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Attempt One at Breaking the Kayak Wars Musky Record

If you are a friend on the Facebook Page or the Twitter Page, you might have read that I was heading to Shabbona Lake this weekend in an attempt to break the Kayak Wars Musky Record in my division.

As of now, that record stands at 41.5 inches which is a very beatable number. Shabbona is known to have some big musky in there! From what I understand, four state records have come out of there. Also, since I am on baby watch, I have an hour long leash which just barely puts Shabbona in my range.

The water was a lot murkier than I had anticipated which almost instantly lowered my expectations. I am used to fishing for these fish in water that has a ton of visibility. Still, I went on knowing full well that musky have no problem finding food in all sorts of conditions.

I focused on four main parts of the lake that scream musky and absolutely pounded them trying to entice a fish. A couple of hours into the day came my first and only action. I was on the second lap of a figure 8 and was just starting to lift the lure out of the water to get ready for another cast when a mid 30's fish came charging towards the bait. Unfortunately, it just didn't connect.

What I learned in that moment is that when fishing dirty water like that, bright colors and at least four laps on a figure 8 are key. When you can't see the fish trailing, you have to assume that there is a fish every time and give him more opportunities to take a whack.

While I didn't get any video footage with any muskies, I did get some nice scenery and video of me "practicing casting". I have been wanting footage that shows how comfortably I can stand and fish from the Hobie Outback so I decided to put together a short video of that.

I'm hoping to get out again next weekend, but we'll have to see if that baby decides to come out!! We are 38 weeks, so it really could happen at anytime!!


Windy, Cold, and Crappie

So, this weekend marked the first measurable snow in much of the Chicagoland area which is the earliest ever recorded. The second record set on the same day was the lowest maximum temperature since 1939. The 20mph winds sure didn't help the situation but still, I ventured on.

The ultimate goal was flathead catfish at Mazonia's Monster Lake. The plan was to catch a few bluegill and then toss those as flathead bait. Besides the windy and cold stuff, I discovered another obstacle when I got there and that was chocolate milk water. This was sure to make it hard for the bluegill to find my little wax worms. Oh probably didn't help that I forgot to buy some.

I tried some small plastics but the fish just had a hard time seeing it in the muddy water so I decided to throw on a really small safety pin spinner. That didn't take long at all to get some attention from a surprise, but not what I was looking for, crappie.

While not the bluegill I was looking for, at least I had something getting some attention. Over the next few hours, I ended up with three more of those things!! The biggest was 10.5" and the smallest was 6".

In between the crappie, a few small bass came out to play including this little 14 incher

With the winds picking up and the temperature dropping, I decided to put the flathead quest on hold. Perhaps I will go for it again next weekend and if I do, I'm hoping the water clears up. Of course, even though things didn't go as planned, I - as I always do - had a blast exploring a new body of water.


Musky Escorts

I can't wait to see what kind of search terms lead to this post.....

On Friday afternoon, I jumped in the truck to head east for some musky on the fly action. I rented a cabin for the night and got an early start on Saturday. Fishing with me was a long time coworker and Randy from Predator Pursuit Indiana Musky Guide Service. I haven't been out with Randy all year - well not for musky at least. We have done a few salmon trips this year but I was really jonesing for some esox action and this was my last opportunity of the year to get over there.

The morning was gorgeous. Nice and cool with an extremely light breeze. I was three casts into the morning when the rod was loading on my backcast and I heard/felt a snap. Son of a mother!

Luckily, Randy had a spare 10wt in the boat so I quickly swapped the reel onto that rod and got back at it. I gave it a few hours without so much as even a sniff.

During that same time, Scott had one small musky snap at his double 8 spinner as he was lifting it out of the water. Dammit, Scott!! FIGURE 8 FIGURE 8 FIGURE 8 FIGURE 8!!!!!!! LOL

Also, Randy had a follow on some small rubber jerk bait that looked like an oversized sluggo.

Since my flies were getting absolutely no attention, I grabbed the conventional stuff and found a bigger version of whatever that thing Randy was using. That got me one follow but no bites. Finally, Randy got hit in his sluggo looking bait. I grabbed the net as Randy brought the fish to the boat. Woohoo! A fish!!! It was only 36.5" but at least we were on to something!!!

 That "something" had us digging deep into the box looking for the unconventional stuff.

At this point, it was lunch time and we were scratching our heads a bit. In total, including my one follow, the boat had six total follows, one miss, and one fish in the boat.

We grabbed a quick shore lunch which gave us a chance to talk to some other anglers who were coming off the water as well. They were all just as perplexed as we were. Follows, follows, and a ton more follows. Nobody seemed to be able to get a musky do anything other than escort the lures back to the boat.

After lunch, I varied between fly and conventional gear while Randy and Scott stuck with the casting stuff. Eventually, I grabbed a small bulldog that was gold in color with a bright orange tail. That netted me a couple more follows but no commits. Scott had another follow on a black tube that was covered in weeds. That fish looked like it was about to hit but, once again, he pulled it right out of the water. Oy Vey!

Aside from that, it was the same story as earlier in the day. Follows, follows, and more follows.

The real story of the day were the bees. There were a TON of bees out there and they sure seemed to be rather attracted to me for whatever reason. With no wind to speak of, they were out in full force. I managed to get about six of the ones who wanted to buzz my face. So, to sum it all up, Randy caught a fish, Scott played take away, and I killed bees.

The final tally was 11 follows, 2 boat side attacks, and 1 fish landed. Apparently, we missed the memo about the musky escort day.

Since all you musky only wanted to show me your back, I'll show you mine. Take that!


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