Mepp #5 and The “Tinny Boy”

Musky Hunt 2001

August 21, 2001 Mother earth observed the shadows of my outline cutting the sunrise and heading out for a day of trophy Musky hunting on Lake Nosbonsing. As you ‘lunge’ hunters know, the beast is a ghost, in fact a mystical enigma that has held the torch in fishing folklore and story telling for decades.

No other fresh water fish releases adrenalin out of an angler’s adrenal gland (“Esox masquinongy”) or scares the life out of you than this elusive predator. They will follow a lure within inches of the boat and smash it as it’s pulled out of the water or without notice erupt in a burst of aggression from under the boat.

I swept the weed beds for hours with a Mepp #5 red bucktail throughout the morning from sunrise to 1:45pm. The last cast before guilt shook my conscious and my wife’s telepathic signal reminding me to get off the water… to remember what she looked like.

A patch of thick cabbage weed so dense, that I considered it too thick to negotiate.  However, before I could rethink my doubt, the ‘Ambassador’ reeled out the spoon and as it landed the prize bell rang. An explosion of might and brawn was on!

This was an exceptional fish. She ripped through the weed patch in seconds, my years of experiencing big Muskies has me convinced that if their not airborne within the first minute, you’re into a heavy fish that can’t!
The north wind pushed us out into the big lake towards Astorville, being a purist I carry no net, gaff or other  means other than ‘grassing’ the fish to the boat and gently getting her aboard.

As she held 20 yards out and not yet seeing her profile, I noticed a ‘tinny’ about 200 yards to the west and began waving one arm to get their attention, I wanted so badly to share this moment. The boat pointed in my direction and I assumed the two boys figured I needed assistance… a seaman will always assist you.

The boy likely fourteen years old yelled at a distance “what’s wrong, can we help you”, I mused in a boyish reply “there is a monster Musky at the end of my line, would you like to assist me in getting her into the boat?”

Minutes later the young man was aboard and shaking in earnest, he was about to witness a special moment. “Are you going to hang her on the wall”, “How are you going to kill her”, “Do you have a net” were three questions I remember him asking.

My reply… she’s going back in the water where she came from if we get her in the boat.

Moments later she was carefully pulled out of the water, she had a 28” girth, 52 inches long and weighed 40.2 pounds. Upon asking the boy his age, of which he replied “fourteen”, I told him that this trophy is likely twice his age, if we bludgeon her we not only end her life, but destroy the bloodline of this principal survivor indefinitely, eliminating all prospects of breeding.
He replied “that would be very sad”, exactly the response I hoped to hear. Something changed in his mind, I encouraged him to assist in the release which he did, in fact he thought what we were doing was “very cool” and promised himself that if he ever caught such a fish that he would do the same.

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