attending Muskie shows, one might think that there are Musky anglers
everywhere...that is also the opinion of Muskies, Inc. and the Wisconsin DNR.
you read on further, let me say that I have the greatest respect for the
work that Muskies, Inc. has done and continues to do to promote the sport of
Muskie angling and the hard work of many in the WDNR.
That being said, I have to take exception to the pronouncement by Muskies, Inc. that there are over 400,000 Muskie anglers
and by the WDNR citing 480,000 Musky anglers.
The pronouncement from Muskies, Inc. was part of a letter sent out to
the Muskies, Inc. membership and the WDNR pronouncement was included in a
"Good News" paper from the WDNR. I do not know how Muskies, Inc. came up with
that number and, if you ask them, they can provide no specifics regarding
certified statistical polling. The WDNR provided no certified statistics to
support their claim. Since there is no legitimate polling, the
400,000/480,000 numbers can only be an unsubstantiated
Musky Hunter Magazine claims a subscription list of around
12,000 (Not their distribution number) and Muskies, Inc has a membership of around 7,000...surely, many
folks are duplicated on both magazine lists...but for the purpose of
discussion lets assume that there are no list duplicates and assign a number
of 20,000 Musky anglers for the two
Recognizing that that cannot be everyone, lets say that
there are another 10,000 Musky anglers that do not subscribe to either
publication...that puts us at 30,000
Musky anglers. This number could be low...so lets bump the number by another
5,000 just to pick up those groups of closet hard core Musky anglers...that
brings us to 35,000...that is a far cry
from 400,000 or 480,000.
I guess that if you wanted to consider the guy who goes
fishing for some other species of fish and catches a Musky by accident,
that would artificially bump the total number up but that is "reaching".
Certainly, one would ask how a Musky angler is being
identified. Muskies, Inc. or the WDNR did not include any definition in their estimate.
For my estimate, I used the following:
An angler is considered a Musky angler when;
He has tackle, rods, reels,
and lures that are specifically designed for Musky fishing.
He is a member of Muskies,
He subscribes to Musky
He owns a net that could
hold a 6 year old child.
He fishes exclusively for
Musky at least 4 weeks of the Muskie season.
I know this is not scientific, but then neither was the
Muskies, Inc. or the WDNR estimates.
A further consideration is the amount of fishing tackle
designed by manufacturers specifically for Musky fishing. Most
every rod manufacturer has a wide variety of rods in their product
compliment that are not Musky rods. Most lure manufacturers design their
lures to cross over the species boundary to bass and pike in order to sell
profitable quantities of their lures. Even Suick has a down sized lure that
is more suited to bass than to Musky. In deed, when you consider that there
are over 1 million bass fishermen, you get a pretty good picture of the
limited market potential for Musky angling products and services.
Take a look at the Spring fishing catalogs and you will
not find a focus on the Musky angler with regard to lures. These catalogs
enjoy a substantial distribution and would certainly include a focus on
Musky lures if the profit incentive was there. You have to go to specialized
print catalogs to find Musky lures and even those are very few in numbers.
What I am trying to get at here is
Musky fishing has always been a "cult" sport. We spend
long hours on the water working hard to catch a fish that we do not usually
keep. Our success rate is very low and the dollar investment per fish is
high. Musky fishing is NOT for everyone
and exaggerating the number of Musky anglers will not change that.