Sometimes Smaller Is Better
By Craig Sandell © 2013

June 2012 was unusually dry in Northern Wisconsin. The water level on the Chippewa Flowage was down a couple of feet and the water temperature was consistently in the mid 70’s with hardly any evening cool down…fishing was tough.

My fishing partner Rob Meusec was visiting from his place in Phillips and we were hitting the water pretty hard. We fished early, mid-day and evening without success…we were not even seeing fish. It seemed that there was no "magic key" to the puzzle of putting a Musky in the boat.

We were haunting the bar at Indian Trail Resort, when the Musky Bell sang its song as the successful Musky angler pulled the bell cord to announce the catch of a Musky. Dennis Clagett, a long time resident of the area and a good friend, strolled into the bar with a ‘Cheshire Cat’ grin. He had tied into a nice 41" Musky and proceeded to recount the adventure as he wrote down the particulars of the catch for the Musky board at Indian Trail Resort. Rob and I were hopeful that this would mark the beginning of some predictable Musky action as we celebrated with Dennis with a beer and a bump.

A couple of days later, our expectations were rewarded when Rob tied into a nice 39" Musky in the early evening. The Musky came up behind a Hawg Wobbler and nailed it. It was a heck of a fight and after a few minutes the fish was in the bag. After removing the lure from the fish and from the net, Rob hoisted the fish for a quick photo and then the Musky was back in the water. It was Rob’s turn to ring the Musky bell and that night we celebrated with the gang at Indian Trail Resort.

We were pumped and ready for more Musky adventures but, as is the case with Musky fishing, you don’t always get the success for which you are hoping. It was 10 days since Rob’s fish and Musky success had still eluded me. I was desperate.

A couple of years ago I made a knock off of the old Surf-O-Reno and I figured that since they weren’t biting anything else; I would give it a try. We pulled up on a shoreline connected bar and readied ourselves to cover the bar.I tossed my Frog pattern lure along the weed edge of the bar and on the second cast a Musky attacked the lure about 4 feet from the boat. Woof…that was a real rush.

The fish fought hard as he shook his head from side to side trying to free himself from the hooks, but to no avail. Those smaller wire type hooks are really good hookers and, as long as you don’t "horse" the fish, they will not straighten out in the fight. I brought the fish boat side and Rob executed his usual good net job. The fish measured in at 37" and after a quick photo; it was back in the water.

That night at the bar was a great time. Dennis, who had caught his 41" Musky a few days earlier on an original Surf-O-Reno was in the bar that night. He asked me why I threw my "surf-o-reno" and I told him that I threw it out of desperation.

Lesson of the day…Sometimes smaller will lead to success.

Tight Lines