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A Monster for Ned!
I have spent the last few summers in Northern Wisconsin scouting out lakes for my kayak fishing business, which I will be launching in May of 2021. Last July was one of those scouting missions. I could have never predicted what was about to happen on this particular scouting day!
It was an abnormally warm, early July morning. As I paddled away from our family’s dock on Crab Lake I noted how the water was dead calm. I felt humbled by the beauty as I cut through the glass with the foggy mist still rising from the surface of the lake. I had tied on one of my favorite smallmouth bass search baits. I thought about topwater but for some reason preferred the silence of the lake. It was a Ned Rig I opted for; a small 1/8 ounce jig with a short little strait rubber body. The flavor today was ” Yoga Pants.” The tried and true Yoga Pants color must resemble a leech creeping along the bottom of the lake. The key to Ned Rig fishing is to fish slow and on or near the bottom.
Crab is my home water and I was looking for one of those monster smallies she is stingy to give up! After a short paddle, I started to work the edge of a weed bed just off of a mid-bay island. Sure enough, I caught a few little guys, not the football-sized chunk I was hunting. I decided to head towards another area that holds a substantial number of smallies.
My plan was to start at the tip of a point and work my way down the to its end. I kept my distance from shore opting to take advantage of the thin braid that allowed me to cast long distances. The first cast was headed towards where I hoped a big girl was laying in wait. The Ned hit the water and I was waiting for it to sink and my line to show signs that old Ned had reached the bottom. I would then creep him back to the yak. Sure thing, Ned stopped but to my surprise started heading down the shore! I barely had time to load the rod and set the hook! WHAM! The rod stopped like I had snagged a submerged tree! Then the fight was on.
I knew this was no smallmouth. I thought maybe a pike. The setup I was using was no match for a big pike. Ten-pound braid with an eight-pound floro leader would surely fail. A funny thing happens when you hook big fish from a kayak; the kayak acts as a secondary drag! This fish was actually towing me a bit. After about fifteen minutes a good-sized muskie came up from the depths like a submarine. There was no way I was going to land this beast… Nor did I want to at this point. I reached for my Iphone and started snapping photos. I noticed my Ned in the corner of the bruiser’s mouth and with one shake of her head she was free!
I doubled timed it back to the cabin and woke the family to share my fish story! Lucky for me I not only had the story but the photos to prove it.
This big-toothed muskie hit this pint-sized Ned Rid!