Musky & The Media

This article is about something I know to be true based on over 46 years of fishing for, and reading about musky fishing. It’s something I feel must be said!

As with subjects like politics, entertainment, health, weather and anything else you can think of, there is and always will be people that feel they must say and write things, true or not true, just to make themselves feel important and to make others pay attention to them.  Certainly we know that money and fame are the two drivers that cause people to do and say things that normally would never be said.  This is most certainly true of most politicians and the media that feeds & perpetuates their ego. The uninformed media  also creates and causes  myth, hype and out and out lies . Just think about all the B.S that was said by stupid politicians in our last election. Much of what was reported and perpetuated by the media.

Because of this self importance, greed and eagerness to become well known, there are writers and reporters that have written articles about Musky fishing based on folklore, exaggerated stories, myths, hype and pure lies. Some of these writers have never even dipped a line in any body of water! some even get their information from novice fisherman that just don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Most of these uninformed novices simply try to impress people to make up for their limited knowledge an skills.

I think that anyone reports and writes about any subject should have a complete understanding of the truth before they attempt to deceive and further spread falsehoods about any given subject! It seems to me that these fools pick on subjects that have no real definitive certainties or answers, so that they can not be held accountable for reporting things of which they know little or nothing about. I took these half assed articles from the great Len Hartman’s book called “Fifty Years of Musky Fishing.” (Before I Forget).

Here is one that appeared in “The Wall Street Journal back in September 5, 1980 called:

MUSKY FISHING:

Catch as Catch Can by Paul Ingrassia, Caldron Falls, Wisconsin

A friend of mine says there is no such thing as a musky. He says the fish was dreamed up

by chambers of commerce in northern Wisconsin to lure gullible fishermen and their

dollars. He says those four foot-long trophies mounted in taverns hereabouts are just plastic molds to

perpetuate the hoax.

(Here is another one that appeared In “The Wall Street Journal” back in May 23, 1986):

Something’s Fishy in Eagle River

The elusive muskie

By Frederick c. Klein, Eagle River Wisconsin

I have vacationed in this northern Wisconsin resort area for a dozen summers, man and boy.

It’s a lovely place, covered with pungent pine trees and sparkling lakes. Also, some of the

restaurants are first rate.

I had however, always looked askance at the region’s claim to be the nation’s muskie

fishing capital. In all my summers here, I had never seen a real, live muskelunge, the

square name of the predator that draws sportsmen from far and wide.

Sure, I’d seen those hugh, waxy, mounted fish labeled as muskies, their backs arched

orgasmically in trophy pose. Every hardware and bait store hereabouts hasone. But

my lack of firsthand confirmation of the beast’s existance led me to suspect that

there’s a factory somewhere turning them out to entice the tourists.

Can you beleive it? It’s obvious that these two morons must have written these articles while they were drunk or as a joke! Who knows?

This one appeared in 1987 Fishing Guide:

MUSKY

The open mouth of even a 10 pound musky is a real attention getter. Powerful jaws, stacked with hundreds of needle-like teeth, can cut heavy line with a single chomp. Fishermen will try anything to coax a strike. When a strike does come, most agree it’s worth the wait. Sudden impact and powerful, high spped runs describe the action.

This is another writer that knows shit about musky fishing!  It sounds like he has never fished for them himself! A musky is just a fish, not something planted in our lakes by aliens!  I think I would rather catch a five pound Steelhead Trout, or even a three pound Smallmouth bass! A smaller musky tends to give up quite easily.

There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process!

There are as many myths about fishing for Musky as there are Muskies ! Woops….. The biggest myth of all, is the one I have been hearing for over forty years:  It’s the one that says it takes 10,000 casts to catch a legal Musky! This myth has been perpetuated by novice fisherman, and by the Media for many years! If it even came close to being true, do you think there would be anyone left fishing for Musky? I would have given up a long time ago!  How about the guys that have caught a legal on their first cast?  Think that there would be an average somewhere along the line? I suppose it’s more fun to talk about 10,000 casts.  However, there is some truth to the idea that Muskies are more difficult to catch than other large game, although no way near as difficult as reported. It is also true that most wanna-be novice Musky fisherman do not know the first thing about how, where or when to fish for Musky. These novices travel thousands of miles, and spend a zillion bucks every year only to come home to brag about a few follows! Yes, I did say follows!  It makes me laugh to hear them actually talking about seeing a fish! Well, I guess it’s human nature! I was in the same boat (no pun intended) at one time…..and don’t get me wrong, it is exciting to see a five foot creature watching  and following your lure. It does usually indicate that the Muskies are some what active….. Your better die hard Musky hunters know how to take advantage of this, using some tactics, like figure eights. I will give the mighty Musky a good amount of credit for their ability to get off the hook when connected. The real big muskies I have had on have always figured out a way to get off! Your more experienced Musky hunters say pretty much the same thing. I think it’s because of their extra hard mouths and sharp gill plates.

Here is a true story just to help prove my point:

Back in the day (October 1939) John Coleman, a  Chicago residence  fisherman made a trip up to Eagle Lake Ontario.  John had never caught a Musky in his life, and did not even know what they looked like. As luck would have it, he hooked and landed a 60 lb 8 oz beast that was a new worlds record at the time!

