Go Deep to Catch Big Muskies

muskie fishing
Guide Rob Manthei with a deep-water Wisconsin muskie prior to its release.

Northern Wisconsin guide Rob Manthei has bittersweet memories of a big muskie he boated during the 2016 season. It was one that he still wishes his buddy had caught. “I was fishing with my friend Bob Walczyk for the evening,” says Manthei. “Two days before, I had been guiding for walleyes when a really big muskie chased one of the walleyes to the boat. We rigged up to try and catch him, but failed. I placed a waypoint on my GPS and that’s the first place I headed with Bob.

“Weather was moving in and we could hear thunder in the distance. Bob had recently had rotator cuff surgery and asked to take a break. I begged him to keep casting the Bull Dawg, but he suggested I throw it while he cast something easier, so we switched. I lobbed the Dawg and counted it down about 8 seconds, and on my first rip the muskie hit.

“My buddy was happy he got to net the muskie and see it, but it would have been better had he caught it. Poor Bob.” Manthei’s muskie was boated from deep water far from structure. Years ago such a catch would have been viewed as an oddity, but today Manthei relies on fishing the abyss to put his clients onto quality fish, with June and July being the best months. He finds muskies in deep…

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