Scott Beck of Whitefish Bay landed his first muskie during his son’s first muskie fishing adventure. It was a good introduction to the sport for the prospective muskie hunter.
Beck, who owns a cabin in Arbor Vitae, would even meet a kindred spirit.
Beck spent the morning of Aug. 18 fishing an area lake for muskie for about three hours without so much as a follow. About 9 a.m. he returned and woke his 16-year-old son Joe, thinking Joe might want to tag along.
First, a lesson in casting a muskie rig.
“After a half-hour he was tossing it very well so I said, ‘Let’s go out fishing,’” Beck said.
The first spot of choice produced nothing and Beck decided to move to a spot where he had previously seen a fish that he said, “actually scared me.”
He dubbed the fish ‘Big Joe.’
On Beck’s second cast at the spot, he reeled in and was preparing to make a figure-eight at the boat, with no follow-up evident. He thinks he looked away briefly.
“Joe hollered from the back of the boat ‘Oh my gosh Dad,’ I looked back at him, and wham — this fish hit right at the boat,” Beck said.
Beck never saw the strike. Son Joe had seen the fish come from beneath the boat and grab the lure.
“He immediately peeled out about 10 to 15 feet of line as Joe and I — looking more like Keystone Cops than experienced fishermen — (were) trying to get the net, (untangle) it and land the fish,” Beck said.
Despite the excitement of the moment, Beck said Joe netted the fish “perfectly.”
Father and son got photographic evidence of the 40-incher before releasing it to provide future thrills.
Beck noted that the fish had a scrape near its tail, and wondered if it had been hit by a motor prop. He then noticed the other side of the muskie, where its skin was nearly stripped.
Beck said the wounds were fresh and thinks it’s likely that Big Joe grabbed his fish during the battle or shortly before.
“I’m pretty sure Big Joe is still out there,” he said.
Beck noted that there was another boat about 200 yards distant at the time he was landing his 40-incher. Sounds of excitement were coming from the craft. He would later meet the excited angler, who had been fishing with his young son.
Beck asked him if he’d had any luck.
“He said, ‘You’re not going to believe this but I caught a 46-inch muskie down in that bay in two feet of water. And I was fishing light tackle.’”
Like Beck, this fortunate angler had also landed his first muskie with his son in the boat. Both fish snatched the anglers’ offerings about 10:20 a.m. Beck said a front was coming through the area at the time.
Perhaps most importantly, a pair of sons got to see the thrill of the pursuit and some results that day.
“Needless to say, my son Joe is now ‘hooked’ on muskie fishing,” Beck said. “Told him to be patient. It only took me 10,002 casts to boat one.”
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org