The 2006 Season Review

Well after looking back on this past 2006 season it's hard to pick a few of the highlights out of so many. I put together this pack of pictures for you to see some of the happy clients from this past season. Lots of first time muskie catchers and a bunch of personal bests caught out of my boat in 2006. Even some unheard of things like catching 3 muskies at one time.

Here is a story that will be told by my kids and me for a long time. It's the story of the Triple Play Muskies. This story started the second day of the 2006 season on Sunday afternoon. I was out with my kids fishing for muskies in the late afternoon when it happened. My son Mike and my daughter's boy friend Ryan were casting while I was controlling the boat and dragging 4 suckers. I had one sucker behind each person casting and one on each side of the boat in the middle of the boat for me. It all started with a 36-inch muskie grabbing the sucker on the backside of the boat, the middle rod, and my rod. I quickly set the hooks hard and after a quick battle my boy netted the muskie. As I unhooked my second muskie of the season by son Mike yelled, "fish on dad" as he set the hooks into a very nice 40-inch fish. I quickly unhooked my muskie and placed it into my live well so I could net my boys fish. As I readied the net my other sucker rod started to take line out. I grabbed that rod in my right hand, engaged the reel, pinned the spool with my thumb and lifted up as hard as I could. Sure enough, there was a muskie on this rod also. I muscled the fish to the surface and scooped the 35-incher into the net, reached out farther for my sons 40-incher and scooped that fish also.

Now I got two fish in the net and one in my live well in just minutes. That is unbelievable!!! I cut the hooks out of the two in the net, asked Ryan and Mike to grab one each and I also picked one of them up for a quick picture to preserve the memory. My daughter Krystina did a great job getting a few quick pictures under some crazy circumstances. All three fish were then released back to where they belong. That's only 1½ days into my start of the 2006 season and we already got 5 muskies in the boat in a day and a half.

The second most memorable day on the water in 2006 was a guide job with Mike Phelps and his father in law. We started out trolling at 5am one early August weekend morning. Mike wanted to get his father in law a muskie and hopefully one for his self. We got the first muskie only minutes after we set up. A respectable muskie by anyone's standards was the first of many to come into my boat that day. After a quick picture the muskie was released and I motored back to where we started. "Lets try that again," I said as we set up the rods with hope of another fish. This time it took about 10 minutes to get the next fish to hit a crank bait. Mike was all over this fish and quickly took care of business bringing the muskie to the waiting net. Too make a long story short Mike and his father in law boated and released 5 muskies in an hour and a half. What a great early morning guide trip on a crowded weekend morning. After we got done with the morning outing we stopped for lunch and talked about why this worked and how to repeat this success under similar conditions. Knowing that this bite will continue with the conditions still perfect I set out to catch some fish for myself. It took a while to find some active fish and a different pattern that would work in the mid day hours. But after a few hours I was dialed back into the hot pattern. I caught and released 4 more muskies before I had to quit. A 9-muskie day was one to remember and talk about in the long winter months while ice fishing.

Now Mike Phelps is a muskie angler that is somewhat new to the sport and always one to ask lots of questions. This is the type of client that gets his money worth out of guide trip and is not a stranger to success in my boat. Mike and his boss Tony came out with me a week or two earlier than his father in law trip. He and Tony caught and released 4 muskies on a weekday afternoon 5pm till 10pm guide trip. Tony came up with the largest muskie that night, an extremely fat 48-incher. I guess it's only fitting for Mike to let his boss catch the largest fish of the night.

Thinking back I can also remember a client that hired me to teach him the changing patterns on Pewaukee as the season progresses. Kevin and I went shopping at Smokey's Muskie Shop to get him his basics in baits to begin his muskie fishing addiction. Kevin was just getting into this crazy sport and wanted to get a crash course to catch up in a hurry. Being my age of 45 years young Kevin and I quickly became friends.

The first guide trip we got out on was in May and the water temps were in the mid to upper 50's. We worked through his new baits one by one and I showed him all the tricks and tips I knew about each new lure he purchased. The memory that sticks out in my mind was the Top Raider bait he was working. Kevin would work baits for a ½ hour and then switch to the next new lure (this was the plan). Well I was trying to get him to keep working this top water bait because the spot and conditions were perfect for it. Well we stuck to "the plan" and he took it off and changed to a Hawg Wobbler. I asked if I could use the Top Raider and I locked it onto my leader. Three casts later I boated a very nice 46-inch muskie. I offered it to Kevin to reel in but he wanted to catch his first muskie completely on his own. The second guide trip we scheduled was 60-degree water temps and we worked Suicks, buck tails, and cranks baits. Now this ½ rule was not my idea but I liked the plan. This way we can get through a bunch of lures and he can pick up lots of info about lots of lures. Learning the tricks of the Suick was one lure that stands out n my mind. The ½ hour was up and Kevin took off the Suick to switch to a bucktail. He asked if I wanted to keep it out and use it, I told him he could watch me work the Suick as he worked his buck tail. I made two casts and was explaining how to trigger a following muskie when a 38-incher came up out of know where and ate the Suick. Again he refused the handoff and studied how I handled the fish at the boat and net job. Kevin had fish following his baits but no strikes. Kevin and I boated a bunch of muskies either casting or trolling in the 2006 season. I can't wait to see how he tears them up this new 2007 season. He is now very well schooled and confident muskie angler. This is two of the most important variables that will bring success to anglers.

One other time I had 2 clients out for some trolling action. They wanted to learn about trolling for muskies and walleyes. I showed them the rods, reels, line, baits, planner boards, line clips and how to put all this to use. We worked on boat control, speed, when to change up baits and the speed to trigger strikes. Sounds like a lot to digest don't it? Well it is, but I try to keep it simple and teach it while we implement it on the water. This is a great way to learn and catch fish at the same time. Long story short we got some muskies and a very nice walleye Dan took home to mount on his wall. Pewaukee Lake has some huge walleyes to be had and they will eat muskie baits. I don't know what Dan enjoyed more, learning the dos and don'ts of trolling or the trophy walleye he got to take home. This is just another memory that stands out from this past season.

Thinking about all the great times I had with so many anglers this season I don't know where to stop with the stories. First time muskie anglers catching their first legal muskie, experienced anglers catching their largest muskie, or setting a record number of fish in my boat is all great memories that are coming into my mind at this time. I would love to go on and on with stories but that would be more like a book rather than a report.

I would like to thank everyone who used Mike's Extreme Guide Service this past season for your interest in muskie fishing and learning the best ways to handle fish, catch fish and release the fish you catch.

I also would like to welcome back all the anglers who used my service to catch walleyes and pan fish. Some of the best father/son times I got to be part of were when the bluegills were hitting and some good old father/son competition was going on in my boat. Whether it's pan fish, bass, walleyes or the mighty muskie I like to see people enjoy the sport of fishing.

I have to admit this past 2006 season was one of the most enjoyable years I had as a guide.