Sunday had to be the most interesting day I have ever had on the water in all of my 47 years of fishing....It had a little bit of everything, joy, frustration, anger, heart stopping action that kept me shaking for 30 minutes and a whole host of other things as well. I have had days where Crash and I boated over 100 tog under bridges on Long Island, days where my grandfather and I have nailed snappers for hours on end next to the old coffee shack on Channel Drive when I was 5, days when my other grandfather and I watched my grandmother slip and fall on the dock getting out his boat and go right under at his slip at Shark River Marina. I have had days when Crazy Alberto told me at what time I would catch a striper and he was only off by 3 minutes. Days when Bull sharks, Ocean Sunfish, and dolphins have all gone under my yak and other days when I have been on the Barnegat Reef 6 miles out and right next to the head boats on the reef that day. There was also the day when I was out with my grandfather and while only 11 and reeling in a huge blue with one of his custom rods with an ABU7000 reel when at the exact moment I went to shift the rod to my other side to get a better grip and the blue took off with the rood and reel still attached and all Pops did was hand me another rod...but Sunday outdid them all.
Day started on Merrill Creek with a portion of the days plan to test new downrigger on yak on some lakers. I have only been on Merrill a few times but it is a beautiful place with lots of great areas. I was getting dialed in pretty good with the sonar telling me exactly where the weight was and I was getting some good reads and boating some fish..pic does not do them justice..but it is a nice advert for Little Cleo.
So after that I try my luck drop shotting over in some of the sunken timber areas that can be found. There I am able to scratch out a few bass when I go to switch rods and like an idiot I put a spinning rod in the rod holder that you see in the pic you see above.....glug glug and I think I even shed a tear as I watch it go under ..right out of "Sometime a Great Notion" when I realized there was nothing I could do. Oh well still had 5 other set ups with me so back to more trolling and nailing lakers. Around Noon I look to call it day and grab some lunch...no demands on my time for the day so I head to my favorite watering hole, The Log Cabin Bar & Grill....had a great lunch when I figured why no go to a body of water right near my house that I have heard things about but never been to personally. Off to Furnace Lake. Take the yak off the trailer scout the area and head just to the right of the dock/boat launch. Reading 8 feet of very heavy weed cover so I want to see what kind of forage is in the lake. Break out the little 5 foot ultralight spinning set up with 10lb power pro, 12lb leader material and rigged with a 1/32 oz jig head with a white grub tail and toss it out in front...move another rig out of the way and then reach down to pick up the spinning rod when I lift and feel what has to be weed or a snag..fitting for the way the day is going...so I lift a little more and something moves. After a few seconds of this whatever is on the end decides it has had enough and I am now on a sleigh ride with my yak holding on for all I got. To this point I can't see it and still am not quite sure just what it could be when the line makes that unmistakable rise to the surface leading out to something about 10 feet in front of the yak. I am watching and lowering the tip when all of a sudden a musky every friggin bit of 40 inches plus leaps completely out of the water and goes crashing back down. My heart is racing and I am just amazed at the size of this thing until I realize my next which I use for trout fishing in a stream is nowhere big enough for this beast. He keeps running and I keep getting line back. I guess given the temp and the heat he tires after a little bit and I can clearly see the jig head perfectly stuck in the very corner of his mouth. That the only thing saving me at this point as there is no line abrasion on his mouth or teeth. I manage in one shot to get about half of him in the net and toss him into the yak where he starts flapping all over again. My thoughts go to "great I am barefoot and now I am going to lose a toe". Well that choice was taken away from me in rather short order as he managed to flip back over the side and the line wrapped around that same rod holder you see the pic and snapped. On one hand I was happy not o have to make the decision of what to do with him as a mount would have been sweet and a perfect addition to living room but such a beast needs to be out there. I only wish I could have gotten a pic. While i spent the next two hours fishing I was still shaking and having trouble focusing for the next 30 minutes or so. That was by far the biggest freshwater fish I have ever seen or dealt with personally.
Needless to say I was out at Dick's yesterday getting a bigger net and a GoPro has been ordered and will be mounted on my yak for all future endeavors.
Sorry for the long story but Sunday was a great day.