OKOBOJI, Iowa–– When Mark Harvey talks about the muskie he hooked while ice fishing Sunday, he gives credit to those who helped him get the big fish out of East Lake Okoboji while downplaying his own role.
He also knows a lot of rare things combined for a once-in-a-lifetime catch.
Mark, who farms near Goldfield, fishes a lot but usually from a boat. He wanted to be sure his party had some success so he hired John Grosvenor of Lake Okoboji Fishing to help with the finer points of ice fishing. The plan was to catch enough panfish for a nice fish fry. The panfish weren’t biting but a muskie was.
Harvey had tossed a small perch back into the water and dropped his jig in the hole when, by Grosvenor’s best guess, the big fish tried to eat the little fish and sucked in the bait by mistake.
Calvin Grosvenor, John’s son, helped Mark throughout the nearly half hour battle. With a small pole and 3-pound-test line, one wrong move and this fish story ends without a picture of a nice fish and happy fisherman. Instead, Calvin got down on the 2-foot-thick ice and had just enough arm length to eventually grab the fish by a gill and guide it up the 8-inch hole in the ice.
In the end the fish spent very little time out of the water. No one had a ruler or scale but estimates are the fish was over 36 inches and likely over 15 pounds. Harvey understands the muskies are rarely caught by those trying to catch one, which he wasn’t doing, and is sometimes called the fish of 10,000 casts. He admits his catch was a fluke, a fluke he’s more than glad to smile about.