Three days before this past Christmas Dale Chesser of Lloyd and Bob Clark of Greenup launched their boat at the ramp on the Little Sandy River in Greenup. Maybe sauger or bass might be hitting.
They got s nice surprise because something much bigger than those species was on the prowl.
Chesser tied on a Silver Buddy, a metal lure first manufactured locally by Buddy Banks. It sinks to the bottom and flutters when you jig it up and down or reel it in quickly horizontally.
They were at the mouth of the river where it meets the Ohio. Chesser was jigging the lure when he got a strike that he felt all the way down both arms.
“I’ve hooked something big!” he told Clark.
They caught sight of the big muskie as Chesser held on and tried to reel it in.
The battle went on for several minutes. Chesser hoped and prayed he had strong enough tackle to handle the fish.
He did. The muskie wore itself out and he was finally able to bring it alongside the boat. Clark hoisted it in, whether by dip net or in his arms they did not say.
After Clark took Chesser’s photograph with the fish, they released it back into the river.
They reported the fish measured “well over 50 inches and weighed at least 35 to 40 pounds.”
The fish doesn’t look that big in the photo but I’m taking them at their word.
It was one big fish and that’s for sure.
OHIO RIVER MUSKIE
I’m not sure if muskie inhabit the main stem of the Ohio River or not. All the muskie I’ve reported on being caught from the big river were always hooked around the mouths of feeder streams.
With one exception. Soc Clay and his sweetheart, Wanda, were fishing the river one day several years ago when Wanda hooked and landed a muskie that well exceeded the 30-inch minimum size for keeping.
They were fishing from their boat off the Ohio shore at Portsmouth – quiet a distance from the mouth of Tygarts Creek.
If muskie do swim in the river then I should think there are some prodigious ones – maybe one that would set a new Kentucky or Ohio record for the species.
The Ohio record stands at 55.13 pounds. It was caught by Joe D. Lykins from Piedmont Lake in 1972.
It was caught from Cave Run Lake in the fall of 2008 by 14-year-old Sarah Terry, a freshman at Montgomery County High School. It was 54 inches long and weighed 47 pounds, beating the old record by more than 2 pounds. Scott Flat had caught that 44.38-pounder from Cave Run in 1998.
Sarah was fishing with her stepfather, Scott Salchli, who sometimes guided for muskie for the late Crash Mullins.
Terry said she saw the muskie follow her lure and duck under the boat. Salchli told her to run the lure in a figure eight at the side of the boat.
She did and the fish attacked her lure, a 14-inch gold and purple Double Cow Girl.
Sarah said she heard herself saying “Oh my god! Oh my God!” over and over.
“The fish was right at the boat, splashing.” She said.
Salchli grabbed the dip net and netted it.
The fish bit the lure in two and they had to use bolt cutters to cut it from the muskie’s jaw.
Biologists estimated the fish was 14 years old.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]