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Annual Muskie Mission

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Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 06, 2015 •  [Post 1]

Things were slow this year. At 60 muskies per boat our number were down by 100 fish in each boat. Weather related. Lake was up FOUR FEET! Also our normal spots were all muddy and full of debris. The good news is that the fish we didn't catch were the smaller ones. We still caught the same number of muskies over 40 inches and got 2 over 50 per boat. I was lucky enough to get a 52. The other pic is an old friend who fished for muskies for 29 years before getting his first 50 plus incher. It's a 51. I laughed and said 29 years huh.... how many times have you fished with me at the wheel? Answer: 1! :D Wiley Lures baby!!!

As always we had some great night life drinking that Labbatt's Blue and Jim Beam like rock stars. Good times. Up next.... Sturgis.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 06, 2015 •  [Post 2]

Holy heck,a slow year? Those are some lunkers Joe. Canadian Brew, bourbon, and hog muskies. Nice trip!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby elkstalker » 07 07, 2015 •  [Post 3]

Wow! I know lots of guys that have fished for them for a long time and never caught a muskie. You guys really have it dialed in, looks like fun :)
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Lefty » 07 07, 2015 •  [Post 4]

Great pics. Looks like a great time!!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Ghost » 07 07, 2015 •  [Post 5]

Nice fish!!! Whats with the pose for the camera Joe? Lookin kinda sexy :lol:
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 07, 2015 •  [Post 6]

We do have it dialed in. Lots of experience in those two boats with a cumulative several thousand muskies under our belts. To bring "slow" into perspective: 60 per boat in a week when last year we had several 20 fish days, 30+ fish days, and one day with 68 rips and 56 fish in the boat. I caught 3 over 50 inches that week too. But we all remember our first and the years where 10 per season was good so nobody complains about a 60 fish week. No egos and everyone enjoys the time we get to spend on the water and at the cabin. In a way muskie fishing is like elk hunting. There is definitely a learning curve. In the beginning it can seem nearly impossible to become consistently successful. But the pay off for your efforts makes it all worth it. Also... just like elk, it's not for everyone but the ones who are cut out for it get hooked for life.

Ghost, the pose? Read my lips "Hurry the F up and take the picture cause I have a death grip on this thing but if he decides to flip out I'm not so sure I'll be able to hang on!" :lol:

Big Fish Eddie with a 52. Also our DJ on the Deck. Below... the crew... work hard/play hard. I'm wearing my Sitka Ascent to prevent mosquito bites. haha
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby CurlyTail » 07 09, 2015 •  [Post 7]

Those are some nice fish! We fish for Northern Pike every summer, but I don't remember anything like those!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 09, 2015 •  [Post 8]

It's a very good photo shop job. Those are just large mini pike from the Stillwater River in Kalispell :)
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby BrentLaBere » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 9]

Nice work Joe! Always jealous when you post these pictures up. 50" mark is what most muskie hunters look for. You seem to get it done every year!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby GobbleFarmer » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 10]

Dang those are some gorgeous fish! Where exactly did you say you caught them? :lol:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Ridge Ghost » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 11]

Those are some pigs! Looks like you guys have that game figured out.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 12]

GobbleFarmer wrote:Dang those are some gorgeous fish! Where exactly did you say you caught them? :lol:


I have no problem telling anyone where we catch them. There's a lot more to it than where. That'd be like telling you there is good elk hunting in western Montana and Wyoming. lol

Along the entire south shore of Lake St Clair in about 14 to 19 feet of water trolling at precisely 4.8 miles per hour using 5 1/2 inch Wiley Lures. Good luck. You'll need it. ;)

One of my all time favorite pics. 55 incher. 3 hours earlier she got a 50 1/2. Three hours later she lost one this big at the boat. What the heck right!!!!???!!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 13]

Ok some of these are repeats from last year but we have lots of new members.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 10, 2015 •  [Post 14]

Fish on!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby GobbleFarmer » 07 11, 2015 •  [Post 15]

Indian Summer wrote:
GobbleFarmer wrote:Dang those are some gorgeous fish! Where exactly did you say you caught them? :lol:
Good luck. You'll need it. ;)


That's hurtful man! :cry:
:lol:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 12, 2015 •  [Post 16]

You don't have to catch 20 a day or fish over 50 inches to have a great time. If I gave you some info it would be impossible to get skunked and fish over 40 inches aren't hard to get into and they are plenty of fun to catch.

