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There are no guarantees in November.

High school football playoffs are one-and-done and the monster buck on your trail camera often magically disappears come opening morning.

In regards to fishing the old adage, “You should have been here yesterday.” is uttered almost as many times in November as, “Please pass the stuffing.”

And yet there is something alluring about donning the warmest of clothes, breaking ice just to launch the boat, and then battling the elements on open water. While there may be no guarantees in November, for those looking to catch a true giant musky there is no better time. With this in mind I recently teamed up with a friend and fellow musky nut on yet another adventure.

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Departing after work on Friday, the 5-plus hour journey seemingly flew by as every intricacy of the weekend’s game plan was discussed in great detail. Upon arrival to our destination we continued our debate over a homemade pizza at a local establishment before retiring to our make-shift beds in the back of the truck; while camping in a parking lot affords few amenities, one can hardly argue with the price.

Although my back was a bit stiff from the sleeping accommodations, I could hardly wait to fire off the first cast of the morning. Bundled up in my Frabill Ice Suit I was impervious to the morning chill as the boat roared across the still dark lake towards our first spot. My breath hung and swirled in the air like a wraith as I heaved my first cast towards the rock reef we had chosen to scour first.

My cisco colored Double-Dawg glowed eerily as it glided its way to boat side cast after cast, my eyes straining intently at its every approach. Aside from the splash of our lures entering the water, the only sounds evident in the pre-dawn were the rustle of clothing and the whirring of the gears in my Revo Toro.

As so began the routine as we jumped from spot to spot, varying the types of structures as well as styles of lures in an attempt to locate a big gal willing to visit the Frabill. The morning seemingly flew by and before we knew it the afternoon sun was already beginning its descent towards the horizon. Despite hours of fishing we had not seen a fish; after all, there are no guarantees in November.

Eight and a half hours of steady casting later and in mid-sentence while attempting to tell a joke I felt a familiar thud. After a solid hook set and brief but spirited battle we were finally on the board as a musky lay immersed in the Frabill Big Kahuna. As I cut hooks on the inhaled lure to aid in releasing the fish unharmed, I was glad to have the skunk out of the boat albeit a bit disappointed in the size of the fish. After a quick goofy photo at the insistence of my partner the upper 30” class fish darted off with a kick of its tail.

The only action from day one a distant memory day two began a bit quicker, with a similar sized musky t-boning my 10” Jake crankbait on the very first spot. Although our second day saw a bit more action, the only fish to visit the net was in fact the specimen from the morning. The sun having set literally and figuratively on our trip, we began the long journey home.

Although thankful for the experience, the aesthetics, and the camaraderie, there was still a twinge of disappointment to be felt in the truck. The radio a faint back-drop, we dissected each decision made the previous forty-eight hours in great detail, ultimately assured that our next trip would instead produce the goliath we hunted. After all, this is late-season musky fishing and as we all know, there are no guarantees in November.

I’ll see you on the water.

Read more from Joel DeBoer.

Joel DeBoer is owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures Guide Service. He can be contacted through his website at www.wisconsinangling adventures.com.

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