November 27, 2022
Whether or not the mega muskie caught by New York angler Cullen Veiders last month in the Great Lakes is recognized as a record is out of his hands.
To be sure, however, the incredible muskie caught Oct. 24 from Lake Ontario near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River was world-class sized, as reported on In-Fisherman, an Outdoors Sportsman Group sister brand of Game & Fish. The massive fish unofficially measured 59 1/2 inches long and weighed 58 pounds.
"But you aren't likely to see this fish in record books as Veiders' priority was keeping the fish alive, as is the goal of all dedicated muskie anglers," the story said. "The fish was released unharmed."
Veiders, 35, owner and operator of Musky Candies Customs is a custom muskie-bait builder who has number of 50-inches-plus muskies to his name. The enormous fish struck one of Veiders’ own designs.
"I’ve been working my whole career for a fish like that, and to have it come on a bait I built is the ultimate satisfaction," Veiders said. "These giant muskies are largely loners and seem to prefer feeding after dark—and most of the heaviest fish come in the fall. We do most of our fishing during that time. The specific lure was a Muskie Candies 10-inch Deep Sniper Orange-Belly Night Stalker."
Is It a Record?
Veiders says he took all the necessary steps to measure and weigh the muskie before letting it go to strike again. They used a calibrated Chatillon scale, and accounted for the weight of the net used as they tried keep the behemoth mostly in the water.
"We simply weighed the net hoop without the handle in it and it weighed 4 pounds," he said. "Then, with the help of my partners, we lifted the fish while in the net and documented the scale with a picture. I’m not sure if the weight will be officially recognized, but I know what we had there. A true world-class fish—likely the new Modern Day World Record. But we chose to release the fish, and I’m glad we did.
"The hoop weighs four pounds and the scale read 62 pounds, making it a 58-pound muskie," he explained. "But it was cold, and my phone's camera wasn't taking good pictures like I had hoped. Thankfully, there were several other anglers I know well who were fishing the area that night, too. They all came over to help and shoot additional pictures and video."
The history of muskie record-keeping has been dubious, with many of the old-time records being debunked or just not accepted as actual records. Because of that, the International Muskellunge Record Review Committee was formed in Hayward, Wisconsin, and created the Modern Day Muskie World Record Program (MDMWRP) that provides a place to effectively and reliably record modern record-class muskies, should an angler decide to take advantage of the program.
Veiders boated the brute after midnight, trolling an area where he had seen big-fish marks on his electronics. "The sun set, we looked at the moon phases and felt like we had a likely feeding window ahead. It was about 12:30 a.m. when we returned again to the area and I switched to a deeper-running lure on wire line to achieve maximum depth, since that's where we’d marked fish before. We were trolling right through that area where we dropped waypoints earlier, and the rod went off.
See More Photos of this Giant Muskie on In-Fisherman
“When I felt the head shakes on the other end, I knew I had a big fish. The guy I was fishing with and myself have both caught numbers of fish over 55 inches, so we know a big one when we feel it. During the battle, this fish suddenly stopped, and I couldn’t move it—the fish took complete control and ran hard. We had to take the boat out of gear and give the fish room to fight. Hands down this was the toughest muskie battle I’ve ever been in. It seemed like it took a long time, but it really wasn’t but a couple minutes. Then, thanks to an expert net job, the muskie hit the bottom of the net and we had it.
"I started shaking. We knew it was a giant. We were in awe. Speechless."
Big Minnesota Muskie Confirmed as Record
A week after Veider's big catch, another monster muskie was confirmed as a catch-and-release record in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources certified a 58.25-inch fish caught by Eric Bakke of Princeton June 11 on Mille Lacs Lake. The previous record was a tie at 57.25 inches, caught on Lake Vermilion in 2019 and 2021. Bakke and fishing partner Jon Blood caught the record while trolling with a footlong muskie lure. They were able to net, measure, photograph and release the fish in less than a minute, the DNR said.
"To be able to target and catch fish of this caliber has been one of the great passions of my life,” Bakke said. "In order to catch more and bigger fish you have to put them back: ‘let them go, let them grow,’" Bakke said. "This record should and will be broken in the next year or two if we all make the choice to keep all those big fish alive and swimming for the next person to experience and catch a fish of their lifetime. I’d like to say thank you to all of the people who have caught that fish over the past 20-plus years, took care of her and put her back. She is still out there for all of you to go try to catch again!"
Scott Bernarde contributed to this report.
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