Get someone else to feed those dang turkeys and take a road trip.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 07 21, 2015 •  [Post 17]

Well Joe I'm still at the 10 fish for the week. I'm going up in august for 3 more days to see if I can do alittle better. I only caught 6 for 2 1/2 days and felt lucky to get those. I'll try to post my best one this year which was only 42 inches.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby GobbleFarmer » 07 21, 2015 •  [Post 18]

Indian Summer wrote:You don't have to catch 20 a day or fish over 50 inches to have a great time. If I gave you some info it would be impossible to get skunked and fish over 40 inches aren't hard to get into and they are plenty of fun to catch.

Get someone else to feed those dang turkeys and take a road trip.

That does sound really fun, I wish I could, oh well. :(

Csrbowhunter: you should post a pic or two, no reason not too...
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 21, 2015 •  [Post 19]

OK I'll let you guys in on what is probably the most important factor. Timing. After the spawn the fish stage just outside of their spawning areas and rest. Then there is a quick rise in water temp which increases their metabolism and they go on a feeding frenzy. The last week of June and first week or so of July is the time to crush them. After that that scatter in a lake so big you can't even see shore on the other side.

There is always good fishing there but you won't have those 20 to 50 fish days like we do. BUT... one 50 plus incher and the numbers don't matter and they are caught year long.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Ponyboy_jonas » 07 21, 2015 •  [Post 20]

Pretty good looking fish. I've never caught anything that big. lol.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby BrentLaBere » 07 22, 2015 •  [Post 21]

Indian Summer wrote:OK I'll let you guys in on what is probably the most important factor. Timing. After the spawn the fish stage just outside of their spawning areas and rest. Then there is a quick rise in water temp which increases their metabolism and they go on a feeding frenzy. The last week of June and first week or so of July is the time to crush them. After that that scatter in a lake so big you can't even see shore on the other side.

There is always good fishing there but you won't have those 20 to 50 fish days like we do. BUT... one 50 plus incher and the numbers don't matter and they are caught year long.


I had a smile reading this post, Joe. You just cant help yourself, you have to help people! From muskie fishing to elk hunting, listen up when Joe is giving tips.
I find it interesting they spawn so dang late out there. Run off has a big impact on spawning around here. And for the most part it comes right around thaw out or a little after.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 07 23, 2015 •  [Post 22]

Here's the good one I got this year so far.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 23, 2015 •  [Post 23]

That's a really nice one there Csr! I like the ones that have darker spots and more of them. Pretty thick fish too.

Back about 8 years ago the lake got hit with a batch of VHS virus. Our numbers were don for a bit. But it seems like the fish that survived were the stronger ones. They we heavier than they were before. We used to catch lots of skinny ones before that. Right now the lake is at it's peak for cranking out size and numbers.

This year during the trip we were a little concerned that we hadn't caught hardly any smaller fish from say 29 to 33 inches. I was beginning to wonder if there wasn't a bsd year class due to spawning conditions and the virus. But the last day we relocated a bt to the west wide of the Belle Hump and there they were. We boated quite a few but couldn't get a medium to big fish. We were happy to see that size of fish though. We call those spots nursery waters.... always good for another one but all juveniles.

