The Halftime Score: Muskies 14, Sean 9 - Major League Fishing

The Halftime Score: Muskies 14, Sean 9

October 27, 2008 • Sean Ostruszka • Angler Columns

Maybe it’s the season or the hours of football watching that have inspired me to write this blog in sports fashion. Or maybe I just couldn’t help myself. Anyways, cue Keith Jackson!

Good evening fans and welcome to the halftime show where the score is Muskies 14, Sean 9. It was a beautiful weekend to kick off Sean’s fall muskie season. I know, a little late. But he does live in a part of Kentucky with ZERO muskie lakes. Plus, he’s surrounded by bass fisherman who think muskie fishing is borderline insane. Whenever he asks them to go the response usually goes something like this:

So you go out all day, throw lures heavier than Chicago‘s phonebook, and maybe, MAYBE, if you have a good day, you’ll SEE a couple fish. And if it’s a really good day, you’ll catch ONE. And why do you do this again?”

So, as I was saying, it’s a little hard for him to go muskie fishing. Luckily, his dad, Paul, drove down so he could finally break out the big lures for a little muskie fishing on southern IllinoisLakeKinkaid. And Whoa Nelly what a lake! Sean had never fished this body of water before, but he loved it so much that he mentioned before heading into the locker room that he couldn’t wait to get back. The setting was pristine as endless coves filled with stumps, trees and weeds were just a muskie fisherman’s heaven. Sean said it reminded him of Kentucky‘s CaveRunLake, minus the size. Plus, being that it’s fall, his favorite season to fish for these beasts, he was pumped to hit the water.

Let’s look at the highlights.

The game started around 9 a.m., but lets pick it up around 11:15 a.m. Fishing in a 14-foot john boat with a 9.9-hp motor rented from the local marina, the duo had settled into a very tiny wind-blown cove in Levan Creek. Being a jerkbait nut and a glutton for pain, Sean was tossing an ERC Double D that he had custom-painted in a silver and gold shad color. His dad, however, doesn’t enjoy killing himself so Sean called an audible and gave him a black and nickel Shumway Flasher.

Let’s pick up the action here as Sean finishes the figure-8 on his fifth cast, looks to fire another cast when, GURGLE, SPLASH. Oh my! Did you see that massive boil behind Sean, just on the other side of the boat? For you non-muskie fans not keen on all the frustration that is muskie fishing, let me explain. Muskies like to follow lures like dogs follow cars. Sometimes, they will be right behind it and will eat right next to the boat. Other times, they will follow deep and far behind the lure. The only way an angler can tell they were following when they do that is if they come out of nowhere and eat the lure at the side of the boat – normally resulting in the need for a new pair of shorts for the angler – or they will continue under the boat and boil on the opposite side in frustration that they can’t find their potential meal. Anyways, from the size of that boil it was a big fish. Sean gets on the board first and goes up 3-0. (Follows are worth a field goal. This is my scoring system. I made it up.)

Let’s keep watching this drift into the cove. The two are finding better cover as they go. Sean calls in the play and tells his dad to fire a few casts all the way to the back of the cove while he gets on the motor to keep up from being blown to far in. Paul looks down field, makes the cast and hook up! He set the hook with authority into that chunky 38-incher! This could give Sean a commanding lead. But, wait! Oh no! FUMMMBBBLLLEEE!!! The muskie shook the lure! Two head shakes, folks, and the fish was giving the lure back. Sean may have tacked on another three points, but the Muskies jump into the lead by getting off. The score now is Muskies 7, Sean 6 (Yes, I’m counting that as 3 points. We did move a fish. But since the fish won the battle, I’ll give the edge to him).

With swelling egos and momentum on their side, the two headed to the next area, a larger creek arm loaded with standing timber. And Paul was dead-set on snagging every piece of it. Needless to say he was not having one of his better casting days and it showed by him constantly letting Sean know to fire up the motor so they could get him unstuck. This is was a pivotal play in the first half. After yet another snag, Sean laid his rod down with his spinnerbait still dangling in the water, fired up the motor and preceded to work his way through the trees to his dad’s snag.

Keith, let me interject here and finish this story off as I’m still coping with the pain. Ever have those slow motion moments of doom? Well I had one. While motoring back I looked at my dangling lure and realized it was on a collision course for a skinny little, 5-inch stickup. I tried all I could but it was no use. Murphy’s Law held true. Instead of bouncing off or missing the stickup, my lure snagged, my rod bent, then it bent some more, then it exploded in my hands and I now have a beautiful new custom rod in five pieces. Score: Muskies 14, Sean 6 (I chock this one up to the fish. Somehow, I know they were watching and willing this to happen. Evil fish). Sorry to interrupt you again. Get back to the recap.

Musky Mayhem Cowgirl and his dad is sticking with that Shumway. Paul may have had a shaky day casting but he put this one right on the numbers. He goes into the figure-8 and, WHOA NELLY, that monster is right behind the lure. That’s easily a 45+ inch fish. But hold the phooooonnnnee! The fish is just not opening her mouth. Tough break. I don’t think that fish was going to eat anyways. Muskie will tell you if they are going to eat or not when they follow. If they follow with their body straight then they are usually just in the mood to watch. If their body is in an S-shape, prepare for impact! This big girl’s body was straight, holding Sean to yet another field goal. Score: Muskies 14, Sean 9.

Well, that’s all the time we have. We’ll get you back to the second half of this thrilling game in two weeks!

Thanks Keith. Great guy. Anyways, like he said, I’m heading back to Kinkaid in a couple weeks, so don’t worry about the score. I’ve got a killer halftime speech in my back pocket. And a few new lures I’ve ordered online. This game is far from over.

Slam the hooks!