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Friday, April 4, 2014

"You nincompoop, it's a major award!"

 I love sharing our sport. It's pretty cool to see the surprised look on people's faces when they first get a look at the  pictures of the fish we catch.  It's that expression, all at once, when they realize the grandeur of a big Musky. The size of the fish's massive head, its girth or the fact that it's longer than their leg, usually makes their jaw drop. It happens every time and it doesn't  matter whether the viewer is a fisherman or not. Actually, I think the average "Big Time" fishermen are more in awe over the intimidating profiles of these  magnificent fish than the "Laker" who wets a line every now and then and doesn't know the difference between a sunfish or a sunburn.
On those rare days, after a club outing, when you get to share your catch pictures with the group, the rush you get can be almost as rewarding as catching the fish in the first place. The reassuring acknowledgement from your buds that you done good helps you to get  past those lulls and lean times. I mean, you just caught a species that most angler won't catch their whole lives. Although, this is Musky fishing, and sharing those good times doesn't happen all that often and when they do, it is a  big deal, a real big deal.
As we all know, as members of Muskies Inc., we get to share our catches in the 'Lunge Log which keeps an annual running total of  all of the Muskies their members caught throughout the year. At the end of the year, Jim Bunch tallies the results of eight different international categories, from men's stats, women's stats, juniors stats as well as Lunker of the Month an Hybrid. Last year, two members of WLMC Chap. 49  accomplished something that may never be done again! They finished in first place, internationally, in their respected categories, Le crème de la crème, , et pour moi, je crois que,  it's a big deal! *
Congratulations to Jeffrey Iden and Nikki Swain for proudly representing the 'MC, internationally in 2013, by finishing out on top of the Hybrid division and the Women's Division.
Jeff caught a monster  Hybrid in July of last year while fishing on Lake St. Clair which was big enough to put him right to the top of the table. Many other Hybrids in the high forties were caught later in the year, but none long enough to best Jeff's 49 incher which proved to be the largest caught in the world in 2013! I will speak for the majority of the Club and say that many of our P.B's aren't even 49",  let alone a Hybrid. Way to go, Jeff! Looking forward to meeting you this year at Leagues.
Then there was  Ms. Swain. How can you have a discussion about the Women's Division Title race of M.I. and not bring Nikki's name up right out of the gate? A perennial leader in the division, year in and year out, and  not just by catching numbers but she has been known to hoist in some big girls, too! A few years ago, she caught an Indiana fish that was measured damn near at that  magic mark, but came up a bit  short at 49" and change. We all knew it was just a matter of time, and in 2013 she used all of the time that was available to her. Trailing by a handful points in late October, Nikki was able to catch and release two fish in November, giving her a total of 275 points and  securing her  the Women's Division Title! It was the first time a member of Chapter 49 topped a division at the end of the year. Great job, sister and best of luck this year!
Next week, I think it is time we all share our sport in the proudest of ways. At the behest of our MOFC Director, Brian Rothbauer, as well as the rest of the WLMC B.O.D. I would like to invite both of you, Jeff and Nikki, as well as all Chapter 49 members, to attend the after dinner festivities of next week's Ice Out Challenge so Chapter 49 can properly present you both with your International Awards. Any members that plan on attending the party but don't plan on fishing are more than welcome, but please RSVP to me at so we can assure we have enough food for everyone.

Jim Welsh

 * Note. Just trying to give it  an international feel. After all, Muskellunge is a French word, isn't it?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The road to the Indiana Derby.

         With less than three weeks till the first  MOFC League outing, it is time to get your bets down on who will be crowned champion while the odds are at their greatest for the bettor. Our Tournament Director, Curt Lindsay, known for his backwood brewing techniques, has cooked up a new League Day format for 2014. Leagues will held once a month, being  spread throughout the year. Check the website for 2014 schedule or call Curt at 574-529-2098. Let's hope the Leagues go down a little smoother than his moonshine. Here is the '14 future pool betting line. 
Each bettor will have 20 points to wager. Wagers can be placed on any one entry or spread out across the board with a minimum bet of 2 points to be placed on any one entry. Wagers can be placed via my email at no later than April 15th. Tie breakers will be your prediction of total of fish caught during Leagues. Bettors with the most points will be declared the winner. Prizes TBD. All wagers are for entertainment purposes only. No wagers will be made or paid in monetary form. Good luck!

