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Meet The Fish Of Ten Thousand Casts; The Muskie

This past week I went muskie fishing for the first time with my friend Alex Peric up in Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Muskies have been known to be one of the hardest fresh water fish to catch! 

They have the reputation to be the fish of ten thousand casts. I didn't realize how hard it was to actually see one let alone catch one on rod and reel until this trip. A lot of people actually troll for these fish which I have been told increases the chances of catching a muskie; however, Alex and I wanted to catch one by casting and reeling in the bait. 

Just like any other fish someone is targeting, bait plays a big factor in the catch. Like I said before, this was my first muskie trip so I am not going to act like a professional, I just wanna share my experience and what I learned on this trip. 

We threw a variety of baits while out on the water. First I started off with a top water bait and Alex threw a big plastic. Then I became bored and changed it up with a big ass buck tail bait. This soon became my favorite bait to throw. Not only did it look really good in the clear water of St. Clair, but it also drew in our first muskie of the trip…

After seven hours of fishing, Alex and I decided to go to our last spot we marked on our map. As the sun started to set we concluded that it would be our last spot of the day. We were hopeful as we started to troll and came across a thick weed line with a ton of bait fish popping up on the fish finder. Lots of bait fish meant a predator was probably somewhere close by, and thick weed line meant cover and shade for the muskies to ambush their prey. 

After cast 300 I was starting to become delirious. I remember throwing out to the side of the boat, letting my bait sink about 12 feet down and then slowly starting to reel it back in. That's when I saw it, my first muskie I've ever laid eyes on was chasing after my bait. I thought I was imagining it at first. Wide eyed and trying to stay calm I started to figure 8. 

The figure 8 technique is what I learned to do that same day. Essentially every time you reel your bait back into the boat it's important to stop short and do a figure 8 with the bait. Why do we do this? Well because a muskie could bite right at the boat, and that is exactly what happened to me!  

This muskie was right on my tail all the way up to the boat, so I started to do the figure 8 technique. He chased after it fast, and came out of nowhere. I made my second turn, and the muskie went the opposite direction. Why? Alex explained to me that I was working the bait too quickly, and that my turns were slightly too sharp, which could have caused the muskie to lose sight of the bait. I wanted to break my pole right then and there. haha

Watching a muskie swim after a bait up to the boat is an adrenaline rush that I've never experienced before. I'll 110% be back to Lake St. Clair before the end of the fishing season to try and catch a muskie. This trip gave me a whole new respect for muskie fishermen, and is officially on my bucket list. 

So what are my take aways from this trip?

Try out different baits. Make sure to practice a figure 8. Be slow and wide with the turns. Fish over weeds. Patience is key.