HUNTSVILLE — Tiger muskies are often called the “fish of 10,000 casts" because they’re so difficult to catch and for Clint Russell, of Plain City, that had definitely been the case previously.
However, his luck changed Saturday night at Pineview Reservoir.
Russell and his wife, Kim, were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary with a fishing trip at Pineview Reservoir. It rained throughout the evening and a bitter wind whipped across the reservoir, but around 7 p.m., Russell hooked into his first tiger.
After a short battle, he brought the 38-inch fish to shore and promptly released it. Elated to have finally caught an elusive muskie, the couple decided to fish for a little bit longer before heading home. As the couple began to pack up their things, Russell decided to cast his lure one last time.
“I set the hook and kept pressure on, but it felt like the bottom,” Russell said. “Then it started tearing off line.”
The battle lasted about 15 minutes. Each time Russell got the fish near shore, it would swim for open water, and because Russell only had an 8-pound line on his reel, things were particularly precarious.
Finally, the muskie made it into the shallows without fleeing. With no net, Russell handed the pole to his wife and grabbed the fish by its tail.
“We were both so excited and shocked to have landed something of this size,” Russell said. “We really thought we had a record.”
Clint and his wife weren’t too off-base to think the lunker was a record. The current catch-and-keep Utah angling record for a tiger muskie is a 49-incher caught in 2006. Russell's fish was definitely bigger at 51.5 inches, but with current regulations, tiger muskies are required to be released. The current catch-and-release record for tiger muskies is 53 inches.
After taking a few photos, Russell carefully released the fish back into the reservoir. While the Russells came close to breaking the record, it was mainly an incredible experience for them.
“It was a great anniversary I will never forget,” Russell said.
Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.