Fishing News: World Record Muskellunge
Georgian Bay Produces Histories Eight 60-Pounder
By Larry Ramsel
Publication: Musky Hunter.
Issue: April/May 2001
An extremely historical event took place on Sunday November 26, 2000, something which could possibly be a clue to where the next world record musky will be caught. On that date, a goliath of a musky that weighed in at 61 pounds 4 ounces on a calibrated balance beam scale, carried on a frame of 53 ½ inches long with a 31 ½-inch girth, was conquered by two Canadian musky anglers! It places as the seventh largest musky ever caught.
Since Rober Malo hauled a 70-pound musky from Middle Eau Claire Lake, Wisconsin, in June of 1954, there have been only three muskies caught and weight verified that have been in the 60-pound class (including Art Barefoot's 59-pound 11 ounce fish that was weighed 18 days after the catch). All three of these 60-pound class muskies have come from the vast waters of, or tributary to, Georgian Bay, Ontario!
At 11 a.m. on a cloudy, calm morning with snow on the ground, 56-year-old Martin Williamson and his long time fishing partner Lorn Yurichuk, were trolling unchartered shoals in the open waters of Georgian Bay, near the vast area of Honey Harbour, when thet caught the 61-pound musky.
This duo, who are both from the Toronto area, had spent years finding and learning the waters and these years of hard work finally paid off. Both have previously boated giant Georgian Bay 'lunge. Martin told me that he had been chasing trophy muskies for about 25 or 26 years, and his previous largest was a 45-pounder in 1982, and he had released a real giant in 1985. (Both Martin and Lorn are now catch and release anglers, but his fish was an exception and is being mounted.) Lorn has taken several big muskies from Georgian Bay in excess of 45 pounds.
Martin told me that he had been trolling the waters of Blackstone Harbour in the Moon River basin on the day that Ken O'Brien landed the current Ontario record 65 pounder, so it would seem he is always fishing great water!
According to Lorn, the unchartered shoal that this fish was taken from ( which has produced big muskies for them in the past) tops out at 29 feet. They had swung out over 40 feet of water when the giant inhaled Martin's "Goliath" lure, which was handcrafted by Lorn. Ironically, Lorn was trolling a lure not of his making.
Martin had attached his lure to a homemade Sevenstrand, nylon-coated leader 6 fee long testing 60 pounds. The leader was tied to a 30-pound test Daiwa green Samurai line, wound on a Daiwas 47LC line counter reel that was mounted on a light 6-foot Shimano rod, rated fro 14- to 20-pound line. He was using 8 or 10 ounces of trolling lead ahead of the leader, which had the Goliath lure running a about the 30-foot depth level.
Lorn said that his Goliath lure is somewhat similar to a giant jointed Pikie, about 14 or 15 inches ling (use of large lures is the norm for Georgian Bay trollers - some use baits up to 24 inches long).
When the big one hit, Martin said that he knew instantly that he was into a big fish, but he had no idea that it was "that big!" He related that the giant fish "sounded straight down" and "had tremendous pulling power" They didn't see the fish for 10 to 15 minutes. Knowing that he was attached to a huge fish, Martin said that he played it quite carefully." He said that he felt the line counter reel was very important, because he, "could tell how deep the musky was without having to lean over the side."
When the fish came to the surface, they couldn't believe how huge it really was. After a fight of about 15 to 20 minutes, he was able to get the fish close to the boat for Lorn to net. Lorn, who had previously lost a monster because of a netting mishap, was very careful in netting this fish. He centered it in the net, and then "grabbed the rim of the net with both hands and lifted the fish into the boat."
And interesting sidebar to this story is that had he caught his "Goliath" in 2001, Martin would have had to release it! Ontario's "World Record Water Trophy Management Plan," which includes Georgian Ba, kicks in this year with a 54-inc size limit, a half inch larger than Martin's fish. Can you imagine having to release the seventh-largest musky ever caught? While it would indeed be painful to most, the goal of allowing these superfish the opportunity to reach world record size might just be met.