Over the Fourth of July weekend, David Murdock, 16-year-old son of Chris and Cyndy Murdock, Baxter, went fishing with his grandfather Ben Murdock, Little Falls. They were fishing for northerns on the Mississippi river south of Brainerd.
Northern fishing was slow and with evening coming on David decided to try a No. 4 Mepps spinner in an effort to stir up some action. Ben had just said, "Maybe we should give up and go home," when David hollered, "I have a fish on , Grandpa!"
What at first appeared to be a snag began to run and take out line. It kept going, taking more and more line off the reel, when it finally rolled on the surface. A huge tail emerged from the water and the fishermen knew they were in for a long battle with a large fish.
Ben, knowing the fish would run all over the river, prepared the boat for battle. He lifted the motors, pulled in a stringer with two northerns, and checked to see that anchors were up and locked. He then controlled the boat with the oars, keeping it in calm water and away from the current.
Each time David got the fish near the boat it pulled out line. Finally he got it close enough to see that it was a huge muskie. When the fish was played out to the point where it was lying calmly beside the boat the two fishermen realized they had another problem.
How would they land the fish? The net was way too small. Ben leaned over the side of the boat, cradled the fish in his hands and tried to lift it, but it shook free and ran again.
They decided their only chance was to use a life jacket as a cradle. With Ben holding the life jacket as a cradle in the water, David brought the muskie to the side of the boat and on top of the life jacket. Ben squeezed it shut and hoisted the fish into the boat.
And what a fish it was! The muskie measured 48 inches and weighed 27 pounds.
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