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.

A nice Wisconsin musky caught from a kayak!

This big-toothed muskie hit this pint-sized Ned Rid!