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Gil Hamm: Day 1, 14 muskies

COOK, Minn.–Looked like a perfect day for muskie fishing today on opening day of the Gil Hamm Memorial Chapter Challunge on Lake Vermilion.

The clouds hung around all day and there was enough southerly winds to keep a chop on the water. After the tough, see-sawing conditions of the past several days, it was welcome.

And 14 muskies of 30 inches or longer were entered in the Gil Hamm. The longest was 50 inches.

The local chapter–Star of the North–entered four muskies, including a 49-incher to take the lead.

But not to worry, defending champs, the Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of Muskies Inc., is tied for fourth with one fish of 41.5 inches.

Well, the Grumpy Old Men team, one of five six-man teams from CMH, is tied for fourth on the strength of Paul Hortenstine’s 41.5-inch muskie.

I am part of the Grumpy Old Men. The other team members are Hortenstine, Steve Statland, Brent “Bert” Cunningham and twin brothers Bob and Don Roman.

The Gil Hamm runs through Friday.

My partner, Statland, nd I saw two muskies roll. Steve caught two small northern and lost one fish we never saw to know if it was a northern or a muskie.

There is an odd split in how muskies are being caught. Some are off the weed edges near deep water, while others are related to the reefs and rock piles.

Looks like another fishy day tomorrow before the wicked weather arrives Friday.