Friday night August 23rd was our last hoorah before Mike headed back to college. We planned on fishing hard as it was two days after full moon and the weather was perfect, breezy with a chance of rain. Moon rise at 9pm.
Fishing the same area where we caught the muskie a week earlier. We were working Bull Dawgs in deep water between 20-35 feet deep with lots of bait fish showing on the depth finder. It was 10 minutes after moon rise when a Muskie grabbed my bait at boat side as I was about to lift it out of the water!! I saw the whole fish roll and it looked big as it turned and headed for the bottom. Luckily I was able to release my free spool and "thumb" the fish away from the boat. Then engage the reel again and get the drag realeased and continue the fight.
I crank my drag down tight so there is no slip on hook set. So in this case once the fish was hooked I knew I had to get the drag loose fast or hit free spool and hold on tight so as not to backlash. I was lucky. Big Muskies hitting at boatside can be tough. You have seconds that usually determine success or failure.
I thought this might be close to a 50 inch fish when it hit, but once netted I realized it was not. In fact as we looked at it Mike said "it's like 10 lbs less than the other one". And it kind of looked skinny. We measured and it was 45 inches. (bottom photo) When I saw the picture I realized it really was a nice Muskie. But the first one was a brute and a much heavier fish. Once they reach this size some Muskies can add as much as 4 lbs an inch.
For comparison remember these fish taken off the chain:
Gene Allen 1974 53 inches 51 lbs
Tim Hovre 1982 49 1/2" 41 lbs
Muskies like this are why I am willing to spend so many hours between fish. The chain is one of the few places in WI that can produce 50 lb plus Muskies.