Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Minnesota angler lands muskie on his fishfinder’s transducer

Maple Lake, Minn. — Spencer Ledwein was dangling a transducer down an ice hole, looking for crappies, when instead, a 50-inch muskie found him.

That’s right, Ledwein iced a 50-inch muskie – not by hook and line, but via fishfinder transducer.

Ledwein, of Annandale, happens to be a muskie angler (his personal best was 43 inches), well aware that the season for muskies was otherwise closed.

He said the crappies had stopped biting on Sugar Lake in Wright County, prompting him to go hole-hopping in search of suspended panfish.

“I was on maybe my sixth hole,” he said, noting that he was walking from hole to hole, dropping the transducer with a considerable amount of cord to account for about 30 inches of ice.

“The best I can describe it was it was like a 40-pound dumbbell pulling down on my cable,” he said. “It almost got ripped out of my hand. I wanted to know what was on the end of my transducer.”

He pulled as hard as he could, and about 4 to 6 inches of the transducer cord came up the 8-inch hole. Wedged down in the hole was the head of the fish, which would be measured at roughly a 231⁄2- to 24-inch girth, in video footage that’s been making the rounds on Facebook.

But, thankfully, for Ledwein’s sake, there were several witnesses on hand to vouch for this improbably story, though he said he’s since heard of similar stories of muskies attacking transducers.

“I saw this big nose,” said Scott Sypnieski, who was fishing that day and knew others in Ledwein’s party, which included his brother Tyler, nephew Hank, and cousin Darin Dalbec. “I saw this giant fish in the hole. It was a pretty big nose.”

Sypnieski originally contacted Outdoor News regarding the fish, which was caught March 21.

Added Dalbec, reached by phone: “He was saying, ‘Oh my god!’ I look over and I see him pulling this big head out of the hole. It was a big head. … It was the size of an ice cream pail. Barely fit up through the hole.”

Most of the anglers – and there were more than a half dozen around – noticed Ledwein speaking in disbelief as he wrestled with the fish. He knew not to proceed to pull the fish out of the hole by the cord of the transducer.

“Once its head was in the hole, it wasn’t going anywhere,” Ledwein said. “It wasn’t going to swim backwards.”

Ledwein pulled the fish out of the hole by the gill plate and hoisted it up on the ice. Ledwein said there was no blood and he did not believe he did any damage to the fish.

“He was chomped down on it,” Ledwein said of the fish’s grip on the transducer, which is said to now bear teeth marks from the muskie.

But Ledwein thinks the transducer cord might have gotten tangled up in the mouth of the fish, and that might have been key to landing it, or otherwise the fish could have just let go. The cord escaped the ordeal unscathed, he said.

Ledwein said he did have experience with 50-inch muskies before, despite never hooking one. He’d netted one for his brother during the four years he’s been muskie fishing, he said.

He said he was thankful there were other anglers around – and not just because it’s a fish story that might otherwise not be believed.

“My cousin had a tape measure,” he said, noting he was not carrying one.

Ledwein and Dalbec said they both were aware of other large muskies in the Wright County lake.

“There’s a few,” said Dalbec, who grew up on the lake, close to the spot where Ledwein landed the fish, which was promptly released after a couple of photos and being measured.

Ledwein said some folks on the internet have noted that he didn’t catch the fish with a hook and line and that the fish was out of season.

All of that is true, Ledwein said, but it’s not like he was attempting to catch a muskie with a transducer. It just happened.

“I’m guessing the fish had to be cruising by slowly or was sitting right at the hole,” he said. “He heard that ticking or pulsating noise (of the transducer) and it must have just (ticked) him off or something. I must have put it right in front of his face.”

Ledwein has decided to get a replica mount. His friend convinced him.

“My buddy said, ‘You better get a replica made.’ Something like this is never going to happen again,” Ledwein said.

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