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Created by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018 at 1:09pm. Last updated by Scott McKee Oct 31, 2018.

Thank you, Jay!

This site is sponsored by NMA Member Jay Nannen.

Unlike Nate, I was unable to take the day off and cast my fly rod. I did however get out trolling on the Larry last night for 4 hours. Half way through I netted a 48.5x22 after a short fight with insane head shakes. Lure was removed and the fish sat upright in the net completely submerged while I got the bump board, go pro, and flood light ready. I pulled her out and held her up for the video, a quick bump, then revived her. No red fins or any other signs of stress and she only took a a minute or two to revive but after she swam strong right down to the bottom I was getting my boat back to fishing mode when I heard something over on an adjacent flat. It was the fish floating at the surface (in the correct orientation). I trolling motored over to it and it slowly swam back to the bottom and away from me. She continued to pop up for the next 10 minutes and I stayed around to make sure she was okay. I think she was just resting? I now regret playing marco polo with her but I had to be sure she wasn't belly up. Any input here? Is this normal for fish to do? Is there a time limit in the net? ( I took my time getting everything ready to try to calm down a bit ha) The fish was in the correct orientation in the net, not thrashing, out of the current and in low 50 temps so I assumed there was no rush to get her released. Thanks all

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First off, congratulations on your new personal best Musky! From the fish I've been catching, a 48" looks like a 60'.

It has been my experience that Muskies sometimes are in a daze after the release process. A simple tap on the head with your finger will often cause them to take off.

By your account it doesn't sound as if you did anything wrong. There are a few question I have that would help me guess what state the fish was in when you set her back in the water. Was the fish caught in really deep water? Was the fish bleeding? How long was it in the net? Did it thrash or twist a great deal while in the net? How long was it out of the water? Was it held horizontally the entire time out of the water?

As far as time in the net goes, I try to make it as short a stay as possible if I'm taking an out of water photo and zero time after the hooks have been removed if I don't plan on taking a photo.

If the fish fought like hell, it may have just needed a little time to recover.

You certainly did the right thing babysitting her. Always make sure released fish stay down before you return to fishing. If a fish won't stay down, try to steer it towards or move it to shallow water.

Pre-release preparation can help reduce the time a fish is in the net. Make sure you have easy access to your tools and camera before a fish is in the bag.

Every fish acts a little differently after the release process. As long as you do the best possible job you can releasing it, and you keep its interest in mind, you are doing the right thing provided that you keep its head under water during hook removal and you cut hooks not easily (and I'm taking really easily) removed.

Beautiful fish, Riley! The concern you infer in your report and your desire to improve your releases by asking questions shows that you care more about the safety of the fish and not just the glory shot, which, in my book, puts you well ahead of the curve among musky anglers throughout their range.

As far as I'm concerned the center of the proper release universe is our club. That might sound a bit selfserving and arrogant, but I believe it to be true.

Honestly Scott, joining this club has caused me to care quite about more about my release process. I was solo and therefor had to setup the camera and such and I took my time honestly because I figured rushing was in no ones interest.I would guess the fish was in the net for 5 minutes after I cut the hooks and placed her right side up.  

To answer your questions:

The fish was cooperative and cutting the hooks took a little longer than I would have liked but nothing major.  fish came at at 19' over 25' and the fight was quite quick. The fish was out of the water for exactly 24 seconds (after reviewing the video) and 2/3 of that was attempting to make the transition between in and out of water calm as possible (she was HEAVY) and held horizontally the entire time with zero bleeding. The fish righted itself against my efforts to turn it over after about 45 seconds of revival and she attempted to swim away several times before I finally let her go on a strong tail kick. We were in 6 feet of non moving water when released and she bobbed around the same flat. 

Maybe coming out of 25' she had to let her swim bladder adjust and was having trouble staying down?

Nice thick fish, Riley.  And clean looking, too.  Way to go & congratulations!!

Congrats on a new personal best.  I had a fish in my aquarium go into shock after a water change and we thought it was dead.  Laid on the bottom on its side for 5 hrs. moving nothing but the gills and suddenly popped up and started swimming like nothing ever happened.  It gave me new hope for a few fish that didn't release as strongly as I like.  I agree with you that being in this club has upped my care after the catch.

Great fish Riley! shut your headlamp off, it's blinding me!...JK

the pictures sure would have been better but you won't catch me reaching in those jaws without a headlamp on and turning it off after isn't really an option ha

Nate..that wasn't his headlamp.  It was the moonlight reflecting off his smile!!

Riley check out this Mark Thorpe video on muskies from deep current and swim bladder issues. Lots of info.

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