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8-year-old Minnesota boy snags 55-inch muskie on birthday

Jeremy Tieken, right, reeled in a 55-inch muskie recently on a Minnesota lake. While he got the massive fish to the boat on his own, his father, Daniel, helped him when it came time to lift the fish for a photo. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Jeremy Tieken has always wanted to go muskie fishing because he hadn’t caught one yet. That all changed Nov. 1.

He and his father, Daniel, went out on an area lake with Kevin Cochran’s Musky Guide Service out of Bemidji for Jeremy’s eighth birthday.

“He is very passionate and has a skill level above average for an 8-year-old fisherman,” his dad said.

So he Googled a fishing service and landed Cochran. They had planned to hit the lakes on Oct. 30, but due to conflicting schedules, they changed it to Nov. 1.

“We were out on an area lake all day with no bites, switching lures and tactics, and Jeremy was picking Kevin’s brain hard about muskies, habitat, bait, his boat, etc.,” Tieken, who is a Frazee graduate, said. “Towards evening, we switched tactics again and low and behold, my son caught his first muskie.”

And he didn’t catch just any old muskie, he caught a 55-inch long with a 27-inch girth muskie. Tieken said that even though his son is only 52 inches tall himself, he was able to reel the giant fish in by himself.

“After quick pics and measurements, the old girl was released,” he said. “We decided to name her the ‘ghost’ for her light colors.”

Some time after the catch, Cochran posted a brief story about the day on his Facebook page as well:

“I have kept this fish under wraps for almost two weeks. Jeremy Tieken and his father, Daniel, joined me for a muskie hunt to celebrate Jeremy’s eighth birthday. Jeremy is a second grader at Central Elementary in Bemidji. He loves the outdoors which is a rare characteristic of today’s youth.

“The weather was above average and the water temps were in the upper 40s. Fish were not located near the breaks nor the remaining weeds. We changed tactics and began exploring new water as the sun began to set.

“An hour after dark, the rod slowly went off and I handed it to Jeremy. Jeremy battled the fish by placing the rod on the gunnel and pressing his weight down on the butt section of the rod. After a minute of intense head shakes that would have given most men arm pump, I slid the net under her.

“During the fight, neither Daniel nor I touched the rod to assist Jeremy. I girthed the fish in the net at 27. I placed the fish on the bumpboard, and it measured right at 55 (inches). The fish carried the weight all the way back and was built like a school bus. The fish was not weighed.

“The entire experience was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my fishing career. As an educator and a guide, it was equally important to me that a young elementary student was the one to catch this special fish. After the battle, Jeremy sat down and said it was time to drink a juice box to celebrate.”

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