Serious muskie fishermen are a lot like bass and walleye experts. They believe a sophisticated approach trumps simple tactics when it comes to catching fish.
That doesn’t seem to be the case for Tami Roth and her boyfriend Kevin Overley of Zionsville, Ind. who enjoy fishing Lake Webster several times a year.
Take last April, for instance. Tami’s first muskie – a 42 incher – came on a tadpole.
That’s not the name of a specialty muskie lure. It was a real 3-inch tadpole and it was rigged on a basic spinning outfit with 6-pound line.
Keep in mind muskie maniacs typically throw baits the size of LeBron James’ Nikes and on braided line strong enough to tow a boat.
Anyway, Tami planned an outing on Webster that weekend with two girlfriends and Overley. She bought bass minnows at Ye Olde Tackle Box in North Webster and found a tadpole accidentally included in her bucket.
“My intentions were to take him to the lake and set him free so he could grow up to be a big bullfrog,” joked Roth.
They rented a pontoon from Fisherman’s Cove where they always stay. Tami and Kevin started slinging big lures and making figure 8s in the water the way the muskie experts do. They never got a follow.
“Since they (Webster Lake Association) killed off all the weeds, we figured maybe the muskie went deeper and were after smaller bait,” she said.
Roth baited with a minnow cast it out, and then rigged up minnow rods for her girlfriends. While doing so, she noticed the tadpole in the bucket.
“The way he was wiggling down there I thought, ‘hmmm, that thing moves like a miniature muskie lure’,” she said. “So I baited him on a second rod for me and cast him into about 13 feet of water with a slip bobber.”
In less than a minute, the bobber began dancing away but never went underwater. She thought the tadpole was swimming around, but Kevin said it was a bite, probably a bass or crappie.
“I just picked up the rod and started reeling; I doubt if the fish knew it was hooked right away,” she recalled. “After about eight minutes of that, the fish came to the surface and we saw it was a big muskie.”
The muskie made three runs under the boat as Tami leaned over the side trying to keep it steady without applying too much pressure. She finally got it close enough that Kevin could swoop it into the net.
“The fish was barely hooked in the corner of the mouth with a little No. 6 hook,” Roth recalled. “I was lucky.”
The fish was measured, photographed and then gently eased back into the lake where it swam off effortlessly.
Bizarre? Well, Kevin caught a 48 incher from nearby Lake Tippecanoe on a 6-inch lure – while also fishing from a pontoon. Tami has also caught a 36-inch pike on a sucker and “nice” bass on a minnow.
“We’ll go out and try the traditional stuff for awhile, but if it isn’t working, we do our own thing,” she says with a smile. “But we don’t want to tell ALL of our secrets.”
She did share another oddball trip they had on Lake Michigan.
“We caught a 32-inch steelhead while fishing from a sailboat that had no riggings for fishing,” she chuckled. “We’re not afraid to try different things.”
And they seem to work.
R&B sets schedule
The R&B Bass Circuit has announced its 2013 schedule that kicks off April 20 at Webster Lake, Ind.
The remaining schedule is May 18, Tippecanoe at the Dance Hall ramp; June 15 at Lake Wawasee Syracuse ramp; July 20 at Randall Lake, Mich. Waffle Farm; Aug. 17 at Austin Lake, Mich.; and Sept. 7 at St. Joseph River, Benton Harbor, Mi. The Classic will be held Oct. 5.
Anglers pay a $25 annual membership and $70 per tournament. The circuit pays back all entry fees which amounted to more than $17,000 last year.
For more information visit www.randbbasscircuit.com.