80-Year Old Bill and the Hard to Get Photo

Sometimes musky fishing is just downright unfair. You can cast until your arms fall off and troll for miles and it just doesn’t happen. There’s always those teaser moments along the way too just to bait you to go one. Drag rips where fish don’t stick, fish that show up behind your bait but don’t eat, fish that don’t stick when they do eat….. This is one of those stories.

Some pictures are harder to get than others. I have fished with Brian and his octagenarian father for a few seasons. We catch some fish but mostly we have been pretty hard done by. This is a picture that just has to be taken and so like crusaders we keep heading into the abyss.

Watching an 80-year old cast for muskies is very inspirational. Earlier this fall while we were casting Bill asked about using his new top water bait. The water temp was 59 F or 15 C which is pretty much the cut off point for getting the coveted top water musky. Although I didn’t consider it a high percentage bait it did have a shot and it is an easy bait to cast too.

Ten minutes into casting a new spot in the warm afternoon sun Bill gets bit by a nice musky. Halelujah! Brian and I watch intensely while Bill does battle with the beast. It’s a pretty even fight and about 15 seconds into it Bill’s fish dives into the tape grass and coontail we were throwing in. It’s a stalemate as Bill holds the rod up and gives all he can for another 7 or 8 seconds. Brian and I look at each other and neither of us wants to touch the rod.

Suddenly the line goes slack and there is horror in the boat. This fish of dreams is gone with no kisses and no pictures. Bill is not happy to say the least and disappointment fills the air. How could it be worse. As Bill sits and holds his head I examine the new bait he took out of the package from his tackle box and I see that the hook covers are still on the hooks. We never even had a chance. That fish played us like we were the fish just holding onto the bait acting all tough and giving us hope until she decided to simply let go and giggle.

And that was are high barometer chance for the day.

On the rematch last week we had another stratospheric barometer. After working various techniques through the morning and having zero fish contact like the other boats out on the water we decided to cast the peak. Brian had the first chaser of the day up beside the boat and five minutes after that Bill was into a nice fish on a Bondy Bait. I stood net ready beside Bill as he brought the fish close to the boat. Four feet from the net she used the dreaded Savardian spinorama technique to shake Mr. Bondy free and once again we were gut punched.

With no action over the next hour we decided to go back to trolling on bait fish and it didn’t take long for the rod to go off. This fish was taking drag, making noise, staying down deep; and head shaking liking a beast; all the hallmarks of a really big fish. She was in no hurry to come to the boat either and after two good minutes off the back of the boat only a moment before we would get our first look at how pretty she was Brian shrieked ‘OH NO’. Once again the line went slack and we stared at each other in disbelief. There was no a full on total boat depression situation in effect. Isn’t musky fishing fun?

You know you’re not going to get a lot of chances under the big blue sky. To have the river give you your shots and not turn them into release photos is worse than not hooking up at all.

With the short day winding down divine musky intervention would yield one more chance for the photo. This wasn’t as she fish, this was a butt kicking male and Bill was using one of my all-time favourite first ever 20-year old Loomis rod. We were in open water now and this fish was coming home.


Behold the awesome Brian and Bill photo. A picture can be worth way more than a thousand words. It can be a memory forever. And not just of the special fish and the special people in the boat. It can tell a story about how much time, work, love, and fun went into making that picture possible.


Thank you guys. See you next year Bill. Can’t wait.



ps Brian did catch a fish that day too. Look really close at the top hook of his dawg……

John M. Anderson
We produce BIG fish!!

be good, do good, live well

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