Sometimes if we are having a dry spell and it's not my turn I'll drive them into nursery waters Haha... then they get a little fish and pass their turn... and bitch at me for it. :lol: It's good to be captain!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 07 24, 2015 •  [Post 24]

Joe,

It 's hard to tell in the photo but this musky looked to me like it just came off spawn. The tail was bleeding a little bit and it had gashes all over it. My brother caught a 38 incher that was the same way. I talked to Todd from leo baits and he thought the same thing. He thought they were about 2 weeks late this year. Don't worry about not catching the juveniles because thats all my brother catches! (poor guy). He's been going to lsc for 5 years and never caught one over 40 and we've went to canada for 8 years before that and he never caught a pike over 40 either. I'm hoping in august will be his trip where he gets one over 40 and I get one over 50, but mostly I just hope we catch fish. :D
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 24, 2015 •  [Post 25]

Todd Leopardi is the thinner guy standing up with the red bolt cutters to the right. The pic about the guy with the white beard. He is a REALLY nice guy and a good friend. His wife Lorie and kids Joey and Shayla are all very nice people. You should stay in touch with him. He goes up a couple times a year.

They are in the same cottage as my crew but always the week before us. I'm always happy to have the week we have. This year I would have liked to be the week after us though. Those three weeks are insane. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could get 15 a day.

One thing I can tell you is that Wileys have been the number one lure on St Clair for 20+ years. Before I fished with Dale I used other stuff. The other boat in my cabin uses Boss Shads, Tuff Shads, both made by friends in Ohio and several others. But Dale uses nothing but Wileys so I have no choice. At first I wasn't happy about that. But after outfishing the other thousand boats on the lake for several years running I haven't looked back. We use the same exact lure 95% of the time and just switch colors. Todd uses nothing but his Leo Lures and does almost as good. Like us he's always using the same lure and is just looking for the right color that day. He gets his share of monsters too. Jointed lures do best by far but straight baits have their days for sure. Stay right at 4.8 miles an hour and never second guess that. Once you fins fish at a certain depth stay as close to that number as you can, but try inside or outside passes here and there.

I guess the other factor in what you get is what you put into it. We fish like we are in the military. haha Keep your lures running straight, weed free, and IN THE WATER AT ALL TIMES for as many hours as you can. When you get one turn around as fast as you can with boards out and hit that spot 3 or 5 times before moving on. We go through a hundred colors and they can be picky. There are days guys will be crushing them on a color you don't have and you'd pay $100 to have that color. Then tomorrow will be a whole new ball game. Can't go wrong with patterns with some gold in them.

The other thing I could do is give you a Navionics chip to drop our waypoints on your map. They are gold mines. But there are so many you'd laugh and wouldn't know where to begin. It's like looking at 1000s of stars in the sky and trying to see a picture in them. I see the picture very clearly.. so they force me to drive. I'm sure you know the feeling of "which way do we go" when you're out on that gigantic lake. I use a different colored icon every year so I can tell at a glance what year a waypoint was dropped which is where we boated one or more.

Try fishing 3 days before and after a full or new moon and pay attention to the times of moonrise and moonset and be on your best spot then. Is that enough for now? :lol:
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 07 25, 2015 •  [Post 26]

Joe,

I'm sure wiley's are really good baits but the funny thing is we caught 3 on leo 1 on ziggy 1 on loke and 1 one tuff shad. I loved how well the wiley baits went through the water. The ziggy's we had all kinds of tuning issues. Plus we did't catch 2 fish on the same color! We had some rips on the same color but never caught 2 on the same color. It was weird because with walleye fishing once you find a color that works it usally works all day.
Thanks for all the advice , I can use all I can get!!! For some reason I thought musky fishing would be easier than it is. lol I'm going out with Shawn Arnet for a half day while I'm up there this next time. I'm hoping that will help my learning curve by a couple of years. He's big on ziggys and tuff shads. Hopefully he can show me how to tune those damn things. I bet out of 12 lures 5 didn't run right. which is funny because when I bought them at the show the guy said he would guarantee they would run better then any other lure I bought and it was the only lure I had problems with!!! lol

I'm going to keep at it till I get it right. It pisses me off that can't figure those fish out! Well I'll let you know how I do when I get back and you definitely need to give us the story of your up coming moose adventure!!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 07 26, 2015 •  [Post 27]

A lure that runs straight will outfish ones that aren't tuned every time. That's one of the beauties of a Wiley. Just turn the eye screw the opposite way it is running and it straightens right out. No bending a wire a random amount and seeing what happens.

