There’s a new world-record muskie on the books. Earlier this year, the International Game Fish Association certified Derek Balmas’ 53.15-inch muskie as the new all-tackle length record for the species. Balmas caught and released the trophy muskie while fishing the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York on Nov. 8.
A fishing guide on the St. Lawrence, Balmas was supposed to be leading a trip for Water Wolf Charters that day, but his client cancelled. He decided to go fishing anyways and called up his friend Mike Muehelemann, who’d never caught a muskie before.
After setting out from the ramp in Clayton that afternoon, the two put out six lines and started trolling. They found fish soon enough, landing a 48-inch muskie and a 35-incher within the first couple hours. Then, around 3 p.m., something hammered one of their eight-inch diving plugs.
“When it hit, we didn’t know if we had weeds on the board or…