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Summer resident lands monster muskie in Lake Bemidji

Steve Keeler of Naperville, Ill., who has a summer home on Lake Bemidji, caught this monster muskie recently on the north end of Lake Bemidji. Submitted Photo

Steve Keeler had just planned to try for some perch or walleye when he instead caught his "big one"

Keeler, who lives in Naperville, Ill., but has a cabin on the north end of Lake Bemidji, went out about 7:30 p.m. July 5. In his haste, he grabbed just his fishing pole and vest.

He was about 600 yards off the dock at the Bemidji Town & Country Club using a 6-foot light-action rod with 10-pound test line and an open-face Shimano Sedona 4000F.

After about 20 casts or so, Keeler decided to try to troll a bit. He got a bit closer to the country club's dock when he felt what he thought was vegetation on his hook. But, he soon knew he had something big.

He played with the fish for about an hour before he saw it.

"I had finally caught the big fish everyone tries to catch on the north end, but I didn't have a landing net," he wrote in an e-mail.

He also had no cell phone, nothing to document the catch.

He tried catching the attention of family members by waving his hat. And, finally, a neighbor came out in his boat to see if something was wrong.

After Keeler explained the situation, the neighbor, Bruce Pederson, returned with a landing net and camera.

Without a tape measure or scale, Keeler doesn't know the exact size of the muskie.

He had guessed about 45 inches long or so and about 30 pounds, but has been told by others that it was more like 48 inches long and closer to 40 pounds.