   4-1  Curt Lindsey.
 Last year's dead heat co runner ran more events than any other entry. Clockers predict going the distance should be no problem based on recent workouts. Slow out of the gate but is known to rally late down the stretch. Likes the whip.

   5-1  Bill Kopp.      
After stewards inquiry, officially declared '13 money winner. If returns to the same form of May/June '13, it may be over before it starts. Has been known to come up short (29") when  money is on the line.  Some question if trainer C. Baxter's workout schedule may be too intense.

   6-1  Chae Dolsen
Perennial odds on favorite fell out of favor with book makers due to lack of participation in graded races last year. Could easily end up in the winner's circle if entered in at least half of the events on this years meet. Can rally between horses to best foes by 10 lengths or more  if shook at the quarter pole.

   7-1  Nikki Swain
 "Filly of The Year" winner in '13 is showing no sign of fatigue after grueling schedule  saw her compete all the way into November last year. Past performances proves she is easily favored over stable mate R. Swain. Look for her to be the morning line favorite at the LSC meet.

   8 -1  Isaac Mobley
Has the breeding to stay up with the front runners. Needs to compete more in '14 to be a serious threat. The Tippy track fits his running style the best so look for a strong finish there. Finished in the money  at Webster and Upper Long also.

   9-1  David Cates
With the scales of justice in one hand and a St. Croix in the other, it's silly not to think this local entry won't be somewhere near the lead in the end. Competing in other races, specifically the primary and general campaigns, probably will interfere with this season's title hunt. If returns to past form, this veteran should be an overlay at 9-1.

  9-1  John Dobry
Experience, stamina, pace and good instinct should've placed him higher up the board, but too many scratches last year has this entry right in the middle of the betting field. Will have a good showing on home track and Tippy. Needs to partner up well on LSC if planning on finishing in the money there.

  10-1  Garrett Graham
Lake county bred colt has a lot of pace. Goes well on Sawmill and Sechrist surfaces. Past performances on Tippy will alone makes him a good bet.

  11-1  Adam Wallace
Opened '14 campaign early with trips to out of state events. Constant fly-ins and jet lag drags this entry down in to the  double digit odds. New equipment should favor him over foes late as the long season takes its toll. Another LSC favorite.

  11-1  Jim Welsh
Finished in the money in '13. Seems to favor The Chain over others. With lack of experience, don't look for strong outings on smaller tracks. Being a shipper from the Illinois based stable may cause this gelding problems.

  12-1  Bill Bennett
Possible quarter crack injury after Indiana Musky Classic could've been the reason he wasn't entered again in '13. Look for him to make a full return in '14. Webster, Tippy favor his style. When in form this local competitor can run with the best. Sometimes a late scratch.

  12-1  Eric Fleming
Very good out of the gate. Look for him to start out strong early in the meet. Runs well on Webster and The Chain in Spring and Summer. As good a runner as any other local foes. Needs a better outcome down the Fall stretch if planning on winning it all. Easily can finish in the money, but best play is a Show bet.

  12-1  JR Cates
Young stud has the bloodline to win here. Broken equipment forced multiple scratches in '13. Sold off a lot of lures last month and may not have many left, but still should be a good bet. If used in an exacta bet with his father the payout could be monumental.

   12-1  Rick Swain
Over shadowed by his celebrated stable mate in '13. Managed to rally, completing a few impressive trips. Should've finished  higher in if wasn't under wraps. Look for this entry to fight back in '14.

  15-1  Jeff Iden
Impressed in '13 winning M.I. division title. Started slow last year but rallied big. LSC,  Webster fit his trolling style.

  2-1  Field or All Other
Field runners consist of all WLMC members not listed above due to not meeting the minimum required entries based on past performance records. Participation in 2 or more outings this year will make you eligible for the  2015 Future Pool. 

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