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Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2007/4/25 10:02
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From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review


The timing of Justin Hrach's big musky catch also makes it unusual.

Hrach caught his fish June 13. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission statistics show that -- in terms of fish caught per hour on rivers -- September is by far the best time to be on the water. Anglers average about 0.7 fish per hour then.

August is the second-best month for river muskies, while June -- when river anglers typically get a little more than 0.1 fish per hour -- ranks third.

By comparison, April is the best time for catching muskies on lakes bigger than 500 acres, followed by August, June, September and May.

On lakes between 50 and 500 acres, the best musky fishing occurs in August, followed by February and April.



Justin Hrach is first and foremost a bass fisherman.

That's not to say he doesn't catch other species. He does, given that he loves being on the water.

But he doesn't catch many fish like the one he pulled from the Monessen pool of the Monongahela River recently. No one does.

The 28-year-old Donora man was fishing with his girlfriend, Melissa Asper, near the Monongahela Bridge, tossing a crankbait around what he had identified as an underwater hump, when he hooked into a fish.

From the weight of the fish, he thought he might have a big catfish. It turned out to be something else: a 53-inch musky with a 26-inch girth.

"I'll tell you it was the fish of a lifetime," Hrach said. "People specifically target muskies and maybe never get one that big."

That he pulled a musky from that section of river is not unusual, said Rick Lorson, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Area 8 fisheries manager based in Somerset. The commission stocked the area with muskies and tiger muskies throughout the 1990s and into 2005, quit for a few years, then resumed doing so last year after surveying musky anglers about where they wanted to fish.

It's not unheard of for anglers to pull muskies from the Monongahela. Commission waterways conservation officer Scott Opfer said anglers get more than a few from the Grays Landing pool.

Hrach said he has even encountered muskies in the Monessen area before, given that he's often there looking for smallmouths.

But a fish that large is without doubt a rare find, Lorson said.

"We put a lot of muskies in there through our stocking program, so they had the opportunity to grow. But you don't hear of many fish that big," Lorson said. "That's an impressive animal."

He estimated the fish would have weighed between 40 and 45 pounds.

Landing it took a while. Hrach -- who was fishing with 12-pound-test line -- fought it for about 38 minutes before getting it to the boat. It was hooked in the corner of the mouth, which accounted for its being unable to shear off his line with its teeth, he said.

"(Melissa) was almost afraid to net it. She said it looked kind of prehistoric," Hrach said.

The monster fish is still in the river. Hrach plans to get a replica mount made of it, but he never considered keeping it, he said.

"That fish is probably as old as I am," he said. "So, no, I only kept it out of the water for a few minutes to get a couple of measurements, then we released it back into the water. Maybe someone else will catch it someday."

Attach file:



jpg  HugeMusky-a.jpg (49.91 KB)
772_4e130e8fac2e1.jpg 450X293 px

Posted on: 2011/7/5 9:06
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime
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Great fish story - thanks for the link.

Kudos to the angler for letting this fish go. Just my opinion, but I'd respectfully doubt that the fish is as old as the angler. My guess would be a river musky that size in western PA would be in the 10-15 year class. Also, it may be the photo, but that fish doesn't quite appear to me to be 53" with a 26" girth. Nevertheless, it's a great catch whatever the numbers.

Posted on: 2011/7/5 10:24


Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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I dont know i think the lenght is about right the girth is sketchy. Im a "big boy" and i hold a musky it can look dam small even a big 1. He got lucky pegging it in the corner of the mouth. Anyother place and it woulda bin the 1 that gotta away fish story. The fish isnt prehistoric or even uncommon. Alotta guys catch a 50 its usaully on the bigger inpoundments Author, Conneaut, Kinsua, and the Allegheny rvr. But I 've never caught 1 that big yet. And a big congrates to the guy that hauled it in and a even bigger 1 for throwing it back.

Posted on: 2011/7/5 11:49
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2011/6/2 19:12
From Minglewood
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That's awesome catch of a life time for sure and nice to see he threw it back. Sad to see such a great story like this one and the first comment someone is calling bs! Oh well thats the way of the world I guess.

What a beast though!

