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cjac

Top 3 Wins and Opportunities from 2008

27 posts in this topic

Well, I'm not calling the season just yet, but the weather is making the rest of November a bit dicey. Plus, my back is talking to me and telling me to shut it down and avoid the impending 3rd Annual CJAC Back Surgery......

Top 3 Wins:

1) There are more bucktails that produce than just Double 10s. Granted, they work, and I use them, but single bladed bucks, smaller and mid-size saw more use this year, and for good reason.

2) Working more water and water adjacent to key spots. Not to sound "commercial" but I went to the RK seminar at the March Muskie Expo and applied what he said about key and secondary spots. Good stuff, and it led to positive results, thanks Rob!

3) I personally settled on Cortland Bronzeback as my preferred line, that's what will be spooled on '09 on my reels. It simply performed the best for me. Holds the spool the best, doesn't hold water, and gives me confidence.

Top 3 Opportunities:

1) Figure 8 technique and execution. I'm great on a cast with no follow and can make great looking 8s, but reading the fish on a follow and adjusting accordingly is a HUGE opp for me. Not to sound judgemental at all, but this should likely be an opp for all of us. No question, pressure, especially in the Metro, has cut down on the "no brainer" fish that eat like crazy. These fish are more educated and will show themselves, but the angler needs to trip their trigger into eating.

2) Closely related to the fig 8 point, hook sets. No matter the situation, I still need to remind myself to drive the hooks home. I lost a lot of fish this year, more than in past years, and I look back and ask myself... "Did I BURY the hookset?" Answer most often was sadly "no".... This correlates directly to my point above about fish not coming in and commiting on their own.

3) Boat control. Keeping the boat in a position to work an area well is still an ongoing challenge. I will say I got a lot better at fishing windy conditions, and it does pay off, but being better at positioning the boat in relation to structure is still an opp, and likely will be for years to come. It's great if you can identify a spot, but if you can't fish it effectively you lost the battle.

I left off stuff like better electronics and equipment as those are things the budget unfortunately controls more than I as an angler can control......

I'm curious what others have as take aways from the season, even if you're not done yet.

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that's tough. if i took anything away from this year i'd have to say it was to keep fishing at places i forgot about. places i've fished in the past and for some reason just ignored. alot of it has to do with the fact the croix/ssippi4 are a never ending story with endless possibilities and no matter how long i fish them i'll never get it perfect so it'll never get boring. but theres little lakes, and smaller rivers that when i fish them i have a real good time. i was surprised this year at how many places i know. just never really thought about it. it was cool to go to some and remember the past visits, fish caught, fishing buddies not around anymore, stuff like that.

i did'nt go to the vermilion river for a long time. like 8 or 9 years maybe. called an old buddy i used to fish it with and he jumped at it. rivers too small for my boat but we did great off shore. it was pike feeding time. alot of fun. then a little secluded lake thats not named on any maps. at least none i've seen. we always called it ''lake nevermind'' , did'nt fish that for at least 10 years. still have to walk to it through about 2 miles or so of timber. but talk about fun? sunfish are still the size of dinner plates and crappies even bigger than i remembered. bass are like down south. no pike that time but they were big before. did'nt see any difference in the way it looked from then till now. i'm going to take some time this winter and just write all my old spots down for next year, and the next, and... anyway that's what usefull things i took from this year.

as far as muskie specific? i'm old school. i'll try anything and everything once and always go back to what i know.

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Bring this up on Dec 1st and I'll see what I can do to reply...

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Lets see.....

Top 3 Wins:

1. Catching my PB in October after a long summer of going fishless. While I still haven't broken the 50 inch mark, the big fat 48 will keep me happy through the winter.

2. Not doing any more damange to my boat or motor. After wrecking my prop 2 weeks after I bought the boat and putting some minor rash on it, this season left the Lund in the same shape as she started the season in.

3. Trying different types of line and figuring out which one I am going to continue to use. I had reels spooled up with 3 different types of line, and one surely became my favorite by far. Less water retention, casts great, spools up good and holds knots easy. Will be spooling all my reels up with it next season.

TOP 3 Opportunities.....

1. Without a doubt OPERATION MUSKIE! Anytime you can fish on the greatest lake in the world, is a bonus, but to do it with all the other vets was truly an honor. Our guides were world class and truly nice and humble folks. Lets face it, anytime you have the chance to fish muskies with Pete Maina, Jack Burns, [PoorWordUsage] Pearson, Doug Johnson, Chad Cain, Steve Jonesi and others you better but your listening ears on. These guys are AWESOME!!!

