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number of good muskie rod and reel combos for less than $150, and I often recommend these to new anglers. And you will definitely want to use baitcasting reels. Once you get over your fear of the infamous “bird’s nest,” you will be forever grateful, because baitcasters cast with far more accuracy, distance and control than a big spinning reel. It is virtually impossible to cast braided line with a spinning reel without wanting to pull your hair out or give up from exhaustion. So we have covered lure selection, rods and reels, line and leaders. But what about the all- important net? Most novice anglers who hook into a muskie immediately scoop it up into the net and exclaim, “We got her!” as they bring the fish into the boat. DON’T DO THIS! Instead, have your fishing partner hold the net in the water at boatside while you remove the hooks. This method allows the fish to swim and breathe freely while remaining comfortable in its environment. The number one way to kill a muskie is to drop it or have it damage its head by smacking it on the bottom of the boat, which is very likely if you try to free your lure from an angry muskie in the bottom of the boat. You can also use the buoyancy of the water to your benefit as you maneuver the fish into an upright position for easier access to its mouth – just hold one hand behind the head of the fish and tilt it vertically. If the fish decides to thrash, just let go. The fish will still be safely in the net and you can resume once she settles down. Good pliers, mouth spreaders and bolt cutters (the red-handled ones you have in the garage to cut padlocks with), a tape measure and a good camera are all important keys to getting the fish unhooked and released in a timely manner. Once the fish is unhooked, properly holding and supporting the fish will make for a nice photo and boost your chances of releasing the fish safely. I believe that God has given us a handle to hold these fish. A couple tips to note: If you are going to grab the fish from its left side, you’ll want to grab its jaw with your left hand (and vice versa), as it tends to be awkward to hold the fish from the opposite angle. Remember to keep your hand as close to the outside wall of the cheek as possible to avoid cutting your hands on the sharp gill rakers. As you raise the fish out of the water, remember that its spine was not built to support its full weight out of water. Supporting the fish’s body with your other hand without making a bend in the fish takes the stress off and also provides for a nice way to show the fish to the camera. Please see the pictures below. I personally enjoy the release shots the best! The more I learn about muskies, the greater the respect I have for them and the more committed I am to their survival. They are not just another fish to be caught. Muskies show great interest in their environment along with being ferocious opportunistic feeders. They need to be treated with respect, as their survival in large part depends on how we handle them once caught. One of the big reasons guests choose Century Lodge is our mandatory catch and release policy for every muskie caught by our guests. Although Eagle Lake has a 54” size limit to protect its trophy potential, we feel that is not enough. Since we have and do catch muskies that big and with the understanding that keeping any

Frankies Boats Century Lodge muskie in a naturally reproducing system is detrimental, we decided over 15 years ago that is was imperative to release all muskie. This policy has been welcomed by our guests as it helps ensure they will be enjoying outstanding trophy muskie fishing for generations to come! If you have questions regarding your next muskie trip, please do not hesitate to contact me at info@centurylodge.com or call 269-699-5792. We would love to have you come visit us, but regardless of where you go, remember muskies are a precious resource that God has blessed us with. Please practice catch and release! Randy Tyran Century Lodge www.centurylodge.com 269-699-5792 winter 807-938-6863 summer Fish where the crowds are not. More than 125 square miles just for you Century Island...beautiful and remote... rustic lodge, fieldstone fireplace, lake view dining, wonderful home cooked food, tackle shop, private lakeview cabins, breath taking scenery and abundant wildlife for photographer and hunters, Native guides, and limited fishing pressure. 2 hours and 15 minutes from the U.S. - Canadian border. Head North of International Falls, Minnesota entering Canada at Fort Frances, Ontario. Take Highway 11 East for 16 miles, then North on Highway 502 for 82 miles. Look for Century Road sign. Turn left and your at the landing, where the fun begins. Plan to book your trip today... info@centurylodge.com Summer # 807-938-6863 Winter # 269-699-5792 Rich, Kay, Holli, Randy, Tonya, Cody and Lilly Grace all invite you to join them this summer. You will need a new boat if you want to chase this Big Fat Pig Or you can call em at 651-257-6334 email Mike or Jason Mehsikomer today for a price quote mikem@frankiesboats.com or Jasonm@frankiesboats.com skeeter, Yamaha, evinrude & more . Fish where the BIG FISH are. Featuring trophy Muskie, Northern, Smallmouth and Walleye www.centurylodge.com