First of all I would like the Indiana Muskie Club (chapter #49) for putting on, and continuing to put on, one of my favorite events over the years. I would like to thank Micheal Sweeney for his time, and efforts, in his now world famous traveling trophy! Thanks to the sponsor, Muskie Kombat tackle, and all 54 fisherman that showed up, because without all of this, this event doesn’t exists!
I would like to congratulate the individuals who caught fish, and getting into the top 3 spots:
1st place-Don Paxton (2 fish 32 & 39)
2nd place & Big fish-Mark Johnson (1fish 44″)
3rd Place-Danny Lowe ( 1 fish 43.75″)
This particular tournament isn’t easy! This is one that will Challenge you! I feel that’s what makes this tournament fun, it is one of those anyone at anytime has a shot to win. Catching a fish, in the Ice Out Challenge is a huge accomplishment, and doubling up, is just that much more. In this tournament you never know what to expect from weather conditions, to figuring out what is going to get you a fish? I personally have fished every weather condition there is in this event, from 72 and sunny, to 27 and snow. It has been postponed a time or two, due to the fact everything’s still covered in ice. There’s no guarantee what the fish are doing? Is it pre-spawn, spawn, or post-spawn?
On this particular day it was high in the 60’s, ESE & SSE winds, it was sunny, it was cloudy, warm and cold. Water temps were varying from 49 to 57 degrees on all the lakes involved within a 10 to 15 min. drive a part from each other. Some fish had went into complete spawn mode, while others still in the pre-spawn stage. So basically another Challenge!!
For my partner Kody Hackworth and I it was every bit of that! Just wasn’t our day. I have however caught more fish over the years during this time, fishing shallow with a 3/4 oz. White or blue and silver rattle trap, Kombat sidewinder, Bomber long A”s, Phantom Softtails, bulldogs, or a kickin minnow. Saturday however, was a great day to be back in the boat Muskie fishing, enjoying the day, checking out the new baits for the 1st time, seeing all the fellow anglers back on the water, and that’s what this tournament is all about!!
Danny Lowe- “Adam Smart and I Basically hit all of Webster besides the backwater, and didn’t see a fish. Eventually went back to backwater and around 2ish, made one drift still nothing. So we were about to leave when we spooked a fish, stopped the motor, and started casting. I thing it was about 2:30 when we got one!” 43 3/4″ Llungen Lures Rattlin Shad.
Mark Johnson-” Our game plan in this tournament was to find muskies that were not on the spawn yet, we basically chose the Barbee Chain, water temps were running between 49-52 degrees vs. 52-57 degrees on Webster. My partner Eric Flemming boated a nice 47″ there the day before. Around 10:45 I decided to go with rubber, a Lake X Toad to be exact. Around my 10th cast my Toad stopped, I set the hook, and she didn’t move! I knew this was a big fish, stripping drag and staying deep. As I got her close to the boat I saw the girth she was a fatty! She measured 44″ on the board and definitely the heaviest Indiana fish I’ve ever caught! After a few quick photos, she was safely released to fight another day. This was the only fish we saw.”
So as you can this it can be a Challenge! Two completely different strategies on 2 different lakes that are 5 min. apart. I also believe there was a lot of water that went unfished. Once again, thanks to everyone involved, congratulations to the winning teams, and hope everyone has a safe and successful year!