2. Fishing new waters. After many years of saying that I was going to expand my muskie waters, I finally added a few more lakes to my aresenal. Finally got the chance to fish Mantrap, which is a very nice lake and then finally got up to the little pond and fished for a day. Will be spending more time on them.

3. Fishing with new people and friends/family. Met some new folks that have become really good friends and fishing partners. Some have now become part of our annual LOTW group, which has now doubled in size! But even better than that was the fact that my 8 year old son Zavier has become a main stay in my boat when muskie fishing. He absolutely has the fever and hopefully he will boat his first next season. Before I know it, I will be coming home to an empty boat garage and my truck will be gone!!

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3. Trying different types of line and figuring out which one I am going to continue to use. I had reels spooled up with 3 different types of line, and one surely became my favorite by far. Less water retention, casts great, spools up good and holds knots easy. Will be spooling all my reels up with it next season.

Musky18, What line did you settle on?

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#3 of Bret's oppurtunity's is down right awesome. Sounds like you got yourself a life long fishing partner. I had my 4 year old daughter out casting a mini hawg wobbler the other day (from shore, in the boat might be considered child abuse at this point in the season) I cant wait untill she can come out and fish for a longer duration.

Good luck next year, I hope your son gets his first!

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Believe it or not, I settled on Spiderwire Stealth. I know a lot of folks haven't much cared for it, but after using it for about 1/2 the summer, I really liked it. Will only use the 100lb stuff though. The other lines that I had on my reels were Cortland Masterbraid and Tuff Line. I have been a Tuff line guy for the majority of my muskie years, but would rank the Cortland above it now and the Spiderwire above the Cortland. Just my personal perference.

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Thanks Bret. I had Stealth on one of my Bass rods. Initially did not like it cause it seamed to bury into the spool ... may have to give it a second look.

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I've got the same line's as Bret. I just put Stealth on my trolling rods, so far so good. Doesn't bring in hardly any water, I may have to try it on my casting rods next year. I'm a pretty big cortland fan otherwise. Too bad they all lose their coating after some use.

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For me this was the most productive year and I boated more fish than any year prior but somehow I still have more questions than ever before.

Top Wins:

1- Finally worked on trolling a bit and was able to land my PB as well as really pay closer attention to structure while doing so.

2- Have 4 mutliple fish days which tells me that local weather may trump all and fishing the right times is key.

3- Bought a Curado 300 which was easy enough to fish with that even my lazy brother would chase 'skis with me a bit.

Top Opportunities:

1 - Fish a Bulldawg more - they work.

2 - Fish a new spot at least once on each lake each trip out.

3 - Better and more consistant figure 8's - also impart more triggering action during the retrieve.

A definite win was also being able to fish with some of the good foils on this forum as well as trading some ideas with others.

- erik

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I had very few "wins" this year, but the opportunities that I had were nothing short of amazing. This was my second year chasing muskies and I must say that I have the bug something terrible. Anytime I got a chance, day or night, I was on the water.

First opportunity was around Easter. I was headed to my Mom's place in Southern MO and wanted to try one of the lakes while I was down there. Ended up meeting a guy and jumping in with him for a day. First couple casts and he sticks a PIG on a Krusher. Ended up fishing with him again later this summer when he came up and stayed with me for a long weekend. Put a few fish in the boat again, but nothing like the toad he caught less than 10 casts into the season.

Second great opportunity came this spring when I started visiting with a guy about a lake here in Iowa. He shared a ton of information with me and even let me jump in the boat with him for a day. I learned a bunch about early season fishing and even had a shot at a few fish.

Third was in late July when another HSOforum that is devoted to muskies offered a good deal on a week on Vermilion. I ended up in a cabin with some great sticks and to top it off a very well known guide ended up crashing with us for most of the week. Being able to pick these guy's brains and fish with them was an unbelievable experience. I have since fished with one of the guys again and we have become pretty good friends. I am definately going to try and hire the guide next year to try and repay him for everything that week. Not only answering about 4,916 of my questions, but also letting me jump in the boat with him for an afternoon/night trip was unbelievable and something I will never forget. I ended up going the whole week with out getting a fish in the boat and I wouldn't trade this trip for one where the fish jumped in the boat. I soaked up that much information. It was awesome.

My season ending leaves me with mixed feelings. I put a ton of time in and only have 2 sub-legal fish to show for it but the experiences leave me with a great feeling about the season. I went in thinking I knew a lot about this fish and I leave it knowing we will probably only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding what makes a muskie tic. The people I have met and had a chance to fish with were nothing short of awesome and I look forward to fishing with them again.

Oh wait.......season isn't over yet. Headed to MO again for Christmas. You know I can't be in the area and not get a few lures wet..............................

