although it’s hard to say I really believe the musky I missed at boatside that evening would probably have been my biggest musky to date. It’s tales like this that makes one get an illness known as “Musky Fever.”


My Trophy Musky

August 2000 – French Lake


48-1/2″ Musky

On Saturday morning of August 2000, my friend Jim and I got to the lake about 6 a.m. I spotted several surface disturbances immediately. The fish seemed to roll over on the surface, sun-bathing or something. Some of those fish had to be in the upper-30s to mid-40 inch class range. We casted around the structure where we saw the disturbances hoping the topwater lures would at least trigger one to strike. Nothing happened until 7:30 a.m. My partner cranked a bucktail over submerged weedbed and had a follow by a 40+ inch fish. He tried a figure-eight at the boat, but no luck. About 8 a.m., I also had a follow by a nice fish only to turn away at the last minute at the boat. About 8:40 a.m., I threw a hot orange-black Mepps Magnum Musky Killer bucktail again right over top of the submerged weedbed and hooked what could be the largest fish in my life… I yelled out to my fishing partner Jim “It’s a big fish!” I don’t yell that very often, so I knew what I had at the end of my line was very special. Seconds went by… And the fish seemed to get stronger. All I wanted from this fight was to see how big this fish was. Each time I brought the fish up to the surface she would dive back down to the depths. The fish seemed to nose dive from one side of the boat to the other. After four minutes or so, I got her up to the surface and a quick flash of her wide back and Jim gasped “Oh man…” I followed the fish and kept the pressure until the fish got somewhat tired. Jim was excited about the fish as much as I was. He finally put his net down into the water and netted a…48.5-inch trophy musky! It was a dream of a lifetime for me! Thanks to Jim and the Mepps spinner!

Click here to view our Musky photos.