Had Jake Bednar caught his 55-inch long musky at a different time of the year, he might have landed one of the largest muskies ever caught in Minnesota.
Fishing on West Battle Lake the evening of Saturday, June 22, Bednar and his girlfriend, Kayla Collins, had quickly caught a couple of walleyes, which is what they were fishing for.
Bednar was trolling in 12 feet of water, using a Fire Tiger colored No. 7 Shad Rap on 10-pound line. It's an angling tactic that many people use for walleyes on Lac qui Parle Lake.
A few minutes after catching his second walleye, Bednar hooked up with a fish about twice as big as any that lurk in Lac qui Parle Lake.
Bednar had never caught a musky before, but after fighting the fish for about five minutes, it boiled to the surface, and he knew he had a musky at the end of his line and a long, hard fight on his hands.
"The first time I saw it I knew it wasn't a northern because they don't get that big," said Bednar, who had caught a 40-inch northern previously
After battling the musky for about a half hour, Bednar got the fish close enough to the boat to attempt to land it, but the handle on the net broke under the musky's weight. Luckily, Bednar didn't loose the fish and he was able to get it into the boat.
Bednar didn't have a tape measure long enough to measure his trophy, but another boat was in the area and two men what was happening. They helped measure the musky at exactly 55 inches long. The musky was weighed on two different scales at 35 and 33 pounds.
A female musky measuring 55 inches could tip the scales at more than 50 pounds, but Bednar's musky had just finished spawning and had likely lost a great deal of her weight.
Bednar said he talked to a man who has fished for muskies for many years on West Battle Lake and the biggest ones he has caught were 52- and 53-inch fish.
The Minnesota state record musky is a 56-inch, 54-pound fish caught by Art Lyons on Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957.
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