The Day I Caught My First Musky or 15 Years of Not Catching One
The night before I caught my first musky after 15 years of trying, my captain was checking the weather on his very high tech phone. It was around 1am as he studied the screen of his phone, his maddening eyes glowing an inner fire as they darted back and forth, reading the weather for the next five days. Suddenly his head shot up from the small screen and with squinted eyes searching my face in the darkness, he utter a small phrase of "Oh, Yeah!". I met his steely gaze and questioned, "Oh yeah, what?". Looking back down at his phone he said, "Rain tomorrow and the good kind that we like".
I went to bed as soon as I could, but sleep did not come easily. Little did I know, but my captain turns into a fire breathing dragon when he sleeps at night. A window had to be opened because of the low oxygen levels in the new cabins, the first bedroom on the right as you come into the amazingly fantastic new cottage that was recently built. This new cottage was built by the reincarnation of the great artist know as Rembrandt. The building is super nice and the implementation of the futuristic walk-in shower is first class. I praise the builders and members that made that new cottage possible.
Enough about that and back to MY story. With little sleep caused from my friendly dragon captain, I got up and made a cup of coffee, seeing only through one blood shot eye. That did the trick and kicked my body into high gear fishing mode. Rain gear was donned and I was ready for a nice morning of trolling in the rain, just how I like it. I was once told by my Uncle David that a little rain on a gray day brings out the big fish which put me into the get fishing and get fishing quick mode. My captain wolfed down some breakfast as I had my second cup of coffee for an extra boost
The top was up on the boat and we were off to troll. (At this point in the story and true to being a PA Club fisherman, the spot of where we fished will be withheld or referred to as those rocks over there.)
All was going well. We picked up a few small pike which we were forced to interrogate in the normal fashion of dunking them in and out of the water and a few minutes of waterboarding. Much to our chagrin they held out on us…we learned nothing for our efforts. Once the pike were released they must have told the storm over us that it was time for some payback in the way of jagged bolts of lightning followed by ear splitting thunder. My amazing captain beached us on an island with very little cover for our safety. We hunkered down between two rocks to wait out the lightning.
The pike, rain and lightning schemed together and just when the rain would slow and the lightning stopped, the pike would then inform the storm that we were thinking about getting into the boat and making a run back to camp. That’s when the lightning saw us moving towards the boat and struck about 75 yards away from us, saying loudly, "No, you two will sit in the rain as long as I want you to for what you did to those pike!"
It became a real cat and mouse game with that lightning. Finally, after much debate we tricked the lightning into thinking we were going to stay. As soon as there was a slowdown of the rain we booked it to the boat and flew to someone’s dock, tied up and found shelter in an unlocked shed. That shed was our château out of the rain for the next 45 minutes. At this point I would like to thank whoever’s place that was and for them leaving the key in the shed door. That little shed was very dry and the lightning never came knocking on the door.
During the time of waiting my tummy was making some strange noises, which in turn gave me quite a worry. That worry became a sweating stress. It was Oh, No Time!!!! Looking around, I was able to find the proper accommodation for my Oh, No! problem and very soft paper for my sensitive bottom. There was even water so I was able to destroy the evidence for fear of a DNA test and a manhunt for the Bathroom Bandit.
So back to the storm... The rain slowed and finally the lightning and thunder lost interest in us. We thanked the absent person for their shed and started trolling again.
Following the rock wall that we trolled past again for the 5th straight time, we followed it back into a grass bottom only cove. The cove, this barren grass land had zero weeds and looked like it was recently mowed under the water, if that was even possible. We made our turn out of the cove into 30 feet of water when my rod (the rod my dad had just built me before coming up, which I love very much) started bouncing like crazy as I told my captain loudly, "FISH ON".
Getting the rod out of the rod holder and feeling the head jerks, I said I think it’s a bass. As the fish got closer to see, I thought it was a pike from the green I was seeing but my captain in his infinite wisdom of catching musky said sternly, "That’s a musky." In my excitement, I said loudly "Get the net!!" My captain being cool, calm and collected, replied, “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, OK."
As we netted the fish, I wondered and still am wondering as I’m writing this, why it took him so long to decide to net the fish. I may never know, but we netted the fish, got out the hooks and took pictures. I put the fish back into the water and it took off like a bullet.
Then the realization hit me…you just caught a musky. It was a 28-inch musky. You have been fishing here for 15 years and you caught a musky. Needless to say, I was feeling great! We started moving and I got my lure back into the water because I wanted to catch another one. What happened next brought my musky high into a brick wall. The next fish to bite my lure was a nice smallmouth. I pulled it out of the water by the leader and tried to lip it as it spun around like a Cirque Du Soleil Marionette.
I finally got my finger in the smallie's mouth when it decided to go crazy ape bonkers, burying the treble hook into my pointer finger. Very deep was the hook, very deep. Did I say, very deep? No backing this one out. Thank the Lord that the fish fell off the hook and landed into the water without causing more undo stress and more damage to my finger. My captain took a look and said, "That’s a run back to camp wound"
I was very mad since I just caught my first musky fishing at the PA Club and now I have a hook in my finger because of this stupid bass. (I’m sorry to all the bass fisherman who belong to the club for calling the bass stupid, but I’m really fishing for pike and musky. Bass is more of an accident catch for me.)
Now back to the hook in the finger… I was able to turn it and see the point just under the skin. So taking a deep breath and thinking about Bea Arthur naked, I pushed the hook through the skin and past the barb. I showed it to my captain and he cut the barbed end off, and Wow! did it feel good once it came right out…easy peezy lemon squeezey.
I look back on that day now and think that was really one of the craziest days I’ve ever had fishing at the beloved PA Club. Thank you again, Musky Mike!!!!
Written By: Jonathan Fish
My Captain: Mike Vorel
The Musky: Was played by a 28-inch musky
The Small Mouth Bass: Played by a smallmouth bass
My Fishing Rod: played by My Fishing Rod Built By: Richard Fish
P.S. Thank you, Joe Dolney, my second father!