Derek catches unofficial state record Tiger Musky (52 inches) and lands front page of Livingston Sports Section, August 2011

A day with dad and a 52-inch tiger muskie

It all happened somewhere in “central Montana”

By Tom Gersack – Enterprise Staff Writer

Any fisherman worth his salt isn’t going to reveal the location of a sweet spot.  So when I asked Derek DeYoung about the 52-inch tiger muskie he caught on a recent fishing adventure with his father Gordon, the younger DeYoung spoke at length about getting a day alone on the water with dad, landing a fish that unofficially topped the state record, and what the two did to celebrate the occasion.

But when I posed the question as to what lake he landed the mammoth muskie on, his response was simple and expected: “Ah, it was somewhere in central Montana,” he said.

The DeYoungs – Gordon, 61 and Derek, 31 – enjoy their time together on the water, whether fishing with a fly or spinning rod.  But with Gordon residing in Michigan, that quality time is hard to come by.

For the recent day trip, Derek thought chasing after the elusive tiger muskie would be the perfect way to spend a day with dad.  “I’d never been muskie fishing – we both thought it would be fun to give it a try,” said Derek.

At 4 a.m., the pair loaded the car and hitched the boat and departed for “central Montana.”  Once they got on the water, it didn’t take long for Derek to get a hit.  The first one got away.  But the second: All Gordon heard from Derek was “hooked up!”  It was the younger DeYoung’s way of loudly saying a tiger muskie had taken his Maps Muskie Killer Bucktail spinner.  That’s when the fun started.  Although it didn’t take Derek long to land the beast, it did give him a workout to remember.

“It wasn’t that long of a fight,” said Derek.  “But I did have to run around the boat three times.”

DeYoung, an artist who focuses on fish, researched tiger muskies before he and his father departed for the trip.  One of the things he discovered was a photo of the state record muskie, which measured 48 inches.  Right after he pulled his muskie out of the water Tuesday, Derek knew his was bigger.  “It was giant,” he said. “It is the biggest fresh water fish I’ve ever caught.”

They made an initial measurement by using a marker pen on a fishing rod.  They didn’t get the actual inch count until they lay a tape measure on the rod back home.  For the remainder of the day, one other hit was all the DeYoung’s got.  To celebrate, father and son stopped at a “little country cafe” and had a burger during the drive home.

And the fish?  Yes, it broke – unofficially – the state record by a whopping 4 inches.  DeYoung’s 52-inch tiger muskie is safe and sound in the depths of some lake in central Montana. “The memories are good enough,” said DeYoung.