A Formula For Success
By Craig Sandell

Most Musky anglers are obsessed with getting that "edge" that will translate into their "personal best" Musky. To that end, we consume as much information as we can about the Musky habitat, Musky ecology, Musky lures, Musky tactics as well as the rods, reels and electronics. We consume so much information that it is inevitable that some of it gets lost as we battle water, weather and equipment.

This June I was fortunate enough to be able to apply enough of this Musky information and catch my personal best.

It was 10:30 in the morning under bluebird sky; a major feeding window. The wind was out of the East at about 12MPH with the water temperature in the upper 60s which, according to the books, should have Musky haunting the shallows adjacent to weed beds waiting of the wind to scare up some forage.

I was fishing an isolated island that was surrounded by weed beds on all four sides with depths ranging from 3 feet to 12 feet. I used the wind for a natural drift down one side and an assist from my trolling motor for a controlled drift against the wind. The first pass yielded no action. Everything we read says that a single pass is likely to overlook an active fish, so I did another complete pass around the island without action.

I remembered the article advice to fish an area clean and the advice to "Listen To What The Water Is Telling You". The wind had me moving fast enough to warrant another pass around the island with concentration on the shallower weed areas.

I cast my Surf Master toward the shallow weed bed taking care to bulge it. As I retrieved it, I felt a bump…It could have bed a weed tick or a Musky nip. On the second cast, I got my reward…a 46˝ Musky.

The Musky hit in about 3 feet of water so it had no place to go but up. After his first jump. I could see that he was hooked very well so the task was now to control the fish and lead it to my waiting net man. About 10 minutes went by and the fish was in the bag.

Unfortunately, once in the net it became apparent that the fish was hooked in the fleshy part of the mouth. It took a combination of a hook cutter, mouth spreader and the fish-pic to finally free the fish. I had my net man take a quick picture after a bump-board measurement and then the job of making sure that the fish was recovered enough to for a clean release.

Once the fish was on its way, I had the time to re-organize the boat and replay the catch and the battle in my mind. It was a great adventure and one made even better because I applied what I knew to the formula for success.

Tight Lines