How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Parma man lands prized muskie (Celveland area)

Friday, July 28, 2006
D'Arcy Egan
Plain Dealer Columnist

Mike Hwodeky of Parma would have a bad case of muskie madness if it wasn't for salmon and trout.

"I've been muskie fishing just about all of my life," said Hwodeky, who posted a career best last month when he caught a 33-pound, 50-inch trophy muskie while trolling around Leesville Lake. "I've probably caught at least 300 muskies, and have taken out a bunch of friends who have caught more than a few."

Hwodeky knows where you can find him in the middle of June.

"That's prime time for catching a muskie at Leesville," he said. "I can't remember a year when I didn't catch muskies during the second or third week of June there."

In August, he will switch boats and destinations. The Lake Ontario Salmon Derby is on, and he will leave his 14-foot muskie boat, the Trophy Hunter, in his yard and tow his 20-foot Sea Pro to the big waters off New York state. In October, it's time for steelhead trout on the Pere Marquette River on the west side of Michigan.

"I get eight weeks of vacation," said Hwodeky, 54, a carpenter and a warehouse worker at Giant Eagle. "Fishing is what I want to do on my vacation. I used to be more of a hunter, especially deer hunting, but now it's fishing."

His trophy Leesville Lake muskie fell for a hefty 8-inch Believer lure in orange and yellow with dark tiger stripes. The lure is designed to be trolled at 3 to 5 mph to tantalize the trophy fish. In June, Hwodeky heads to the more spacious portion of Leesville just north of the dam. He skips the weekend traffic by fishing during the week.

"My wife, Martha, often fishes with me, and so does my dog, Chelsea, a Yorkie," he said. "I can't leave the yard without the dog. She loves to ride in the car and on the boat. Martha caught a 42-inch muskie at Leesville Lake last year, and likes to fish for salmon and trout, too."

Hwodeky will cast for muskies on spring mornings. Trolling is the way to go in June, and Hwodeky has a secret system. He runs flashers and spoons on a couple of his fishing rods, gear that is generally used for salmon fishing on Lake Michigan or Lake Ontario.

"The flashers attract the big fish," he says. "On my muskie rods, I use 20-pound test for the main line and a leader of 20-pound test fluorocarbon line."

Hwodeky was fishing with his brother, John, of Parma Heights when he caught his trophy muskie on June 28. He almost always releases the muskies he catches, but not this one.

"This muskie is headed to the taxidermist," he said, with a laugh. "I've caught plenty of muskies, but this one was special."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

degan@plaind.com, 216-999-5158

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