How two novice muskie anglers from the Netherlands caught a boatload of fish—and brought a whole new perspective to muskie fishing
#1 STUDY THE WATER
“Eagle lake is so breathtakingly beautiful,” says Biemond, who hails from Holland’s naval port city of Den Helder. “The diversity of depth, bottom composition and aquatic plant growth gave us so many opportunities to try so many different lures and techniques.”
So, rather than become overwhelmed by the completely different habitat, the pair embraced the challenge. And not only did they intend to try their hand at using local lures and tactics, they also wanted to see how the same tackle they use back home for pike would fare. In particular, they wanted to troll crankbaits and cast hybrid jerkbaits from Sybe Baits, a tackle brand that Mellema himself owns and markets in Europe.
Listening to Biemond chronicle the considerable differences between Canadian and Dutch waters only makes it all the more impressive the pair were able to put together a winning game plan in such a short period of time. “We don’t have muskies in the Netherlands. Our top predator is the northern pike,” he says. “Our waters are also murky with much less visibility, so the fish have only a few seconds to decide if they are going to eat your bait. The absence of rocks in our lakes also means that we can fish with much lighter tackle.”
According to Biemond, they catch their biggest pike—longer than 50 inches—in open water adjacent to features. “Our lakes are typically shallow, so we troll the slopes of the dredged waterways that are used by commercial watercraft. Our canals are also featureless, so we only cast lures around bridges, locks and weedbeds.” Different habit, indeed.