Most muskie fishermen would like to know what’s it like to have a 54-inch muskie on the other end of the line.
Pete Olson, of Boulder Junction, knows. He likes the feel, and it happened again recently.
Olson was fishing from Ash Rapids Camp on Lake of the Woods in Ontario July 30 when he saw a follow and a large boil behind his black Jackpot. He and Joe Aldworth, of Mercer, were fishing near a navigational marker located near a reef about 8 p.m.
“The fish didn’t come out of the water but I knew it was a good one by the size of the boil,” Olson said. “I kept twitching the bait and all of a sudden it swallowed the lure.”
Fortunately the fish stayed in the 18-foot deep water, while Olson walked from one end of the boat to the other to keep the line out of the motor. After several minutes he worked it up where the fish “behaved very nicely” and swam right into the net.
Olson, using 80-pound line and a 9-foot pole, said he was fortunate to have a good hook set.
“We knew it was a ‘tanker’ and it took the two of us to lift the net into the boat,” he said. They got the hook out, took a photo and then put the fish back in the water and it swam away.
The funny part is that Olson had had hernia surgery earlier in the month and was taking a long time to recover. Because of that he wasn’t wearing a belt, and while walking from one end of the boat to the other as he brought that fish up to the surface to get it in the net, his pants had fallen down toward his knees.
Though they didn’t take the fish to shore to weigh it, Olson estimates that it would have been in the 50-pound range because it was so girthy. He has caught at least a dozen fish over 50 inches including a 551/2-inch muskie on Boulder Lake, though it was skinny and did not weigh as much as the 54-incher he caught this July.
On the same trip this past July, not far from Kenora, Olson’s son-in-law Craig Neils, of Madison, caught and released a 25-pound northern pike. That fish took an entire Bulldawg bait in its mouth, but it also was successfully released.
The 54-inch muskie was the highlight of Olson’s summer, as the surgery kept him off his feet for three weeks. His muskie fishing in Wisconsin, mostly in the evenings, has been non-productive this year.
Olson was the head basketball coach at LaFollette High School in Madison in the 1970s and in 1977 his team won the WIAA State High School Basketball Tournament.
He still follows basketball during the winter, including the Badgers, and helps coach the high school team in Clearwater, Fla. But when he returns to Boulder Junction each summer his focus changes from aggressive basketball to maurading muskies.