If you catch a ten pound  Musky you are a lucky person. If you catch a 20 pounder, consider yourself  to be most fortunate. If you ever land one over thirty pounds , you belong to one of the most exclusive fraternities in the sports world!

Another flat out Myth is that Muskies are the best fighters of all fresh water game fish in America. Well, that is not true! Sorry, all you die hard Musky hunters! A Musky does not compare to the “King”!  I’m talking about Chinook Salmon…..For those of you that are reading this article and  that are thinking that i’m nuts, I’ll explain why the Musky is over rated…..

The largest Musky I have ever caught was a thirty-two lb. 52 inch beast I nailed back in 1983 at Lake Of The Woods, Canada.  The total fight lasted about five minutes. It was really hard to believe that it gave up so easy! It made two short runs, tried to get under my boat and into my net it went!  The largest “King,” I got in my boat was just over twenty-eight pounds, I caught that puppy up in Door County Wisconsin on Sister Bay. I had to follow it in my boat for fear it would take out all my line, like many big Kings do.  The fight lasted about an hour! After many long runs, including one that almost took out all of my line, the giant jumped a few times along side my boat and tried to wrap around my motor.  It almost got off close to the boat, but I was lucky enough to land it. That is not the only time I have to compare the two fish.  There have been many times big kings have taken out all of my line. This has never happened to me while fishing for Musky, and  I have had some real hawgs on. The Muskies I have caught in the twenty pound range did not even compare to some king salmon I got in the teens! I believe Muskies do not have nearly the stamina as salmons.   The two fish don’t even come close when it comes to fighting power. It burns me up to hear and read all the hype about how great Muskies are…..It makes me wonder if any one of the writers have ever fished for the “King?”

One thing is true! Some Musky fisherman do get hooked on the pursuit of a trophy Musky, and at times it becomes a compulsion! This relentless pursuit is sometimes called “Musky Fever”. (see my article called Musky Fever) Many years ago I had the sickness my self! I was cured when I started fishing for Chinook Salmon (The King) on Lake Michigan back in 1967.

Here are some more myths!

Muskies destroy smaller game fish populations: Not true! Most lakes do not have that many Muskies to  destroy anything!  Northern Pike on the other hand can obliterate  game fish population because of their tendency towards a larger population density.

Muskies do not feed in Summer months because they lose their teeth and have sore mouths: WOW! What a bunch of BS!  I have caught my biggest Musky in the Summer. Record show that most trophy Muskies are caught in July.

Muskies always hang out around weeds: They do like weed beds, although that is where the smaller ones hang out. The big girls are in the deeper cooler waters, often suspended in open water or hanging out by the rocks (especially in waters that have walleye)

Muskies do not bite at night: This one is just false!  I for one have caught many Muskies in the dark, and have seen some real beasts caught on surface lures.

Muskies are loners: (seeing is believing)

Nope! I have seen muskies travelling in pairs. I have also witnessed groups of them in weed beds, and some sandy shallow areas, as well.

Muskies over 100 lbs have been netted by the authorities and by the natives:

There has never been a documented 100 lb muskie anywhere. This has been proven by many authorities  over and over again. This one is just  a fish story and some more Media hype!

Suspended Muskies  are sick: Anyone that believes this horse shit is the sick one!

Big lures, big Muskies:

Another Myth!   Big Muskies will hit any size lure…..Many big Muskies are caught  on small lures every year, including a minnow & jig.

Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish for Muskies:

Documented proof shows that more Muskies are caught between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. However, early morning and late evening can at times be productive as well.

You will catch more Muskies using Fluorocarbon than with steel leaders:

Now this one is my own opinion and might not be shared by others. Nothing has even been proven that using steel leaders are not as good as any of your plastic leaders. Fact is:  More world record Muskies have been caught when there was no such things as “Fluorocarbon leaders!”  I think that if a Musky wants a bait, it will hit regardless of what it is tied too!  The records will prove this to be true.  Another reason I like steel leaders, is that they can not be cut by a Muskies gill plate…A hawg Musky can and will cut through any type of plastic leader!

Some of the “Hype” about fluorocarbon leaders are spread by guides that are paid by tackle manufactures into pushing and reporting about it…..The media, being as stupid about musky fishing that they are, continue to go along with the flow. They will aways do so as long as there is something in it for them. The many sporting stores and outlets will generally go with the media and the people that have the most to gain by doing so. This is also true of many of the new musky lures that have been invented, even if they do not produce any better than the old favorites. Remember, much of the musky myths and false information has been caused by money and greed.

Here is a typical hyped up article written back in the day….. I would be willing to bet that it was written by someone  that has never caught a Musky, and maybe never even fished for one!  It’s articles like this that helped build the myth of 10,000 casts…..give me a break! I would rather catch a 10 lb steelhead any day of the week! Here it is word for word:

The open mouth of even a 10 pound Musky is a real attention getter. The powerful jaws, stacked with hundreds of needle-like teeth, can cut heavy line with a single chomp. Fishermen will try anything to coax a strike. When a strike does come, most agree it’s worth the wait. Sudden impact and powerful, high speed runs describe the action……1987 Fishing Guide

building…..more to come!

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