September Musky Tournament Success
By: Craig Sandell © 2010

Each year in September, my fishing partner Rob Meusec and I fish the Lake Chippewa Flowage Musky tournament. It is probably the best run and most enjoyable Musky tournament bar none.

It was the first day of the tournament and we were both hyped up and ready for a fish. We were camped out on our first spot, a shoreline connected bar where we had had success on quite a few occasions. When 6am arrived, we had our lures in the water and started slowly cleaning out the bar but without success.

A tournament day is 10 hours long with a lunch break and door prize interlude after 5 hours. After 5 hours of pounding the water without success, we were both ready for a Brat feed and a little time to get ready for the afternoon hunt. The afternoon, however, was no more friendly to our efforts than was the morning. The clear skies and steady weather made the fishing tough and as the light got thin, we were happy to see the day end. As we sat beside the campfire, we discussed the next day’s ‘dance card’. We decided to start the next day at another place where we had success in the past.

We greeted the new day with coffee and a microwave breakfast and then headed down to the boat around 5:30am so that we could be on our spot when 6:00am rolled around. As we headed out from Indian Trail Resort, the air was thick with a misty rain. The sky was overcast and the day certainly presented to promise of some fish action.

At 6:00am we started to work the shoreline of a submerged stump field and its connected subsurface bar. We were both pretty intense and ready for a fish. After about 40 minutes the excitement of the morning gave way to the routine of casting our lures in search of an active fish.

As I turned to boat to move parallel to a shallow weedy area of the bar, I heard a gasp from Rob who was casting from the front of the boat. I turned to see a nice swirl in the water as a Musky grabbed onto Rob’s bucktail. I quickly reeled in my lure and grabbed the net in anticipation of bringing in a nice fish. I could see from the bend in Rob’s rod and the line being stripped from his reel that this was going to be a fight. Rob tussled with the fish for about 10 minutes as the fish made a couple of runs and inspected the bottom of the boat. Finally the fish came up to the surface and offered himself to the waiting net. Rob slid the fish toward the net and I made a deep scoop and the fish was in the bag.

Once in the net, the lure came out of the fish’s face and hung up in the net. Rob carefully freed the lure from the net and we were ready to do a  quick measurement and then put him back in the net as we signaled another boat working the same general area to come over and witness the fish. It was a healthy 40˝ inch fish and after a photo or two, it was back in the water and on its way.

A couple of years ago, I placed 9th in the tournament and this fish gave Rob 9th place this year. It is always a great feeling to catch a Musky but the feeling is even better when you can produce a fish during a tournament that wins a tournament prize. You can bet that in 2011 Rob and I will be back on the water trying for another tournament prize.

Tight Lines