David Fritz and two fishing partners got only one hit during a nine-hour guided trip last weekend at Pomme de Terre Lake.
But what a hit it was.
Early in the day, Fritz cast a large lure to the bank and brought it out about two feet. That’s when he watched a muskie fisherman’s dream unfold.
“I could see this huge fish come up behind my bait,” said Fritz, 53, of Lee’s Summit. “First I saw the wake, then I saw the fish.”
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After a short fight, Fritz had the 41-inch muskie in the boat, and the celebration started. Fritz; his son, Taylor; Taylor’s friend, Josh Jackman; and guide Earle Hammond all joined in.
The group measured the fish, Fritz posed for photos, then they carefully released the fish.
They went back to fishing and had another big muskie follow their baits but didn’t hit.
For Fritz, the experience only furthered his passion for muskie fishing. He got hooked on catching the big gamefish in 2013 when he landed a big one at Lake of the Woods. He and his son returned to Canada last year but failed to catch a muskie.
Nothing unusual there. Muskies are among the most elusive, yet most prized, gamefish known to fishermen.
“They don’t call them ‘the fish of 10,000 casts’ for nothing,” Fritz said. “I have friends who have gone to Lake of the Woods for 15 years who have never caught a legal muskie.
“I think that’s why I like fishing for them so much. It’s a challenge.”
Explore Kansas City
Kansas City will be the first stop in a series of programs put on by the Conservation Federation of Missouri that will give residents an idea of the outdoor-recreation possibilities that lie close to home.
The program, called Explore the Outdoors: Kansas City, will take place Saturday at the Bass Pro Shop and Stony Creek Inn in Independence. The event will start with seminar sessions on firearms and archery hunting in Kansas City, and a look at fishing, state parks, birding and camping opportunities in the area. Sessions will be from 3 to 4 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.
There will be a dinner, auction and keynote talk in the evening. The cost is $40 per person, with discounts for families. For more information, contact Rehan Nana of the Conservation Federation of Missouri at 573-634-2322 or send email to RNana@confedmo.org.
Urban fishing derby set
Urban kids from ages 4 to 16 will have a chance to cast for the big ones May 16 at the 10th annual Urban Kids Fishing Derby sponsored by the “Urban American Outdoors” television show and Kansas City Kansas Community College.
The event, which will be from 8 a.m. to noon, will be held on the pond at the south end of the campus near the conference center.
The event is free, but children must be accompanied by a parent or other adult. A $100 prize will be awarded to the youth who catches the biggest fish.
The derby will be limited to the first 250 kids who sign up. To register, contact Candice Price, executive producer of “Urban American Outdoors,” at 913-334-5177 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More kids stuff
Kids also can try their hand at trout fishing May 16 at Kids Fishing Day at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Mo., and the James Foundation’s Maramec Spring Park near St. James, Mo.
Both events will run from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., and will be open to youths ages 15 and under. Children will get free trout tags and will be able to fish in a designated area reserved for kids only. The events will include a free hot dog lunch, seminars and a hatchery tour.
The event is centered on families, but only kids can fish in the designated Kids Fishing Day zones. Adults can assist.
The Roaring River event will be sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources and local organizations. Call 417-847-2430 or send email to email@example.com for more information or to volunteer to help.
The Maramec Spring event will be sponsored by the Department of Conservation, the James Foundation and other organizations. Call 573-265-7801 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.