Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Catch The World Record Muskie

Many people who fish for muskies spend time thinking about when and where the next world record may be caught.

The first problem with this is we don't know what the biggest muskie ever caught was.  There was an awful lot of lying and cheating in the forties when it came to the biggest muskies ever caught.  Some of those fish were still quite big, and one is still widely recognized as the biggest ever at a little over 69 pounds.  There is much speculation about whether or not that fish is as big as we're told or if Indians speared it or about other problems with it.

The next few biggest fish also have questions about their authenticity.  The 65 pounder caught in the Georgian Bay in Lake Huron in the late eighties has new questions about its genuineness.  And the 61 pounder from the same place in 2000 was not weighed as well as those who care about this record would like.

All this leaves us with, possibly, a 58 pound fish caught in Michigan last year.

I find all of that uninteresting.  (If you find it interesting, you might read A Compendium of Musky Angling History.)

One reason I don't find the subject of the biggest fish interesting is because there are many people attempting to determine the biggest fish by calling everyone liars and cheats.  They may be right, but they're still dicks.

(Another fun subject is the Indian spearing in northern WI.  If I find the pictures of dozens of fish bigger than you'll ever catch that were speared by the indians when the cold blooded fish were too slow to move, then I'll post on it.  They're able to just about kill every fish in a lake, and they've done a fair job of killing off lots of fish.  It'll be another anti-PC post.)

A lot of warm-up, here's the post:

The places where 60+ pound muskies live is likely: the Great lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and there are a handful in several lakes in Northwest Ontario.

(NW Ontario, for those not in the know, is the southwest corner of the province of Ontario.  Northern Ontario seems to be in the middle....)

That's where the biggest fish are.  Then you'll need to consider the size limits on the fish in the various places.

In an attempt to manage the fish population, many have successfully lobbied politicians to put large minimum size limits on muskies.  In many parts of Ontario (which includes NW Ontario and half the great lakes, including the Georgian Bay) the size limit is 54 inches.

In order for a fish to be properly weighed in order to count towards the world record it needs to be killed, and in order to be legally killed it needs to be bigger than the minimum size limit.

This size limit leads us to the interesting situation where the 61 pound fish caught in 2000 was, depending on how it was measured, would have been around 54 inches, and may well have been undersized had it been caught and kept the following year, after the size limit was increased.  Possibly the biggest muskie ever caught was borderline too small to be legally kept!

It seems to me that size limits in excess of 50 inches may just as well be "no kill."
Oh you caught the first legitimate 70 pound muskie ever?  Well its too small to be legally kept. - many muskie activists would like to say
1. laws stink
2. the government is evil
3. people who advocate muskie regulations are no better than the wefare moms demanding stuff from the government

All this leads us to the biggest muskies in the world and the size limits necessary to count towards a really big fish pointing us towards a handful of NW Ontario lakes and the southern half (US side) of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Much to the dismay of muskie casters, the two ways most likely to hook a really big fish are with live bait and trolling.  (Many of those casters would like nothing better than to ban both.)

Once a giant fish is located live bait is the way to go, but the places where those fish are likely to be are places where there are not a lot of fish.  Lifetimes could be spent in search of one of those big fish and you'll not find one at the speed with which a live bait fishermen covers the water.

This leaves us with trolling in the above mentioned places.

However there are yet more laws to contend with.

Most places allow one line in the water per person.  Because of the way ice fishing works, Wisconsin allows three line per person (where trolling is allowed, and there are new one line trolling places available this year, and laws still suck).  Michigan allows one line per person; Ontario allows one, and I don't know about Ohio, New York, or Minnesota.

More lines in the water means more chances at fish, so if my goal was to catch the biggest muskie ever, I'd troll Lake Superior in Wisconsin territories.  Perhaps also the St. Lawrence in New York waters.

Then we're limited to the fall.  Fish eat lots in the fall to bulk up before a slow winter when they lose lots of weight.  They eat some in the spring and summer, but it is in the fall when the fish are the biggest in these colder climates.

We're now narrowed to trolling Wisconsin waters in Lake Superior, and depending on New York trolling laws, the St. Lawrence River in NY.

The way to troll for muskies is almost certainly the way its done on Lake St. Clair.  Possibly with some modifications.

Finally the subject of the post:

If my goal was to catch the biggest muskie ever, I'd by a boat like the Canadian trollers on Lake St. Clair (the American trollers use smaller boats, I think) rig it like they do there, and I'd troll around Lake Superior in Wisconsin waters.  I'd hire a bunch of people to ride around in the boat with me too, so I could get the maximum number of lines in the water.  I'd want to do this from the middle of September through whenever the season ends or the ice becomes too much.  (Boating in lake Superior in November isn't a great idea.  Just ask the Edmund Fitzgerald and many other large ships.)

The Apostle Islands and any other structure would be where I'd start.

So that's what I'd do, if that was my goal (it isn't) and its time of the year didn't interfere with deer hunting (it does).

I wish you good luck if you want to try it.  I'll pass on the idea for the many, many, many days it would require for even the slightest hope of success.  But I'd travel up there to spend a handful of days trying it out.  It wouldn't be the worst way to spend your time.  Let me know how you do.

tldr: fishing laws suck too, deer > muskies

No comments:

Post a Comment