Oh, almost forgot to mention that in late August I was fishing off of some docks when a guy unloading his boat invited me to jump in with him. Turns out he is a very good stick and we have become very good friends. Looking forward to fishing with him in the future as well. First day I was with him I netted a beautiful 45" for him.

Writing this down has made me realize the people I met this year were nothing short of amazing. We hear and read so much about the A-Holes on the water, but there are truely some very very very good people involved in muskie fishing. I didn't want to name any names, but if anyone reads this and realizes they were one of the people in my story I just want to say "Thanks" and I look forward to gracing your back decks again in the future!!

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I've been thinking about this a bunch. A lot of thoughts from this year, things were definitely different from last year and different from how I expected them to be.

Some observations from the year:

-The three most important things are location, location and location.

-Equipment, you fish a lot, it's worth paying for the best stuff the first time. I'm so sick of broken reels.

-#1 bait last year doesn't mean squat this year.

-Pressure effects the fisherman more than the fish, however it does change their habits.

-Just because you have a pattern, doesn't mean you'll get any pics with fish!

-Hooksets are over and underrated.

-Sharp hooks are brutally important.

-Everybody is out pounding the break-line for a reason.

-Everybody is out pounding with double tens and bulldawgs for a reason.

-You can't fish too big of a bait.

-Sometimes you can't reel fast enough.

-There are muskies in the metro who haven't seen a bait.

-Slow down, it's amazing what you'll learn. (and i don't mean your baits!)

-I need to get north more next year!!!

-There are some great people in this sport, look forward to fishing with them next year and meeting some more.

All in all it was a great season, I never feel like I fished enough though. Seemed like right when I was getting stuff all figured out the season ended. My best year in size and definitely numbers by quite a bit, I just wish I could've boated a fraction of the fish I saw. Follows from lazy fish were king this year, next year i'm gonna figure out how to get them to eat. haha yeah right.

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This was my first year fishing muskie and it was awesome! but about everything was knew to me....

A few things I learned

-the FEVER is real!

-like mentioned above get a hook sharpener and use it!

-fly fishing can be extremely effective for catching muskies

-getting up real early can payoff big time

-I MUST figure 8 or check for fish EVERY time, I might have caught a huge skie if I hadn't ripped my fly out of the water so fast one time

-Suicks and Pacemakers are the bomb

-from what I saw this year I'd rather fish October and November than the rest of the year combined

-in rivers sometimes muskies use way heavier current than I, and I would guess most people think (sometimes trout like water like riffles and pocket water)

Things I want to do next year

-fish some new lakes, and float some more rivers

-try out more lure styles and retrieves and tie some sweet flies

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JRedig:

YOu get up in my neck of the woods next summer, give me a shout. Some pretty awesome lakes in my area (Mille Lacs, Cedar, Alexander, Shamineau and Miltona to name a few)

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Bret, thanks I will definitely remember that next year. I should fish some of those more often, I have family up that way and never make it out. But that's why it's on my list for next year!

-Jeff

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Wins:

-Being there when Nater got his first, in the dark, on the 8, awesome. Got his 2nd at boatside too. Nate was the closer this year in my boat.

-Hitting up a north metro lake for the first time, fishing smart, sticking a nice fish on a busy busy weekend.

-Netting 2 PBs for DeBo this year (and last year) was also cool.

-Two other fish I caught in tough conditions this year made me quite happy.

Opportunities:

-Living in the north metro next year is a major opportunity. Spent most of the year fishing Sugar and can't wait to have more options and meet some new people.

-Figured out what lakes to fish at what time of the season this year, major opportunity to capitalize on that next year.

-Really want to get the lady some good musky action next year so she's hooked. That will only mean more time on the water for me.

Other good stuff:

-One set of raingear between two guys on a cold rainy day. We stayed out because the fishing was awesome but it was miserable.

-"Preparedness is a personality trait and not the true measure of a man's worth" (Me, after the above scenario was realized)

-"The mag dawg sinks faster than the regular dawg because it's heavier" (DeBo has a major intellectual breakthrough)

-Watching that 41" headshake at the boat as pieces of my booty-dawg flew all different directions.

-Sticking a couple on homemade baits.

-Netting a fish for one of the true characters in our sport after he got a hook buried in his hand in the dark on Tonka, interesting experience.

-Expanded the network, got a great group of guys to exchange info with, probably the single most important thing anyone can do to become more successful.

-Screwed up my chance with the biggest one of the year. That'll happen.

-Really enjoyed the mild weather this fall compared to the last few seasons. Even got a really nice day to end the season last Saturday.

