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The Awaking of Monsters

September 14, 2011

Editor’s Note: This column first appeared in the Greater Ashland Beacon on Sept. 14, 2011

By Chris Erwin

Every year as the water cools into the mid to lower 70s the musky in Kentucky come to life. These toothy critters begin to move into the shallow-water areas with their metabolism revved to the max, exploding on their prey like an alligator killing a duck!

This heart-stopping fury can send even the most hardened angler into the shakes as these brutish giants display the power that few fish possess. The lures that draw these monsters to strike are many, including buzzbaits, in-line spinners, bulldawgs, and gliders. On any given day, any of these can spur these fish into action.

On a recent trip to Cave Run Lake over Labor Day weekend, my son and I decided to do a little fishing. Our focus was more on the crappie and bass, since we knew that the water could still be a little warm for the musky and that the days were going to be hot. True to form, we caught and released some 50 bass using crankbaits. We also caught 17 crappies, casting brush piles. It was a fun two days.

Then came Monday and with it came the rain, along with dropping temperatures. So, we headed for areas we knew would hold musky. The water had fallen some five degrees putting it at 73 degrees in the river. The rain was steady but we had short periods where it only sprinkled or stopped. At those moments, the sky would open up and the sun would peak out but this lasted for a short time before it was back to overcast skies and cool, wet, rainy wind that kept us in long sleeves.

Casting the flats, points and heads of creeks, it looked like the only thing that the cold rain was affecting was us. Then Scott threw his spinnerbait next to a tree that had fallen into the water sometime this spring. Just as he took up the slack to start his retrieve, a musky pounced on the bait breaking the water and tumbling across the top like it was on fire. It was a small musky -once landed it only measured 28 inches- a mere baby. We quickly released this juvenile stick of dynamite. It did wonders for our cold and wet enduring disposition.

"Photo by Soc Clay. Anglers pull in one of the first musky of the late summer season at Cave Run Lake

The day would still produce bass, if we switched from our musky rig back to our bass rig but it was musky we wanted to see. With only an hour or so to go, Scotts’ green spinner-bait would find another sweet spot and this time it was no baby! His rod bent double, as I hit the trolling motor to swing the boat into position where I could dip the fish. Scott looked up at me to say, “She’s coming up!” About that time, the fish broke the water shaking his head and throwing water in every direction. Then the fish went down and under the boat, and before I could swing the boat around, it broke again on the other side.  We could see half the bait dangling from the fish’s mouth. Scott shoved his rod deep into the water and lifted up as the fish disappeared under the boat. This time the fish broke the surface right beside the boat and I slipped the net under her. Once she was in the net, a smile crept across both our face like we had just eaten the last piece of pie.

A quick measure and back in the water she went, all 38 inches of power and beauty. Holding her from the tail, it only took two or three pumps back and forth and she ripped out of my hand and disappeared into the deep green water.

Till Next time

Good Fishing!

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