Posted on: 2011/7/5 12:19
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2010/7/4 19:28
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That is a heck of a fish indeed, but i agree with paco, length sounds right, but the girth may be a little off. Nonetheless it is a heck of a fish!

Posted on: 2011/7/5 12:56


Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2009/7/2 9:43
From Curwensville
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yeah nice fish and the head on that thing looks big. wow, good catch!

Posted on: 2011/7/5 14:36


Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2006/9/9 20:09
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Dear Board,

He's holding fish on two planes, the tail is vertical and the head is twisted almost 45 degrees towards the camera. You can see both eyes so you are mostly looking at the top of the front half of the fish.

If he was cradling the fish it would look a lot different. Besides, that dude is a big dude and that makes the scale even more difficult to judge.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2011/7/5 20:09
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

Joined:
2011/5/30 11:48
From State College, PA
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WOW!! An absolutely massive, fantastic fish and story. I love it!!

To be honest, I never even pay attention to the "specs" of fish that people are willing to share. To see the angler and their "prize" has always been good enough to get me fired up to get back out there and chase my own, no matter what species or measurements.

There are plenty of websites that just LOVE to bash and question every letter that is written and especially every measurement on a fish that is shown in a picture. I sometimes cringe when I see someone has posted a picture of a fish that they caught due to some of the BS that is sure to follow.

I can say this...when I'm taking a picture of a fish that I worked my ass off to catch, the LAST thing I'm thinking about is whether all of the geometric calculations will add up when the pic makes it onto the web for everyone to analyze!! LOL

I just really dig seeing all the pictures and hearing the stories behind them. I really hope that the cynicism does not keep people from sharing these awesome tales. If so, we are all missing out.

I apologize for ranting to you guys. I have to say that being only a few years into my Musky addiction, I've just seen WAY too much of the bashing and questioning stuff to last me 39.537 lifetimes. I just don't get it I guess. I am certainly not anti-technology by any means. However, I sometimes wish people could just sit back and applaud rather than hit the keyboard and try to knock someone down for no good reason.

END RANT LOL


Jay

PS

I am not talking about anyone (or website) in particular. Just venting a bit. LOL

Posted on: 2011/7/5 21:12


Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2011/3/2 13:43
From Gamehendge
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I seen one bigger than that on Monday, along with 3 others that where from the 20" to 30" range.

Posted on: 2011/7/5 21:57
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime
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One of the best known giant muskies caught in PA in recent years is this monster caught and released by muskie master Howard Wagner several years ago (Allegheny River) - arguably our state's best muskie angler. This fish, for the sake of comparison, is 52.5" with a 28" girth.

As Tim said and I pointed out in my orignal post, pics can be deceiving and, whatever the numbers, these are great trophies.

Attach file:



jpg  pic2_wagner_musky.jpg (23.92 KB)
26_4e13c45037a55.jpg 351X285 px

Posted on: 2011/7/5 22:12


Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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Paco is now tyiing a full scale articulated french poodle pattern and heading out west.

Posted on: 2011/7/5 22:13
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2010/1/7 0:41
From "THE VILLE"
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Nah I dont like poddles or the french (including the french canadians). Im more of a lab guy. And buy the way triples is were its at now!

Posted on: 2011/7/5 23:29
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“If, when you pull a fly out you
don’t hear drums and can’t smell
chicken blood in the air, put it back
in the box, for if it is evil you seek,
then it can only be conjured with the
same.”



Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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Quote:

PACOFRANSICO wrote:
Im more of a lab guy. And buy the way triples is were its at now!


You know those are French Canadian, right?

Posted on: 2011/7/6 4:35
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Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2010/1/7 0:41
From "THE VILLE"
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Labradors were orginally bred in Newfoundland by English fisherman in the 1500's. Aint nothin french about my dog Cooper. But thats beside the point I rather talk big musky!

Posted on: 2011/7/6 21:10
_________________
“If, when you pull a fly out you
don’t hear drums and can’t smell
chicken blood in the air, put it back
in the box, for if it is evil you seek,
then it can only be conjured with the
same.”



Re: Musky- fish of a lifetime

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2007/4/5 16:03
From Altoona/Smoke Run
Posts: 734
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Have you ever fished the frankstown branch of the j? Pretty good for tigers around williamsburg.

Posted on: 2011/7/6 23:23
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