|By David A. Rose
On Sunday, September 27, Kyle Anderson set out to fish just a couple hours before work and ended up landing the state’s new record for Great Lakes musky – a 50-pound 8-ounce brute. The fish’s length was 56 1/8 inches, and had a girth of 27 inches.
Anderson, of Rapid City, Michigan, was trolling in Antrim County’s Torch Lake with a 9-inch Musky Magnet — hand-made by Detroit area lure crafter Kermit Good. The fish hit at 7:50 a.m. The lure was one of three being trolled at the time, and was being pulled in the propwash just 50 feet behind the motor. The bait was running in the top 10 feet over 40 feet of water.
Anderson’s a musky junky; this record-setting behemoth is his 11th musky over 50 inches, and his 70th landed in his seven years of exclusively hunting them. He fishes Torch Lake several times a year, but this was his first esox landed from its extremely clear water. Torch is one of 11 lakes in the “Chain-of-Lakes” just northwest of Traverse City.
The musky aficionado’s paid his dues, fishing nearly every day since his musky quest began. He’s logged over 4,500 hours of casting and trolling time on the Chain system alone, and has rolled the GPS mileage on his Lowrance twice, which totals more than 25,000 miles. Anderson doesn’t own a car, just his Warrior boat, which he also uses to go to and from work two blocks downstream on the Torch River.
Besides being a state record, this fish should also set the 50-pound test line-class world record once all the paperwork’s filed and accepted. Anderson’s mainline was Ultragreen Maxima monofilament, which was spooled onto a Daiwa Sealine coupled to a medium-heavy St Croix rod. Anderson’s leader was hand-tied by the angler from 100-test Berkley Big Game monofilament. He also had upgraded the lures split rings with Wolverine Triples, and its hooks with those from Musky Innovations.
Anderson was fishing alone and immediately tried to release the fish unharmed, without as much as a photo taken. “But sometime during 10 minute fight, one of the lure’s hooks swung up into a gill raker and tore it,” he says. “I tried for a half-hour to release her, but it just wasn’t going to happen.” Calls to his buddies and the trip back to shore to get it weighed weren’t made until after he realized the fish couldn’t be revived.
“Kyle’s put in a ton of time chasing these things ... it’s a sickness,” says his fishing buddy Alex Lafkas, of nearby Traverse City. “He’s a sicko when it comes to fishing muskies. If there’s anybody who deserved to catch this fish, it was him.”
Torch Lake, near the center of the Chain system, has a naturally-occurring population of Great Lakes muskies. There’s a dam dividing the lower five waterways in the Chain, which include: Elk Lake, Lake Skegemog, Torch Lake, Clam Lake, and Lake Bellaire, as well connecting river systems. The fish in these lakes are landlocked from the Great Lakes via a dam between Elk Lake and Lake Michigan’s East Grand Traverse Bay. All 11 lakes have a population Great Lakes strain musky.
An interesting sidebar this story is that this very fish was caught in a trap net Last May during a musky survey conducted by the Michigan DNR in conjunction with the University of Michigan. “We estimated this fish was at least five pounds heavier than what she officially weighed in after Anderson caught her,” says DNR Biologist Nicholas Popoff. The fish was so large and so full of spawn that she was not officially weighed at the time of her spring capture. Before the fish was released, she was implanted with an acoustic (radio) transmitter, which has now been returned to the DNR.
Anderson’s catch replaces Michigan’s old Great Lakes musky record of 48 pounds, caught by Charles S. Edgecomb in the popular musky waters of Lake Skegemog in 1984. It’s also heavier than the Michigan’s northern musky record of 49.75 pounds, caught in Thornapple Lake by John Geml in 2000.
The fish is being mounted by taxidermist Mike Childs, of Fairgame Taxidermy, Rapid City, Michigan.