I can guarantee you this 16-year-old never imagined his first muskie to be this absolute BEAST.
Most dudes go their whole life trying to land a monster like this, but for one young fisherman out of Minnesota, it was the first muskie fishing trip of his life.
Muskellunge, often referred to as “muskie,” is a large predator fish native to North America. A larger member of the Pike family, you can find them primarily around the Great Lakes in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as Canada, but they’re present in about half the states in the country.
According to Field & Stream,fishing guide Ben Knutson of Minnesota Angling helped a client reel in a ginormous 54.75-inch muskie, with a whopping 30 inches of girth.
He was guiding a dad and his two teenage sons back in November on Lake Mille Lacs, a very popular muskie spot, and not only did he help one of the boys reel in his first ever muskie, but two trophy fish as well.
The 16-year-old was pretty dang close to holding the Minnesota state catch-and-release record, as it was set at 58.25 inches back in June on Lake Mille Lacs.
Knutson told the outlet:
“Throughout the years it’s gotten so the number of muskies per acre at the lake is not what it used to be. So catching a fish, any size fish, is tough in November.”
He also noted that in November is when muskie are the biggest:
“It’s the biggest they’re gonna be all year, pretty much. My mindset in November is: I don’t care about catching a bunch of fish, I just want to catch that one fish.”
It all happened on November 14th, when Knutson discovered the muskie on his side-image fish finder. He put the lure in front of the fish on three different occasions, but the fish wasn’t biting.
So, he decided to let 16-year-old Ryan Hurley cast, which he knew was risky:
“That almost never works. And when it does, it’s usually in summer when the fish are more aggressive. When I saw his rod double over, I said, ‘Oh, my God, you got her!’”
Unfortunately, the sly muskie threw the hook and swam off… bummer.
But as luck would have it, they’d stumble upon another monster later that day:
“The fish wasn’t really moving at all, so I said, ‘This fish isn’t going to eat a trolling bait. We need to make a cast to it.’ Ryan threw one cast and made a couple of pumps to the Bull Dawg, and she crushed it.
This was his first time setting into a fish like that. I grabbed the net, and I put the rod up over my back, standing in front of him, so the rod tip would stay high and we could keep the fish up on top of the water where I could get the net on it right away.”
They worked to get her in the boat as fast as possible and sure enough, the muskie was in the net within 10 to 15 seconds.
Knutson shared Hurley’s reaction when he caught the monster:
“Ryan was in shock, and I was like, ‘Dude, this is the fish. This is the one. This is a fish of many lifetimes. Guys spend their whole lives trying to catch a fish this size, and you did it in one day.’”
He also noted that he’s had four fish around the same size as this one over the past four years, but this one stood out from the rest. And while it wasn’t big enough for a state record, it was pretty damn close.