Breaking out of a muskie slump | Outdoors

Breaking out of a muskie slump | Outdoors

Credit: DA muskie similar to this one recently ended Daryl Bauer’s muskellunge-catching slump of nearly 172 hours.

I am happy to report that I recently ended a slump. It had been a long time since I dried off a muskellunge.

Anyone who has spent any time seriously, intentionally targeting muskies knows that under the best of conditions there will be slumps. Every muskie is earned. Sometimes it can be a long time between fish.

Paging back through my notes and logs, it has been 171¾ hours of fishing, targeting muskies, between my last two. Oh sure, there was a miss or two in those hours. There was a pike or two caught, one big walleye, one of my biggest bass, and I was net man and picture man for my cousin’s biggest muskie ever.

There also was one heartbreak, after pausing to sharpen hooks, not three casts later I felt a fish thump my bait. I jerked his eye-teeth out just like I learned from Gramps Roth. A nice muskie, 40-some inches, rolled to the surface. In slow motion I can still see that fish shake its head back and forth, back and forth, and then there floats my bait right beside it, to the left of her.

“There she was, gone.”

For all you know, I sat down and cried. I’m not telling; there was no one around to see. You lose a fish like that after that long and see if you don’t cry.

Oh, for 171¾ hours I kept trying. I fished at least eight different Nebraska muskie waters during that time. I expected to see a fish on every cast.

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