Muskie fishermen are part of a special club, as muskie is the largest fresh water fish in the world. And that special club is quite large, as about 10,000 muskie fishermen descended on the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates this weekend for the first Chicago Muskie Expo. The event, which began Friday, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
The event's promoter, Doug Reuter, of Madison, Wisconsin, was thrilled at the turnout. "We'll be back next year," he said.
The expo contained "anything muskie," according to Reuter: baits, muskie clubs, fishing guides and the latest boats from dealerships.
Muskie fishing is a catch-and-release program mainly because the giant fish are not too tasty. "The taste is terrible," Reuter says.
Because it's a catch-and-release program, the same fish can be caught year after year, identified by it markings or fin structure.
Shannon Lax of Wisconsin, an avid muskie fisher, sees the sport growing in popularity for women because of the catch-and-release mentality.
"I think there are a lot more women who muskie fish now mainly because it's a great sport and the idea of catching a fish, taking a picture of it and releasing it without it dying, and still having it on your wall as a trophy is a huge draw for women," she said.
Reuter said muskie is a good fish for the "tug and fight" challenge. "It's awesome."