It was my first summer at Laketrails and my first trip with guides, Tim Kelly and Pete. Our group was fishing in a narrows, and after some time we were canoeing back to grab a shore lunch. Craig Vassar, a young, green camper (who had to ask what a “daredevil” was), was dragging his lure in the water as we headed back. He was heavily equipped with a red and white daredevil–I daresay with the price tag still on it–and 8-pound test line with a cheap Zebco fishing reel.
Suddenly, there was a big splash and Craig was holding onto his line for dear life. An obviously huge monster had grabbed his lure and was literally dragging the canoe around. After the initial chomp, the fish settled near the bottom without moving much.
I was in another canoe, so we hooked up to them to stabilize their canoe. After about 30 minutes, the fish was beginning to tire, and Craig was making progress pulling him to the surface. We could see what looked like a log as this big, dark shape neared the surface right next to the canoe. As it broke the surface, it flipped it’s head and opened its mouth revealing hundreds of razor sharp teeth!
Craig was pretty shaken up by the ferocity of the muskie, and he wanted to cut the line to let him go. Pete promptly replied, “I’ll hold that lure in my teeth before we cut him loose!”
Craig and the fish battled themselves to a stalemate, and we were beginning to wonder how Pete would get the lure in this mouth. Just then we saw a big boat barreling down the narrows. We started to wave to slow them down for fear of getting swamped.
They slowed, quickly became interested in the fight, and offered their boat to help land the fish. Someone climbed up on the boat and the rod was handed off to them. The fish surfaced again and one of boaters took a sharp whack at the muskie’s head. It immediately dived to the bottom. A short while later it came up again, and this time a more determined attempt was made. The fish was stunned. They had a gaff on the boat, and the fish was quickly pulled on board.
I think it took over an hour to land the giant Muskie, and I believe it weighed in at 24 lbs. 6 oz. or something like that. Last I knew, it was adorning the wall in Craig’s den.
by Mike Smith, former camper, camper-worker, and camper-guide