Don Hechesky Jr., Just Browsing, Muskie
acrylic on canvas, 11 x14″ (27.9 x 35.6 cm), collection of the artist
The muskellunge, Esox masquinongy, a torpedo-shaped predator and the largest member of the pike family, is one of the most desired trophy fish in the Great Lakes region. The musky was named the official Wisconsin state fish in 1955.
Muskies reach a maximum length of over 5 feet. Trophy size is more than 50 inches. A musky can reach a maximum weight of almost 70 pounds. A trophy sized example would weigh 40 pounds or more. The state of Wisconsin has produced more record-size muskies than any other region and holds the world record at 69 pounds and 11 ounces. It takes the average angler 20-80 hours to catch a legal musky, but that doesn’t stop hundreds from trying each year.
The musky hunts by stealth, waiting motionless for its prey to swim by. Muskies are ferocious predators and will eat even other muskies. When a potential victim appears, they will strike, pierce the prey with their large canines, rotate their victim, and swallow it head first. GULP! Muskies frequently devour mice and frogs, and will also sometimes eat ducks and muskrats.
Madison, Wisconsin’s WIBA reports:
PETA is asking Governor Doyle to ban fishing of the state fish. Karin Robertson with the animal rights group admits they’ve tried to get other governors to do the same, with no luck. “Well our expectations is at the very least…that the request will generate interest in the fact that fish are intelligent animals…that they feel pain just like all animals do and that they deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.” Robertson tells WIBA news that fish are just as smart as cats and dogs with complex social structures. She claims fish can eavesdrop on each other.
I’d bet that minnows, perch, sunfish, mice, frogs, ducks, and muskrats would all oppose the musky fishing ban. Look closely at the above picture (by Don Hechesky Jr.). Just how much “compassion and respect” do you suppose old br’er musky is handing out?