Putnam County Man Lands 60¾-inch Musky

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
An accidental catch is gaining Joe Gensini more fame than anything he’s done over a decade of fishing in tournaments.

The Hennepin resident, with help from teammate Paul Malone, of Iowa, reeled in a 60 ¾-inch muskellunge while practicing for the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit tournament recently in Green Bay.

He was fishing for smallmouth bass in 7 to 10 feet of water and using a homemade, one-eighth ounce, 1 ½-inch-long black hair jig when he thought the hook snagged on something at a drop-off.

He told Musky Hunter magazine he just felt a little “tink,” without much reaction until eventually the heavy object started to fight.

Since catching the fish, he received attention not only from fellow tournament anglers and Musky Hunter but also was shown on video and his fish appears on the home page for the Fishnstixtv Facebook site of hall of fame angler Bob Mehsikomer.

“This fish has caused quite a stir and I never set out for one of them. I’m a bass fisherman and I happened to catch a musky,” he said.

A very big musky, though.

The fish’s girth was 28 ½ inches. He said Mehsikomer and Musky Hunter estimated it weighed between 57 and 60 pounds.

“At this time of year, coming out of winter, it was a little skinny,” he said. “If I’d have caught that same fish this fall, it would have weighed 8-9 pounds more.”

The fish did not count as a record of any type. He was using 8-pound test line when he hooked the fish in Little Sturgeon Bay, between the cities of Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay. They used the trolling motor to keep moving with the fish and avoid breaking the line.

It took more than an hour to land the fish and he handed the rod to Malone near the end. He also later found out that in spring before May 20, when the musky season opened, they weren’t even supposed to land the fish. They caught it May 9.

“We tried to land it to catch and release the fish — and to get my jig back,” he said.

A couple of days later, Gensini and Malone finished 26th in the tournament.

He said they weren’t disappointed in their catch of more than 20 pounds of fish for two days, five fish per day.

“That fishery is so good. We finished middle of the pack in that tournament but the weights were just phenomenal,” he said of the smallmouth tournament that had a weigh-in at Sturgeon Bay.

The series also has some famous northern-waters competitors, such as Al Lindner and Bob Izumi.

He said it was his first time competing in a tournament there, but he loves fishing for fun on either side of Door County area either in Lake Michigan or in Green Bay.

Last week he and his son caught dozens of smallmouth in the 3 ½- to 6-pound range on the Lake Michigan side of Door County.

“It’s awesome. We just love it. My 9-year-old son just has a ball and I can’t say I’m much different,” he said.

Touring angler

Gensini, a 1996 Putnam County High School graduate, played baseball at Black Hawk Community College and kept playing in semipro and local hardball leagues until he was about 32, when he tore up his arm.

He said he started entering fishing tournaments because he enjoys competition. And his dad fished in some regional bass tournaments when he was growing up.

Gensini is a regular on three tours, pursuing largemouth and smallmouth bass. This year he has fished or will fish in New York, Iowa, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri.

He competes in BASS open and FLW Costa series events, both of which are pro-am events, where he’s the captain and guide for a partner who he might or might not know.

He and Malone travel together, compete against one another in the BASS and FLW tournaments, and share information and tips wherever they go. They’re friendly competitors.

“He’s one of my best friends if not my best friend. If I can’t win, I want him to win,” he said.

In Cabela’s team tournaments they fish together, which made the Green Bay tournament and the musky catch special.

“Typically we’re always fishing against each other,” Gensini said.

Gensini said he has had some good finishes in series points but hasn’t achieved a dream of winning a Bassmaster tournament and qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic.

Source: News Tribune