The Great Muskie Challenge
without catching a muskie, since other anglers have reputedly gone years without hooking one. Meanwhile, I would be spending time on the water in search of a dream fish.
It took less than an hour of office daydreaming to fashion The Great Muskie Challenge, a grand and noble crusade, in which I would test my mettle, as well as my plastic lures.
I chose Pomme de Terre Lake as my destination.
Other possibilities included Hazel Creek Lake, Pony Express Lake and Thomas Hill, which also contain muskies stocked b y the Conservation Department, and Lake of the Ozarks, where a few muskies may persist, left over from stockings that occurred years ago.
I wanted the absolute best, though, and anybody who's even casually glanced through fishing magazines - local or national - knows that Pomme de Terre has been providing topnotch muskie fishing since the Conservation Department starting stocking the fish there in 1966.
Muskie fishing is so popular at Pomme de Terre that the lake has its own muskie club, hosts muskie tournaments and has a fleet of guides eager to take clients out on the lake to catch trophies.
I thought about hiring a guide, but that would seem to be reshaping The Great Muskie Challenge to whether a guide, who has spent his life on the water and has encountered thousands of muskies, could lead me to a fish. I preferred flying solo.
I wasn't going unarmed, of course. I have a 14-foot aluminum fishing boat with a depth finder and troll motor, possess at least a dozen favorite fishing poles and have graduated to a third tackle box, although I only owned one bona fide muskie lure, a big, bulky, black bucktail spinner, that has actually spent time as a desk paperweight.
In the office, I was pretty confident that I could catch a legal muskie, especially after I read a couple of dozen magazine articles, with titles such as "Life Styles of the Big and Fero- cious."
Muskies, most of the articles suggested, are essentially food processing machines. They are eating or digesting. No authority dared speculate they did anything else - socialize, play sports, hold down jobs, etc.
In short, if you are interested in muskie, you need only look near the food when the muskie is feeding. It's that simple.
No sweat, I assured my co-workers, and I'll be sure to take pictures.
To learn as much as I could about the water I'd be