I've been curious, forever, about that big fish the Muskie. Tall tales I have heard thru the years of this large fish lurking in the waters near my home has intrigued me.
Living near the shore of Lake St. Clair in Michigan where this smaller lake joins two of the Great Lakes, stories have captured my attention. This body of water between Lake Erie and Lake Huron hold some of the largest Muskie for fishing enthusiast from all over the country. I had heard stories about these giant guys, but never had the chance to try and land one. I hadn't even seen one until now.
Living near the big fresh waters of the Great Lakes you have a tendency to take them for granted. I did until I lived a couple years in Indiana away from the blue waters. My career as a buyer took me to work for a publishing company there. That is the state that calls a pond a lake! Not like the lakes I know! Big, vast waters that go for miles and miles with large shipping vessels gliding thru them. And, with waves that can put you to sleep at night. The sound of soft, sweet lapping to the shore is so relaxing. The rhythm so hypnotizing you drift off into a daydream that is like no other.
The Right Stuff
Well of course, you can't just happen to catch a Muskie. It takes great knowledge and skill to know just where to locate these guys. No, not unless you are really, really lucky and your line is strong enough! It's quite a challenge if all you have in your tackle box are some night crawler harnesses and a few rusty Eagle Claw perch rigs. It is a must to have the right gear in order to be successful and land one of these big guys.
I was so mesmerized by the enormous size and carnival like look of the lures used. Some were just giant plastic wildly painted lures, some as one piece, others dis-joined into 3 or 4 sections. But the ones that caught my eye were the ones with all the tinsel like skirts on. Like a giant treble hook with a tutu! Sparkling, dazzling tinsel that was long and frilly on most. All colors, pink, purple, green, even iridescent.
A Knowledgeable Charter
The crew on the charter boat were the best. Very knowledgeable and fun to be with. Never a dull moment. We yacked together and told a few of our fishing stories to the crew. Lots of laughs. The owner Jason and first mate Alec of Fins and Grins Muskie Boat Charter are the best. We will be back again to see if we can beat the record somewhere round 56" or so. Yep, you read it right, they are jumbo.
The down riggers were set and ready to catch the mysterious fish. 12 poles in the water. And then we waited with anticipation, all of about 5 minutes when one hit! First man up to pull in this strong thrashing and splashing Muskie was my husband. He was grinning ear to ear. My son was happy to see that his adventurous gift to us was so thrilling. It was a great time for making memories together. My son, his wife, me and my husband spent ten priceless hours together on that blue water. Weather was a perfect 85 degrees and lots of blue skies and sunshine. You can't ever get tired of that combination.
The crew on the boat were very interesting explaining the stats about the lake, the importance of the moon rise and the weather and how it effects fishing every time. We were fortunate to have been going out when these conditions were pretty darned good! They also took great care into making sure that the catch and released Muskie were going back to their home in excellent condition. They had a "fish jacuzzi" right on board. This is where the fish were put into, immediately, to gain a little more fresh water and oxygen just before picture taking, then back into the drink.
Picture taking was fun, I needed a little help, the first fish I caught was certainly big and pretty with markings on its body that resembled a stripped tiger. This is the outcome of what happens when a Northern Pike breeds with a Muskie. They call it, rightfully so, a Tiger Muskie. Mine was about 44" . This hybrid was lighter in color and very pretty with a large head. Kinda scary looking, but just as slimy and trophy worthy as the rest of the fish we caught that day.
The entire days total was 11 fish on the lines, 9 brought in. I was shocked at how many Muskie we happened to catch that day. All in all it was a very successful fish outing due to the knowledge and expert direction of the Fins and Grins crew.
We did not start to head back to shore until the sun was setting. Water was calm and blue, air was soft and warm. What a beautiful sunset.
What surprised me was when the first mate was told to hatch down the front windows. Seems that something was approaching us in large numbers straight ahead. Coming right at us. On the radar a dark cloud was seen and growing larger............................................. FISH FLIES! These guys were hatching and forming a large cloud as we approached. Soon the windshield was covered with them.
Coming into the marina it was dark. I was very curious why. There was no lighting to guide you in. Seems that all lights are shut down as to not attract these messy flies. They are completely harmless, but in large quantities a nuisance and pretty stinky. At the end of the fish fly season it is not unlikely to see their carcasses being shoveled up into the garbage. Walls of buildings are covered with them like polka dots everywhere.
I remember my dad telling me that the fishing always seemed to drop off during fish fly season. Not for the MUSKIE! Fish flies are a great snack for pan fish, perch, bass and walleye. Filling their bellies full and making them uninterested in worms on a hook. But the Muskie eat these smaller fish, not the fish flies. So more fish flies, happy small fish and more giant Muskie!
Do you have a fishing story to tell. Share them with me. My love of fishing started when I was very young. Fishing with my dad and my childhood friend, Johnny, was some of my most memorable times. We never caught the big ones, but we thought that little perch on the line was surely a fighter. I just regret that I didn't mount one for the wall!
I look forward to the next time out on Lake St. Clair. It's a beautiful place to be. I definitely need to gear up for the big ones!!!
Enjoying my summer in Michigan!
Our Recent Posts
Catching The Big One!
July 14, 2018
And The Fun Begins!
June 22, 2018
How To Arrange Flowers Like An Old Master's Painting