A Fanatical Few
a pontoon boat.
“We show them where to catch fish and on what,” said professional guide Earle Hammond. “We tell them what the bottom’s like, why the fish stay there and even show them brush piles that aren’t marked.”
Hammond also is a regional vice president for the national Muskies Inc. organization and is in charge of the chapter’s newsletter and Web site. The latter contains enough fishing and club information to keep you busy for days.
To bring members together, the chapter fills its calendar with meetings, outings and gatherings. Meetings often include time for fishing or, during the winter months, expert instruction in fishing and fishing accessories.
The chapter also offers a guided fishing trip free to new members who sign up for three years, a bonus that by itself is worth more than the price of membership. The Guide for a Day program offers the same expert instruction, plus dinner and a social hour for anyone who wants to learn more about muskie fishing.
The chapter also coordinates a team fishing event, called “Chapter Challunge,” where members compete against another chapter for bragging rights and modest prizes. These events are for members only, but the club’s biggest event, its fall tournament, which takes place on Oct. 3–5 this year, is open to the public.
The tournament actually is two tournaments in one: a Friday tournament, and then a Saturday–Sunday tournament. Each has its own registration and winners. A highlight of the three-day event is the Saturday night banquet, which features a raffle with lots of fishing-related prizes.
Hammond, who retired from police work in Kansas City, said he’s fished the chapter’s annual fall muskie tournament every year since 1980.
“I just fished that first tournament on a lark,” he said, “and I caught a muskie—my first one. It was 18-inches long. We didn’t know if it counted or what, so we went to another boat and asked. They said it had to be 30 inches to count. While we were talking, a guy pulled into the spot we were at, made one cast and caught a 43-incher. I’ll never forget that.”
Although Pomme de Terre chapter members are crazy about fishing, they are extremely sensible when it comes protecting the fish that are the source of their fun.
“Muskie anglers typically love their fish,” said Fisheries Management Biologist Mark Boone, who served as the Conservation Department’s muskie coordinator for nine years. “They know that there’s not