Madison Musky Outing 2015

     Dropping the Native off at the launch I had mixed emotions about signing up for this event.  This outing was being hosted by the Capital City Muskies Club of Madison, WI.  I had the choice of fishing two lakes, Lake Monona or Lake Waubesa.  Since most of the other anglers where fishing Lake Waubesa I decided that I should too.  It was a difficult choice for me since I have a love/hate relationship with this particular body of water.
     Waubesa is the only lake on the Madison Chain that I struggle with.  It is more or less a giant weed bed.  It has structure, I just don't have a good enough grasp yet as to how the fish use it.  Pedaling away from the dock I stared at my Garmin hoping to find any clues as to what was going on under the water.  The only thing I knew for sure was that the fish would be shallow.  This time of year most of the muskies in my area are either already spawned out, or just finishing up.  They are rarely in the chase it down and kill it mood.  Still the water conditions were perfect, and I figured the fish that would be interested in eating would be up shallow warming in the sun.
24 inches of Essox awesome sauce!!!
     Working my way into the first bay I discovered that I wasn't the only angler that knew the fish were shallow.  The difference was that I could drift in just inches of water.  I was able to get my casts up really, really shallow.  When I attended the last club meeting I overheard people talking about how all the fish were being caught on small bucktails.  The smallest musky worthy bucktail I own is a Mepps #5 Black Fury in orange and black.  Those in the know are aware that this is my go to spring bait and once again it didn't disappoint.  Only an hour in and I landed my first musky of the season from my kayak.  I love all muskies, every size, shape, and pattern.  However, for the sake of the tournament all qualifying muskellunge had to be at least 30 inches and this guy came up 6 inches short.  Still he had a lot of fight in him and after a quick photo, swam off strong.
     As the day wore on I was reminded of how much I still needed to make an effort to get into shape.  Pedaling, paddling, standing, and casting in a kayak can really take it out of you.  Around noon the wind finally started to cooperate and I soon found myself enjoying a great drift crossing an emerging weed bed.  I was throwing a 1 oz. Echotail in a custom Tommy Harris pattern.  This pattern had been extremely effective for me last year and it led to 4 descent follows as I drifted over the weeds.  Unable to get anything to bite, I wandered back into the bay that had started my morning.  Despite my best efforts I could not keep the kayak drifting the same way I had when the morning started.  Using my micro pole to hold position I spent the last few hours fan casting the bay.  This worked very well and again I had a few follows.  After switching back over to the Mepps I hooked into what I thought was a bass.  It was a musky, just really small, only making it to 18 inches on the Hawg Trough.  He was a scrapper though and a great way to end my day.
18 inches of fury!!!
     Even though I failed to land an eligible fish, I had a great time.  Back at the Green Lantern Tavern I talked with other anglers and found that most didn't catch anything.  Some hadn't even seen a fish in almost 7 hours on the water.  Only 4 eligible fish were caught, although many participants reported having a bunch of follows (to bad we can't register those).  Finding all this out I decided that even though my two muskies were under sized, at least they ate and graced the cockpit of my Slayer.  Next years outing is already being planned and if your free you should check out.  Thanks again to the Capital City Muskies Club for the event, I had a great time.
     Tight Lines.

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