We hit the water in the afternoon and immediately headed upstream from the boat launch. We went past the islands and then past the first set of "rapids" before we decided to start. I haven't been up this far in a while, but it looked fishy. I started off the day throwing a chartreuse spinnerbait with chartreuse blades, but had no luck; then I quickly switched over to the "School of fish," as Doug calls the Alabama Rig with berkeley ripple shad. The water was gin clear, and I could see the rig swimming way off in the distance. It seemed to good to be true, but I wasn't having any luck on the A-rig.
We anchored up just above the rapids, and Doug immediately hooked a rock bass on one of his first casts. A couple casts later he had another one that came off boatside; they were nothing huge, but the first bass of the season for me on the river. That would be all we would pull out of that stretch, and we moved down to just below the rapids. Down below the rapids we had no luck, the shallow water was not holding any fish, despite the water being upper 50's.
Once we got out into the current and started floating downstream at a little quicker pace, I started heaving my A-rig across the river. It wasn't long before I would have what I have been wanting all year! Since last summer I have been saying I want a musky, and for the past couple months I have been focusing every trip on landing one. The previous trip I had two follows, but no takers; today proved to be the lucky day though.
As I was ripping the A-rig across the current I felt a thump, but it wasn't a normal bump. Instead, it felt like I bounced the rig off a rock. I didn't think anything of it and jerked the rod to try and free it, but I felt the same thing, another bump. I was a bit baffled, and then I felt a nice thrust of a fish. It was without question a musky. My first musky was on the line and 60ft from the boat. I reeled the fish to the boat without much of a fight, but at the boat he started to give me a little trouble. It made a couple runs and took line, and all I could do was hold on. Doug grabbed the net and managed to get the entire fish into the net on the second try.
We threw it onto the middle seat to get a quick measure. After measuring it I started to get the hook out, but he decided to do a death roll. She rolled and got 3hooks into her (1 in the mouth, one on his gill, and one in his back); I guess that's the big downside to the A-rig. Once we got all the hooks out, she started squirming and squirmed into the bottom of the boat by Lilly's feet! She freaked, but we were able to quickly get the fish up and snap a few pictures of my first musky, 34in! We resuscitated her, and after making sure she was good, we let her swim off back for someone else to catch.
I felt accomplished, my day was pretty awesome. I continued to try and catch another musky, but only managed to get 100 more casts out of the 10,000 I need before hooking into another one. The end of the day I had my musky, Lilly had a couple nice smallies on her Bitsy Minnow, and Doug had a couple nice bass on his Cotton Cordell; none were monsters, but we had a great day on the river.
St. Croix MH Mojo and Abu Garcia C3 spooled with 65lb Power Pro for the Alabama Rig
Falcon BuCoo M and Abu Garcia Revo S spooled with 30lb Power Pro with 20lb Seagur Flurocarbon for spinnerbaits and cranks.
|34in of pure muscle and teeth|
|Observing the cool colors of the fish|
|Reviving the fish for another day|