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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?

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