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Thread: Canada Musky School Produces Big Fish Bite

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    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Canada Musky School Produces Big Fish Bite

    Falling water temperatures and a rash of nipping muskies didn’t deter students at the University of Esox Canada Musky Adventure School in July from producing a number of big fish.

    Students and University of Esox staff combined for 86 muskies, of which 55 measured 40 inches and longer, and 24 were 45 inches and longer. Five muskies stretched the tape to 50 inches or more. Seven students boated their personal best musky during the week-long event.

    In all, 24 students from six states, Ontario and Manitoba attended the 15th annual school, which was held at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island Camp on Lake of the Woods’ Northwest Angle from July 14-21.

    “When we arrived, water temperatures were warm because of the hot early summer, but by midweek had dropped about five or six degrees,” said Musky Hunter Editor Jim Saric, who emceed the event. “Even though we had nippers throughout the week, the muskies seemed to become reinvigorated the last couple days and we finished with a great school.”

    Musky Hunter Managing Editor Steve Heiting noted that the school’s information-sharing format was never more important than this year. “By the end of the week we had the exact lure color, figure-8 maneuvers and location dialed in,” said Heiting. “We had more first-time students at this school than normal and it was satisfying to see things ‘click’ for them as they became tuned into what was necessary to trigger fish.”

    John Cowan of Mississauga, Ontario, earned the school’s Big Musky and Top ’Lunge Awards. Cowan caught a 51 1/2-incher on a Handle Barz bucktail for his personal best fish. His partner, Greg Shink of Toronto, had just taken off the twin-ten bucktail and before he could select a new bait, Cowan had set the hook on the big fish. Cowan caught six muskies in total, which also included a 47 1/2-incher on a Double Cowgirl.

    Also catching six muskies in the school was David Flores of Elgin, Illinois, but Cowan edged out Flores by having more total inches of fish overall. Flores’ top fish was a 45-incher on a Double Cowgirl, which also was his personal best musky.

    Four other muskies reached the 50-inch mark. They were caught by John Muszynski of Arlington Heights, Illinois, on a Double Cowgirl in a figure-8 (personal best); Dan Kuesis of Barrington, Illinois, on a Double Cowgirl (personal best); Saric on a Bucher ShallowRaider; and Heiting on a Double Cowgirl.

    Also catching their personal best muskies were: Dave Huston of Swisher, Iowa, 49 inches on a Double Cowgirl; Barry Dahl of Swan River, Manitoba, 46 inches on a Double Cowgirl; and Shink, 45 1/2 inches on a Hoser jerkbait.

    Musky school students and staff who caught muskies in excess of 45 inches were: Heiting, 49 inches on a Double Cowgirl, 46 inches on a Bucher Mag ShallowRaider, and 45 inches on a Mepps H210; Saric, 49 and 47 1/2 inches on Double Cowgirls; lodge owner Bill Sandy, 48 inches on a Double Cowgirl; instructor Kevin Schmidt, 47 inches on a Double Cowgirl and 45 inches on an H210; Muszynski, 47 inches on a Double Cowgirl; instructor Spence Petros, 47 inches on a Bucher Mag Tinsel; Kuesis, 46 inches on a Double Cowgirl and 45 inches on a Shallow Invader; Toni Wright of Waterloo, Iowa, 46 inches on a Double Cowgirl; and Wally Ladik of Monona, Wisconsin, 45 inches on a Mag ShallowRaider.

    Bucktails produced 61 of the 86 muskies caught with Double Cowgirls and H210s accounting for the most. Minnowbaits produced 14 muskies, with the 9- and 7-inch ShallowRaiders accounting for nine of them.

    The school was held for the fifth consecutive year at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island. “Their location is right in the heart of what is arguably Lake of the Woods’ best musky fishing,” Saric said. “And, the cabins and docking are as nice as you’ll find anywhere.”

    Blackhawk Island’s service really sets the resort apart, Heiting noted. “I think Bill and Cindy and their family and staff set a new standard for service this year. If our students needed anything, they were helped right away. Plus, the food they set out for our school was almost too much.”

    The University of Esox will return to Sandy’s Blackhawk Island in July of 2013. Watch Musky Hunter for details.
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    Steve Heiting

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    Sounds like a great time and congrats on all the nice fish!!!
    Migizi Fishing Rods
    574-551-0214

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    Steve - do you have any data on the front of the boat versus the back of the boat?

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    Like.............

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    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuskyMidget View Post
    Steve - do you have any data on the front of the boat versus the back of the boat?

    Hi:

    Sorry, we do not keep this sort of data. If it's a bucktail bite only, the guy who is second or third in the boat may be in for a long week.

    There are three ways around this:

    1. The guy who is second or third may wish to use a bucktail with a different style and/or color. I once caught a big fish batting third behind two TV musky-fishing personalities by using a twin-bladed Comboo while they were using bucktails with single blades. (This was back in the days before twin-tens). Another time I seriously outfished another TV musky personality by fishing THE color from the second spot, a color he did not have.
    2. No. 2 or No. 3 should throw a minnowbait or topwater. Last week during the school, it was not uncommon for the minnowbait to raise twice as many fish as the bucktail in front, though the bucktail still caught more overall. Fish that weren't active enough to eat a bucktail would still come up and look at a minnowbait.
    3. Switch spots in the boat with each spot you fish. My regular fishing partner and I do this. Whoever is running the boat uses what we perceive to be the "hot" bait, while the second guy throws whatever he wants. Sometimes that's a different bucktail or bucktail color, sometimes it's a different bait altogether. Not only does this make it more fair for everyone, but different styles in running the boat (fast or slow, tight or farther away from structure) may help determine the day's pattern.
    Steve Heiting

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    Steve, Other than muskies being muskies, any idea on why the lack of topwater action? Tom

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    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTS View Post
    Steve, Other than muskies being muskies, any idea on why the lack of topwater action? Tom
    Absolutely no idea. I wish they'd bite topwaters because they're so much fun. Only one musky was caught in the entire school on a topwater, and that was on a Whopper Plopper.

    From what I saw, big fish wanted to follow them — slowly, under water without pushing a wake — and then turn around and swim back. We raised three 50-inchers on Wednesday on TopRaiders and Pacemakers but not one of them went. I caught one of those 50s while filming an episode of MHTV with Jim the next day, but on a twin-ten.

    Also, of the nine bucktail fish in my boat for the week, every one was on a fig-8.
    Steve Heiting

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    Steve, Heading up this Friday, so hopefully the topwater biter will change. Too fun catching them that way! Going to really pay attention to my figure 8 technique also. Any other "tip" to try? Thanks. Tom

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    Steve & Tom
    On the front vs. back thing...For what its worth, we had three guys in our boat. I was throwing a bright erratic glide first, followed up by John's dark twin 10 second when he got two of his fish including the big girl. Greg was in the back changing things up - 10's and minnows mostly. We weren't sure if this was a definite pattern per se or simply coincidence.
    Tim

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    I just talked with John he is so pumped about the week I am also this was great news to here from Him. I was excited to here he had won big fish and most fish then even more pumped when he told me that his fish had come off my lures the Handlebarz musky lures. I wish I had been able to join him on the trip maybe another year it sure sounds like a great time up there.

    Congrats to everyone who attended the school.

    If anyone is interested in them please check out handlebarzmuskylures.com

    Cheers Mike

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