I am telling you though there is no question that Wiley Lures will consistently be the best bet you can make. They also have the biggest number of fish over 50. If a boat is not using them I will bet $100 every single day that I can catch more fish than him. Double many days. The guys on the Michigan side don't use anything else except for the casters in the river.

You should look up Rick Verbeem of Can Am Charters if you want to learn some things.

Maybe I'll talk to Dale about a late trip and see if I can get you in as a 3rd man. Interested? There's a nice twist in the late fall: Instead of running 6 to 15 miles to fish they are right off the breaks in 9 or 10 feet of water. Not as far to get beat up going in and out and if any weather moves in it's not nearly as far to run.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 07 27, 2015 •  [Post 28]

I would love to go out again this year. I don't know if I could swing it or not. It all depends on the date! Let me know soon though because I'm getting ready to buy another 8 day license again because I only thought I'd get up there once this year and brought a 8 day the first time. Next year I'm going to buy a yearly license instead of a 8 day just incase I can get up there more.
Just let me know if it's possible and I'll just buy a year for this next trip!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 08 10, 2015 •  [Post 29]

Well I went back up to ST. Clair again, half day thursday till sunday about 2pm. No one was doing well on Thursday. We got nothing on Thursday and Friday but talked to some guys back at the dragon that caught 10 on hammer shad. They were out in deep water west of belle river. I bought one off them( all that they would sell) hot perch. Saturday I caught 2 on that lure and one on loke. That night talked to a good friend of mine (Shawn) and he got 5 right before dark. The next morning we followed him to his spot and caught 5 of 6 and left at 2pm. He caught 8 for 8 one that was 49.25", our biggest 43.50"
Everytime I go to st. clair we catch a few more than we did the trip before and I'm starting to learn the lake. Now I just have to get those stupid planner boards to work on my boat and maybe I'll have a 10 fish day! I got a mast and boards before I left this time and thought I'd mounted it right but couldn't use them at all. I about ripped it off in rough water the first time I tried to use them! I need to mount it lower in the boat and build a bracket higher on it to stabilize it better. Plus my boards suck! I'm thinking of getting the outter boat boards but don't know if they are worth the money.
Well next season can't come fast enough!
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Indian Summer » 08 10, 2015 •  [Post 30]

NO on the Otter Boards!

Are you handy enough to build your own if I gave you drawings and a plan? If not I can find you a set of good ones. You just want redwood double boards that are designed right. They aren't hard to make.

As far as the mounting you can put them up high on the bow but you need a square steel plate underneath the decking and bolts with lock washers , big fender washers, and nylon locking nut, all stainless. Then... put two eyebolts through the deck and attach two cables with the cable tightening hardware on it to the top of the mast. Then when you put the mast up hook the tensioners to the eye bolts and tight the cables up for some frontal support. If a mast lets go and comes through the windshield it would be a disaster.

Then... hook one of those retractable dog leashes to the lines running to the boards and sit the other end on the floor after running the line somewhere to prevent them from getting pulled out. When the lines surge the leash line lets out and pulls in. When you need to clip a release on to send a lure out you just pull that leash line from the side of the boat and pull the board line back to you, hook it inside your elbow while you clip the release on and then let it out slowly as you let the lure out. That and practice are priceless.

I just got in from Sturgis so I have no idea who has been catching what up there recently.
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Re: Annual Muskie Mission

Postby Csrbowhunter » 08 11, 2015 •  [Post 31]

Joe,
I sent a couple of pm to you. I don't know if you got them because they still show they are in my outbox not sent box.
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