-By Brandon Wikman
It didn’t take much convincing when my good friend, Alan Subera of Wisconsin River Guides (608-474-0413), asked if I wanted to tag along last night for my second ever evening musky fishing adventure. I was as stoked as ever with anticipation that this could be the night!
The more I learn about giant musky, the more I realize how unpredictable they really are. These crafty fish remind me of a mature whitetail. The only way to get after them is to find their location, have a stellar weather system moving in or out, or target a major feeding frenzy, which usually comes later in the fall. The correct variables seemed to unravel last night, as I caught my very first musky and Subera landed his hundred and something!
As I drove to meet Subera at the boat dock at 5pm, I watched as the clouds billowed from across the lake and rain began to trickle. The air was humid, and temperature hot! A major storm front was on its way from Minnesota and barreling across western Wisconsin. We had a good feeling that this was going to be the night! This was a night that all musky fisherman dream of. In a deer hunter’s terms, a crisp, cloudy, and cold November morning. Everything was ideal.
We began fishing a shallow weed bed hoping to coax a lunker from the tangled vegetation. I was sporting a green top-water bait, while my cameraman flung an orange and black one. With two top-water baits buzzing across the water, Subera used a beastly buck-tail with two polished blades. We all used slightly different colors, which would help in reading what colors the fish desired most. It’s just another one of those unusual musky tactics I became aware of.
Within the twentieth cast, the cameraman caught a very respectable northern pike that almost stretched forty-inches. No more than a few casts later, he jammed another treble hook into the lip of a hungry northern. It was obvious to see that the colors of the night were orange and black. Subera and I were quick to change lures and toss the fresh baits in. Within minutes the lake erupted with musky and it was an experience that I will never forget. All three of us began getting explosions after our lures and several follow-ups.
As the top-water bait fluttered through the water skimming across weeds, a large black hump surfaced behind it and stalked my bait! Although he never fully committed to chomping down on the lure, it sure gave me a rush like no other.
It wasn’t until the sun crested the horizon when magic struck. I watched my plastic orange plug get walloped by a monster wave and sink into the depths. As Subera taught me, I set the hook as hard as I possibly could. It’s extremely difficult to pierce a hook into the hard mouth of a musky. My pole nearly split in two as I fought my very first sea monster. He darted through the water and zigzagged his way directly into the net. Netting a fish of this size can be just as tough as catching one, considering it only takes a rapid headshake before he spits the lure out. Luckily, the net had him surrounded before my lure found an escape from his lip. It was an amazing feeling, one that I will forever be thankful. I reached into the net and put my hands on the ghostly creature of the depth. I’m far too used to catching bass and smaller game fish, but when I propped him in front of the camera, there was no need to try making him look any bigger. He was huge! He measured forty-two inches, and officially was my greatest catch.
Subera soon caught his whopper within a few casts of mine. It doesn’t take too long to strike it gold when they are biting. The unfortunate part is that the window of opportunity only lasts an extremely short period of time. You must be in the right spot, at the right time, using the right bait. Subera’s fish tallied forty-three inches and not a centimeter smaller.
Subera has always told me that once you catch your first musky, you will be the one hooked. I would have never believed him during the seemingly thousands of untouched and unsuccessful casts, but he was right. I am hooked for life!