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2008's top three:

1. Breaking the (year and a half) musky dry spell. Lots of follow's in 2008, lost one on a manta, landed two mid-sized musky's and two smaller tigers.

2. Fishing with friends, altho I am having difficulty converting them into musky fishermen.

3. Discovering this web-site. Since most of my fishing partners focus on panfish, bass and walleyes, I've really enjoyed finding this web-site. The posts from many of the regulars are great: cjac, jredig, musky18, rebel9921, etc. Last couple years I was scanning another site with 1/10 the trafic, and very little info.

Next Year

1. Start the musky season earlier, before the 4 th of July.

2.Study up on how to move around the site better and post pictures etc.

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I never feel like I fished enough though.

Now this is hilarious! JR you fish more than anyone that doesn't do it for a living! You got the sickness boy.

- This season taught me muskies will never be easy, they kicked my [PoorWordUsage] this year, that is for certain.

From now on I will be more open to new locations, tried the edges all season with minimal success. Definitely going to try all three areas whenever I'm on the water until I spot em, shallow, weedline, deep/suspended. I am getting better at record keeping to hopefully over the long haul to notice trends in location and presentation. Another thing I plan on doing is being more versatile/open minded and fishing a lot more out of the box type of fishing. I just can't sit and pound the same darn water that everyone else is hitting with similar baits. Much more open water adjacent to good spots and looking at the graph is the game plan. Not to mention unorthodox methods of presentation too! Going to study oddball fishing patterns this winter and see if anything comes about next year.

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Originally Posted By: JRedig
I never feel like I fished enough though.

Now this is hilarious! JR you fish more than anyone that doesn't do it for a living! You got the sickness boy.

Pretty sure you were right there with me a lot of those days, not to mention the last day of the season well past dark! wink

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My top three go as follows. Catching my largest at 54". This came after losing its twin about four hours earlier. Watching a new partner catch his first 50 after finishing his cast with the lure dangling in the water. All of this happned on the same day. A week later on the same lake we're fishing and see something out in the water about 2 to three hundred yards away, here theres a musky swimming with it's head out of the water, so we proceed to fish towards it. I'm talking to my buddy in the front of the boat and my other friend in the back of the boat says you got a follow there's a huge wake behind my lure, the fish hammers my topwater, fifty one inches!!! Plus I had a 5 fish day with my dad and BIL with two on the eight.

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Musky 10, that is good action, thats a good yr, you must have really put the wood to em this yr?

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It was a good year. Especially since I now have a new fisherman at home now. He was born june 27. So needless to say fishing time was cut dramatically.

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very cool... i really enjoy hearing the unusual(rare or wow stories) stories like the one where the fish just nailed your lure while it was sitting there. or catch a fish that was porposing, always cast at those porposers but never any results, so that is really cool you caught a monster like that!!!!!!

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      I once had three rich guys fish with me all at once. They were talking about buying a medical supply company. The company was on the market for 750,000 dollars. They split the price in threes. Four years later they fished with me again and bragged they had just sold the company for 23 million.


      The majority of anglers I guided were excellent anglers and stand up good citizens. They were mostly from the Midwest.  A couple came from other places in the states and as far away as Germany and Italy.  The regulations in other countries are baffling I learned from my foreign clients.  No one ever got skunked when they went with me.


      I have had my glasses and cap ripped off by clients numerous times by clients in a hurry. I have been hooked in the hand, arm, ear, face and head. When you guide you must watch and not fish yourself.  It felt like going to a gold mine without a shovel.     In the last four years I have had four knee surgeries and one back fusion.  I still get out on the water as often as my body allows.  It is a chapter of my life I would not have omitted from my journey.  Guiding was fulfilling but it took its toll on my body and my soul.  I love the outdoors and would not have missed a second of wading and talking and learning on the streams of rural Wisconsin.     Len Harris trout fishing guide 2003-2008.
    • 4-stroke or 2-stroke motor?
    • Glad to hear you're back up and running again.          
    • I got my boat back today and it runs great now but the mechanic said I had too many idling hours on it and it had a lot of carbon build up. I have trolled a lot with this motor . It has ran great but I did have  this recent issue with it where I had to bring it in and it runs good now. Mechanic recommended run it more often at higher rpm's.  For those that troll with their main engine,  how often do you run in a higher rpm's? I  use carbon guard  and thought that that would prevent the carbon buildup.  If I trolled for three or four hours at a higher RPM would that be too much ?          
    • Saw some reports from Algoma that looks like fishing has picked up some out there and some bigger fish being caught. I'm not ready for snow yet but I hope we actually get some this year. 
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