Continued from Part 1
In early September 2013, I decided to head down and try the lake again. I would cast to my general areas. On my second cast, I saw some surface activity so I started speeding up the lure and jerking more violently when “Spot” finally surfaced. His nose was inches behind my lure, eyes wide open and creating a massive wake all while thumping his tail almost as hard as my heart was beating. I got the lure close to me preparing for a figure 8 when I jerked it one last time. At that second, “Spot” took his swing for the fences. I literally jerked the bait out of the strike zone. Some of my friends asked me why I jerked it, and I still believe to this day, jerks and twitches will entice an Esox to strike instead of just follow. For the first time in a long time I felt one of the worst emotions…Failure.
With my head hung low I took off and headed up the canyon to work not knowing what Mother Nature had in store for us over the next 72 hours. Two days after Spot missed my lure, I believe he and all of the other Tiger Muskies of any size were wiped out due to the flood along with the Canyons I just drove up. During the flood, I kept thinking about them. Some may say that’s wrong of me, but the truth is, everyone handles devastation differently. When life gets tough, I think about fishing. The Muskies were fresh on my mind so that’s how I kept my head clear.
So a little over a year later, here we are, still recovering from the flood. The area that I spent hours upon hours chasing Tiger Muskies is completely gone and not fishable. I have walked the area a few times and seen no signs of life. A few casts of disappointment has led me to believe that it was time to realize that day wouldn’t come. All the hard work, and time washed away, literally. It was time to start over.
Starting over isn’t easy when you have worked so hard for something. This summer I have moved a lot of my focus to other species and less on Tigers. Some of my friends told me to stop targeting them and maybe I’ll luck into one. Maybe I should’ve taken my friends advice a long time ago. Last week, while fishing for trout, I hooked into a small Tiger Muskie (15”) in the same water I used to fish for them. Emotions? Too many! I can’t even describe what was going through my head after bringing it out of the water. I looked like someone who had no idea how to handle a fish because of my adrenaline and excitement. It had finally happened. Sure, it wasn’t Slot, Patches, Hook or even Big Mamma (RIP BIG MAMMA), but it was a Tiger Muskie out of the water that “They don’t exist”. It’s true that there have been more stocked since the flood. But it didn’t matter at the time. I had finally notched the belt with a Tiger Muskie.
Now almost a week later, more emotions have set in. Is it because I am realizing that it wasn’t the 40” that I dreamed about in “Muskie Land”? Could it be because I wasn’t targeting them? My feelings are now telling me I got a small dose of accomplishment. It’s there, but not complete. I feel like I have won a battle but the war is just beginning. To win the war I need to raise the bar higher, not just catch a Tiger Muskie which is now accomplished, but to catch a Tiger Muskie that is worth bragging about. Once again the bar is set and its set high, I need to catch a Tiger Muskie that is over 38”. If it takes me another 10 years and another flood so be it.
I enjoyed the emotional roller coaster that came along with it. I loved the feeling of drive that pushed me to get up earlier and earlier and stay out later and later. Success and accomplishment is nice, but it tends to become an obsession once you get a good dose and just keep raising the bar. I guess that’s a part of our sport or anything for that matter. So get out, set your bar high like you set your hook, and keep after it. You too will love that small taste of success that will only push you for more.
anglerwannabe, CO 10/15/2014 7:24:38 AM
Great job Devin, you'll get a bigger one.
Devin Gelsinger (pikeNcolorado), CO 10/15/2014 8:06:37 PM
opencage, CO 10/16/2014 6:33:34 AM
Great story Devin, thanks for the blog. And you're absolutely right, it quickly becomes an obsession... :-)
Ajax5240, CO 10/16/2014 9:11:19 AM
Determination will pay off for you sooner or later! Keep after it man! Just be sure to get a picture when you land the big one, or it didn't happen. Haha
MileHighMike, CO 10/16/2014 10:06:58 AM
It's cool to hear the actual story from your post a week or two ago. Maybe your catch came from Big Mama never know. Thanks for the share. Congrats again for reaching goal