Four personal best muskies caught by students were the highlight of the University of Esox Canada Musky Adventure school held in July 14-21 on Lake of the Woods.
Students from four states attended the event, which is held annually at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island camp located in LOTW’s Northwest Angle.
“Our students battled through tough conditions the entire week,” said Musky Hunter Editor Jim Saric, who emceed the event. “Musky fishing is never easy and it certainly wasn’t during the week of the school. However, the guys worked together and fished hard, and when it was all over they had boated some very nice muskies.”
Indeed, two days of big winds were followed by a high pressure system that brought sunny, low-humidity days. At least 58 percent of the muskies caught in the school were triggered either with figure-8 or deadstick maneuvers.
T.J. Henriksen of Pittsboro, Indiana, topped the week with his personal best musky, a 50-incher, caught from a rocky point on a homemade double-bladed spinner. The fish earned Henriksen the school’s Big Musky Award. Henriksen backed up that musky with a 47 3/4-incher later in the week on a different home-made spinner from a rock reef.
Jeff Becker of Pardeeville, Wisconsin, used a Musky Mayhem Electric Bunny to boat his personal best fish, a 49-incher, from a patch of cabbage weeds.
Jeff’s uncle, Bill Becker, of Marshfield, Wisconsin, used a Double Cowgirl and a figure-8 to boat his best musky ever, a 45-incher.
The fourth personal best musky was a 41-incher caught by Mark Schaefer of Kiel, Wisconsin, from a small island on a Double Cowgirl.
Having the best week of all was Joe Moore of Downers Grove, Illinois, who boated 11 muskies to earn the school’s Top ’Lunge Award, which goes to the angler with the most fish for the week. Moore topped his catch with muskies measuring 46 3/4 and 45 inches.
Also catching muskies longer than 45 inches included Chris Moore of Plainfield, Illinois, with a 45-incher on a spinner, and instructor Kevin Schmidt, who boated two 45-inchers on minnowbaits.
The school featured 15 hours of seminars wrapped around a week of fishing on Lake of the Woods. Twice-daily information sharing sessions kept everyone dialed in as patterns changed.
It was the 11th consecutive year that the Canada Musky Adventure was held at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island. “Bill and Cindy Sandy and their families run a terrific resort,” said Musky Hunter Managing Editor Steve Heiting. “The cabins, food, service and docking facilities are all first rate.”