55 Inch Tennessee Musky

The Daily Times

Melton Hill Musky Guide Steven Paul

A Daily Times fishing columnist has broken his own state record by catching a 52-pound muskellunge, better known as a musky, surpassing the nearly 44-pounder he snagged in March 2017.

Steven Paul, a Blount County resident and fishing guide, caught the 55-inch-long musky on June 5 in Watts Bar Lake.

(Northerners spell the fish’s name muskie, but in the South it’s known as a musky.)

Paul said he began casting a Joe Bucher Glide Raider lure when he got an “extremely vicious” strike.

“When I set the hook, nothing moved — the fish was so large that it wasn’t even fazed from the hook set,” Paul told The Daily Times. “For a split second I thought I had missed the fish, but then I felt some weight and then it took off like a rocket.

“It took a while to get the fish under control. When you have a big one on, you gotta take your time,” he said.

After weighing the musky himself, Paul released it back into the water. That means the catch is not an official state record.

It has to be weighed on certified scales, which entails taking it to the shore and waiting hours for TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) to arrive, which is guaranteed to kill it. They have to bring scales from Morristown,”

“I am a catch-and-release fisherman, especially when it comes to muskies. They are a low-population-density fish, so you have to be a conservationist,” Paul said. “I thought it would be vanity to kill a fish to break a record I already hold, so it was released. That fish is out there swimming around no worse for wear. Might have a sore jaw though.

“I knew it beat my record and that was good enough for me,” Paul said. “{/span}I realized after the current state record that you could have the Pope witness your catch and there will still be detractors, so it’s not worth the hassle.”

Paul said most monster muskies are found in the Northern United States and Canada. Their finicky nature and reputation as hard to catch has earned the toothy critters the moniker “the fish of 10,000 casts.”

A 50-inch muskie is a world-class fish,” Paul said. “Getting one that is 55 inches long is a fish of five lifetimes. I was surprised by its length mostly. I knew it was heavy, but the length blew my mind.”

To see other record-breaking catches, visit Paul’s website at www.TennesseeMuskyFishing.com.

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Tennessee Musky Fishing 2019

Tennessee Muskie Fishing

Tennessee Musky Fishing

Tennessee Muskie Fishing Guide Steven Paul