Fishing for giant musky is not for the impatient – the musky’s reputation as the “Fish of a Thousand Casts,” is well-deserved.
Patience and persistence paid off for Lebanon’s Ben Schade during a recent trip to Lac Seul in Northwest Canada. Schade caught only one musky on the four-day trip, but it was a dandy – measuring 50 ¼ inches.
“Anything over 50 inches is considered a trophy,” says Schade, an official with the Cedar City Gun Club. “Catching a musky that size is an experience of a lifetime.”
Schade was invited on the Canadian trip by his son Todd, whose trap-shooting friend Ben Beattie is a guide on Lac Seul.
Beattie’s website, benbeattieoutdoors.com, is stocked with photos of fish catches and big game animals that his clients have collected, along with information about how to book trips and make travel arrangements.
None of the fish featured on the website are more impressive than Schade’s monster musky, which he caught on the first day out.
Schade was casting a bait called a “Bulldog” – a 16-inch plastic lure with multiple treble hooks – when the giant musky nailed it.
After fighting it in and holding it up for a photograph, Schade released the fish.
“A photo and the memory is all I need,” he says.
Schade’s musky was one of four the group landed during their four days of fishing. Ben’s son Todd caught one, and their guided landed two. The fish measured 42, 45 and 46 inches – impressive, but not as big as Schade’s fish. All were released.
They also had 11 “follows” – musky following a lure to the boat but refusing to take it – and snagged one big fish that rolled once and pulled free.
“I believe that fish was even bigger than the one I caught,” Schade said, “but we’ll never know for sure.”
Bad weather hampered the fishing on the final two days, but Schade estimates that the three anglers each put in 10 hours a day during the first two days.
“We landed four fish, had 11 follows, and hooked one that got off,” he says. “That’s a lot of man-hours per fish.”
In addition to the musky, they also caught some Northern pike.
“That’s one of the great things about fishing up there,” says Schade, who made his first Canadian fishing trip in 1963 with his dad. “If you get tired of fishing for one species, you can go after something else like Northern pike or walleyes. There’s always something hitting.”
Despite the considerable amount of travel, time and effort expended in trying to catch just one musky, Schade says it was worth it.
“The fact that catching one is so hard makes it special,” he says. “Once you hook one, there’s nothing like it. It’s something you’ll never forget. We had a great time, and I’m sure we’ll go back.”