Now Is the Time for Record Muskies! by James Smith
Have you noticed the rather recent and conspicuously significant number of muskies recorder over 50#? What is more significant is that in the last two seasons there has not been as many fish over 50# recorded in any comparable time frame. But, of these 35 fish over 50#, thirty of them were 55” or more. Are we on our way to a new World Record Muskie? Many think so! In fact, recently Dr. John M. Casselman, Senior Scientist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in an email stated: “The growth rate of muskellunge through the 1980’s and early 1990’s is utterly spectacular. The 1983 year-class is universally gigantic”.
In other correspondence with Dr. Casselman he says, “I’ve known for some time that the strongest year-classes of muskellunge come in El Nino years. 1973, 1975, 1983, 1987, and more recently, probably 1995 and definitely 1998 and 1999 were years around which we had strong year-classes……Another point, it is becoming apparent that large trophy muskellunge appear usually shortly after El Nino years”.
Dr. Casselman is gathering information on the Ken O’Brien and Martin Williamson muskies plus another from Georgian Bay and will be putting together an article detailing his theory on muskies following El Nino years. Those of you who attended the Spring Board Meeting in Chippewa Falls heard Dr. Casselman and Chris Robinson present this information in a very convincing manner.
So what does this mean to us as muskie fishermen/women? What I interpret it to mean is that my chances are better than they ever to record a very large fish. Will I be able to do it? Like always, I can’t do it sitting here writing articles. I have to be on the water, someplace. That someplace has to be selected water known to contain larger than average muskies. My timing is important. By that I mean, time of season, day of the month (moon phase) and time of the day. I have to have my gear all together, boat plug in, batteries charged, sharp hooks, right lure, correct presentation, etc. Finally, I have to be in the exact spot. Now if I can catch it can I land it? All sounds too familiar doesn’t it? Bottom line is that if one of these variable elements of muskie fishing has improved then that justifies it all.
Not since Ken O’Brien’s 65-pound monster caught in October 1988 from Moon River in Georgian Bay has there been the heightened awareness of the potential for a new world record in our muskie circles.
Here is another interesting statistic from the database of Muskies, Inc. The database currently contains over 150,000 entries. This last year alone, there was a record breaking 11,377 muskies released. The previous year there were just over 10,000 fish recorded. But, more importantly 187 of the muskies were over 50”.
Of course, the question always remains as to just exactly from where is this new world record going to come? Georgian Bay seems to definitely hold one of the very top spots on anyone’s list. Georgian Bay is a huge body of water with great potential and lots of unexplored waters. In fact, many believe that there are a reasonable number of big muskies that may never have seen bait.
But for every Georgian Bay that tops a list of record holding muskies, there are a half a dozen other bodies of water with similar potential. Here is where we separate the muskie fishermen from the Muskie Hunters. The muskie hunters will be researching all the potential waters and reviewing lake maps, aerial photos, talking with local tackle shops, guides and area biologists. Once information is sorted the muskie hunter will be planning trips to prove his theory. Somebody did their research on Lac Suel and before that Wabigoon.
Muskie Inc. Hall of Fame member, Vince Rakow has been doing his research and homework and this summer he will be fishing a large body of water just about 30 miles north of Georgian Bay. Rumor has it that this may be the next big “honey hole”. My biologist friend says they have released some 55” muskies this past year.
I haven’t been there yet, but next summer won’t be soon enough. I think this makes two things making my chances better now; I will be following an El Nino year and I might have located a body of water known to hold trophy muskies. I think I am on a roll.
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