Final Day Big Muskies Highlight Canada Musky School

Brothers Steve and John Biro, and the father-son team of Michael and Jack Redmond, had been confounded all week by big muskies that had followed their baits but wouldn’t hit. On the morning of the last day of their trip, both boats exacted some payback.

The Biros — Steve from Palatine, Illinois, and John from St. Germain, Wisconsin, caught muskies measuring 49 1/2 inches and 48 inches an hour apart. During the same big fish window and fishing not far away, Michael Redmond caught his personal-best musky, a 49-incher.

Steve Biro’s musky proved to be the largest caught by a student during the University of Esox Canada Musky Adventure school held in July at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island Camp on Lake of the Woods. He received the school’s Big Musky Award.

Steve Biro caught his musky at 9:15 in the morning of the final day on a Spanky bucktail, and his brother’s fish hit a Double Cowgirl in a figure-8. “But we didn’t get the big ones,” said Steve Biro. “There were at least two bigger and they just kept following all week. Every spot on that island seemed to hold a big fish.”

Redmond, of Monee, Illinois, caught his musky at 8:45 that morning on a Shallow Invader.

“It was terrific to see these guys succeed on the final day,” said Musky Hunter Editor and TV show host Jim Saric, who emceed the event. “This is why we call it ‘musky hunting’. You fish good spots, you locate big fish, and you keep going back to them periodically until you can get them to bite. Then you catch them!”

Students from five states and Ontario joined the University of Esox staff. Fifteen hours of seminars were wrapped around a week of musky fishing, and the students responded with 87 muskies, including 43 that measured at least 40 inches. Twenty muskies measured 45 inches or longer.

Reports before the school were that high water and cool spring conditions were causing a difficult bite on Lake of the Woods. “Our information-sharing format was huge during this week,” Saric said. “We saw at least three different patterns during the week, and how the fish responded to our presentations was an ever-changing process. But we got things dialed in as the week progressed, and 45 of the 87 muskies — and many of the big ones — were caught during the final two days.”

The school’s Top ’Lunge award was presented to Bob Steenrod of Littleton, Colorado, who caught nine muskies during the week. His top fish was a 41-incher. Rob Kivela of Marquette, Michigan, was next in line with seven fish, including a 44-incher as his largest, which tied his personal best.

The largest musky of the week was a 53-incher caught by MHM Managing Editor Steve Heiting on a Double Cowgirl while filming an episode of The Musky Hunter with Saric. The show will air during the spring of 2015.

Other students and staff who caught muskies measuring at least 45 inches were: John Cowan of Mississauga, Ontario, 49 inches on a Handle Barz bucktail; Saric, 49, 48 and 46 inches on Double Cowgirls; guide John Vieau, 48 inches on a Mepps Double Blade Musky Marabou; instructor Kevin Schmidt, 47 inches on a Mepps H210, 47 inches on a Mepps Mepps Double Blade Musky Marabou, and 45 inches on a Shallow Invader; Heiting, 47 inches and 45 inches, both on Mepps H210’s; Brandon Sandy, 46 inches on a Crane; Bill Bero of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 46 inches and 45 inches, both on Mepps Double Blade Musky Marabous; Eddie O’Neill of Dwight, Illinois, 45 inches on a Double Cowgirl; Dick Meyers of Vernon Hills, Illinois, 45 inches (first musky) on a Shallow Invader; and Jim Ordway of Hartland, Wisconsin, 45 inches (personal best) on a Beast Teaser.

Bucktails produced 53 muskies during the week and minnowbaits caught 23. The top bucktails were Double Cowgirls, Mepps H210s and Mepps Double Blade Musky Marabous, while the best-producing minnowbait was the Shallow Invader.

The University of Esox will return to Sandy’s Blackhawk Island the week of July 18-25, 2015. “Bill and Cindy Sandy and their family run an incredible resort,” said Heiting. “First-rate cabins, food and service, in the middle of one of the best musky lakes in the world. I can’t wait to get back.” Watch Musky Hunter for details.

Steve Heiting

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