Fishing News: World Record Muskie (Muskellunge)

Down by the Bay
By JOHN POWER
Publication: The Fishing News
Issue: Jan 15 -Mar 15 2001

THE FISHING NEWS In November, Toronto angler Martin Williamson successfully landed the second-largest muskie ever caught in Canada.

Don't know who coined the expression "the best things come in small packages," but it definitely wasn't Martin Williamson. On the contrary, the 56-year-old Toronto muskie monomaniac believes "bigger is better" and has invested a large slice of his ANGLING efforts over the past 31 years in trying to prove it.

Most every autumn weekend Williamson and a couple of fellow fervent anglers have pounded the Georgian Bay behemoth beat in search of a muskie man's ultimate prize in the shape of a record-breaker.

They've come closer than most, chalking up 10 over 40 pounds, including Williamson's best to that point, a 42-pounder which earned him the live-release honours back in the days when Molson Brewery sponsored a popular and highly successful fishing contest.

Williamson's gravitation to what may be the world's leading 'lunge glory hole has been gradual, beginning over three decades ago when he first contracted muskie fever and purchased a cottage in the productive Kawartha Lakes where muskellunge are plentiful and co-operative. However, it didn't take Williamson long to realize that while there was no shortage of action in those waters, his chances of hooking a world record-beater were virtually non-existent.

His group switched playing fields to the Moon River basin of Georgian Bay, which has coughed up a ton of titans, including the 65-pound Canadian record. In fact, Williamson was on the water the same weekend that fish hit the deck back in 1988. But action in that neck of the woods can be and usually is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Although some trophy fish are in residence, they are few and far between. Many a would-be giant killer has devoted years to pursuing his dream, only to come up empty.

Williamson and his mates elected to change venues once again. They moved south to the windswept islands near Honey Harbor, where their catch record improved dramatically, thanks in part to the tutorship of legendary local Stan Nowocin, who has chalked up more monstrous muskies than any 10 mere mortals. Taking them under his wing, Stan "the Muskie Man" showed them the ropes and his roller coaster playing field until they were totally familiar with the old master's turf.

While they were honing their skills and establishing an enviable track record, Williamson's buddy Lorne Yurichuk was literally carving a niche in the muskie hall of fame with husky 16-inch "pikie minnow"-style jointed plugs - christened "Goliaths" - that were accounting for an increasing percentage of the group's catch.

Which brings us to Nov. 26, a bitter and blustery day with leaden waters under scudding skies. A day that would be indelibly etched on the minds of Martin Williamson, Lorne Yurichuk and Richard Garas, who huddled in flotation suits as they braved the elements for their last hurrah of 2000.

Williamson recalls: "Our boat was the only one on the Bay. We had the joint to ourselves. We were trolling off Thompson Island. My black and yellow Goliath, weighted by nine ounces of lead and separated from the 30-pound line by a six-foot leader, was running at 24 feet over 50-foot depths, but at a very slow speed dictated by the cold temperature which lowers the muskies' metabolism.

"I knew it was huge the moment it hit. The entire battle lasted less than 15 minutes until I was able to bring it to the top and into the hoop held by Lorne and Richard."

Although Williamson is a catch-and-release practitioner, this fish, which measured 53.5 inches in length (see note 2) with a 31.5-inch girth, looked like a potential record and was slated for his wall. They headed to Nowocin's home where his carefully calibrated balance scale read 61.4 pounds. Then they were off for the local general store, where the monster bottomed out the digital meat scale.

Angler: Martin Williamson
Hometown: Toronto
Age: 56
Lure: Goliath
Method: Trolling
Depth: 50 feet
Lure Depth: 24 feet
Date: November 26
Location: Georgian Bay
Fish: 61-pound Muskie
Length: 53.5 inches * (See Note 2)
Girth: 31.5 inches
Status: Mounted

NOTE 1: Unofficially the second-largest muskie ever caught in Canada.

NOTE 2: Actual lengh is 55.5 inches. Fish was measured by fork length method rather than total length on fin fold, as such the correct length is 55.5 inches. This length correction was pointed out by Larry Ramsell who is a renowned muskie fish expert, muskie fishing author and accomplished muskie angler. See the following links for information on how to measure a fish: Common Measurements and How to Measure a Fish


More articles on Big Muskie and World Record Muskie (AKA Muskellunge), available in the Fishing News »

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