How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fishing: Saric knows a lil about muskie

By Scott Richardson

OK, so what can a guy from Illinois know about muskie fishing?

Plenty, if the guy is Jim Saric, a longtime friend of Hook, Line & Sinker and owner/publisher of Musky Hunter magazine, the foremost musky-related publication in North America.

Saric, 43, who grew up in the Chicago area, is taking his muskie fanaticism one step further in the New Year. He is host of The Musky Hunter, a new television show that will air starting Jan. 6 on Comcast SportsNet, Fox Sports NetNorth, DirecTV/Ch. 641 and Dishnet/Ch. 436. Check local listings for times.

Saric has proven himself a top angler for lots of species, including walleyes and sauger on the Illinois River where he has placed well in several Masters Walleye Circuit events over the years. But, his first love is muskies. The 13 half-hour episodes of The Musky Hunter will be strictly devoted muskies and nothing but.

It’s the fish he’s been chasing since age 12 when he went on family trips to Wisconsin.

“I caught my first one caught first in 1976, July 3 at 12:10 p.m. But I don’t remember a thing about it,” he laughed. “It was on a Dare Devil.”

Saric began guiding for muskies while still attending college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He has seven muskie tournament wins. He still guides while overseeing Musky Hunter magazine, making public appearances and filming new segments for the television show dedicated to the “fish of 10,000 casts.”

This promises to be great television. Saric and guests boated 60 muskies, including six over 50 inches class, while filming the shows that will air through March 31.

Saric’s career in muskie media began in print writing articles for several publications. He became editor of Musky Hunter magazine in 1993 and bought it in 1996. Along with Steve Heiting, editor of Musky Hunter magazine, Saric co-authored The Complete Guide to Muskie Fishing, which has a permanent place next to my recliner in my den. Still, Saric is no stranger to the visual arts. He has five videos to his credit.

For the show, he lured top sports cameraman Jim Lucy, winner of three Emmys, to do the filming. To get a fresh perspective, he hired editor Holly Lockley, who never worked on a fishing show before. Saric’s excitement is evident in his voice when he talks about the end result.

“I’m trying not to make it just another fishing show,” he said. “It’s not your daddy’s fishing show. The fast pace and great music bring alive the challenge and excitement of chasing muskies.”

Topics range from fishing southern reservoirs to targeting trophies, how to use a figure “8” and night fishing. Topics also include how to make your bait stand out in a sea of shad, summer tactics and more. Filming was done in several states on several lakes, which won’t be identified during the segments to prevent over-fishing and to emphasize learning over location. But, Saric did tell me visited Lake Shelbyville, Lake Kinkaid and Fox Chain ‘O Lakes in Illinois.

He expects to find a wide audience. Muskies can be found in 36 states, including throughout the Midwest. Most recently, muskies have been introduced to waters in western states, including New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Washington.

Program sponsors include Ranger Boats, M/G by Lindy, Mercury Outboards, Musky Innovations, Rollie and Helen’s Musky Shop, Illinois Pipe Trades, Beckman Nets, St. Croix, MotorGuide, Salmo, Musky Hunter Magazine and Farm and City Insurance Services.

For more information, visit

Saric is making Illinois appearances this winter at the Chicago Musky Show in Palatine Jan. 12-14; Bedford Marine’s Open House in Morris on Jan. 26-28 and the Extreme Musky Show on March 2-4 in St. Charles.

All Canada Show

A brook trout that might have broken the world record if kept was landed during the inaugural four-week “Fish’n Win” tournament hosted by Angling Masters International and “The Fish’n Line” magazine.

The fish caught by Tim Matheson of Manitoba, Canada, at Barbe Lake measured 29 inches in length and had a a girth of 21 inches. Estimates put the fish at 15- to 17 pounds. The International Game Fish Association’s current world record for brook trout is 14 pounds, 8 ounces caught in July, 1916. To claim the record, the fish would have had to be killed, which Matheson would not do.

No doubt, that fish and others will be the talk of the All-Canada Show at Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center in St. Charles Thursday through Jan. 14. The show includes 300 Canadian lodges, resorts, and outfitters, the largest gathering of its kind anywhere. Special emphasis will be given this season to the changes in passport requirements. Apply for the document on site. Times are 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 11, 3 to 9 p.m. Jan. 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 13 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14. Phone (630) 584-6300 for more information.

Scott Richardson is Pantagraph outdoor editor. Phone (309) 820-3227 or e-mail Read past fishing and outdoor columns and take part in on-line discussions at


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