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August 17, 2019

Submitted photo
 
Katie and Matt Lettunich celebrate their successful battle against this 48Ē muskie. The Lettunichs caught the fish while visiting their grandmotherís cottage on Two Sisters Lake over the Fourth of July holiday.
Submitted photo

Katie and Matt Lettunich celebrate their successful battle against this 48Ē muskie. The Lettunichs caught the fish while visiting their grandmotherís cottage on Two Sisters Lake over the Fourth of July holiday.
7/13/2019 7:30:00 AM
Siblings haul in muskie during holiday visit to Two Sisters Lake

Editor's note: This story was submitted to the River News by Tony Lettunich, father of Matt and Katie Lettunich. We are publishing it in its entirety with only minimal editing.



Two Sisters Lake, Oneida County, Newbold Township Friday, July 5, 2019

At about 8:30 on the evening of Friday, July 5, 2019, Matt Lettunich, visiting from Vancouver, Washington, and Katie Lettunich, visiting from Washington, D.C., went down to the pier at the Mackie Family Cottage at Two Sisters Lake in Newbold, to prepare for an evening of fishing on their grandmother's 16' Alumacraft Magnum. Matt tied a weighted jig to Katie's line (14 lb test). Katie was using Grammie's Pflueger 6' light spin/cast rod and reel, the Pflueger President 60/combo with an IM-8-graphite rod and a Pflueger President Reel with 10-bearing system. Great equipment for bass fishing and maybe a wandering walleye.

At about 8:40 they left pier in the Alumacraft using the electric trolling motor, planning only to go out 10 or 20 yards from the cottage pier. At about 8:43 p.m. Katie attached a leech to the hook on the jig and made her first cast on the light spinning rod and reel.

At around 8:44 p.m., on her first cast, Katie felt a tug on the line and thought she had a fish, but wasn't sure what it was. Within 15 seconds she muscled it to the boat, rod bowed over like she was bringing in a log, although she was sure it was a fish. They caught a glimpse of its outline, but she and Matt initially thought it was a walleye. But within five seconds it reappeared and they knew it was a muskie.

They were both stunned by its size and neither had ever hooked or even seen a live muskie. At about 8:45 p.m., Matt yelled, "Grammie, Grammie, Grammie! Muskie!" Kay heard Matt and called to the rest of us and we headed for the pier. About that time, a Fourth of July-filled lake also heard the cry and people started gathering on the nearby piers.

During the long nervous struggle to work the fish on such light gear, Matt coached Katie at every opportunity telling her to "PULL . . . REEL, REEL, REEL," over and over again, until the enormous fish tired.

At about 9:03 p.m., the fish rose to the surface but dove down just outside of Matt's reach. No, they can't lose it now! Within a minute it surfaced on the island side of the boat, Katie pulled the head to the left toward Matt, and he shoved the net under its head and heaved it aboard. They both yelled a victory cry as the folks on the neighboring five or six nearby piers whooped it up in support of the underdog and under-geared fishermen. Their family on the Mackie pier let out a yell reminiscent of the excitement when Aaron Rodgers threw the Miracle in Motown pass at the end of the Lions game in 2015. Crazy joy! They only had a bass net that bent, but held, and about one-third of the fish was in the net as he pulled it aboard. Matt noticed the jig was already out of the muskie's lip as it flopped in the net. Neither Katie nor Matt removed the hook. It was hooked to the fish with the slightest connection and fortuitously fell on the deck of the boat as the fish and net landed with a thud. Katie was securing the muskie as Matt grabbed the measuring stick, which stopped at 48". Katie yelled, "It's longer than the thing!", barely able to keep her composure. The fish stretched an inch or more beyond the end of the stick and they looked at each other in disbelief. Unanticipated mission accomplished!

Within minutes they arrived at the Mackie pier, which was only yards away (the entire drama played out in front of many family, friends, and weekend revelers).

At about 9:15 p.m., after pictures, gawking, more pictures, and awestruck congratulations for the improbable and successful end to what was going to be a quiet evening of bass fishing, Matt (a very sturdy 6 foot, 210 lb former college linebacker) labored to get the 40 lb beast over the railing and into the water. After a few minutes holding it by the tail and massaging it back and forth, its gills began to move and life slowly returned to the monster fish.

We watched it move slowly under the pier, around the pontoon boat and out toward the deep water, where it will hopefully thrive and make another fisherman, old or young, a memory of a lifetime.





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