The Eye of the Tiger – A Fishing Tale

Written by Monte Hummel (Camper and Staff, 1960-69)

In the summer of 1962, Monte Hummel hooked this ~14kg muskellunge from a canoe near Freddie’s Island. The fish was stuffed and mounted on Birnie’s recommendation, and it has been with Monte ever since. Monte recently had his muskie touched up, and he got in contact with us to share the story of the iconic catch.

Hi Polly!

Ahhh… pre-camp, opening-up time, before the CITs arrive, just the absolute BEST time to be there… Small work group huddling in the kitchen itself for meals, changing helical springs on the cabin beds, solignum siding, sanding canoes, building the DGH with Andy [Hamelin]… And the camp bay is never more peaceful. Good fishing too (muskies in June!).

Give it all my kindest regards Polly.


The Eye of the Tiger – A Fishing Tale

First written July, 1997

I just happened to luck into this fish – virtually anybody could’ve caught this thing. Neil [Campbell] and I were out fishing for bass from a canoe before camp. I used a little daredevil, about an inch and a quarter long, red and white striped spoon, with little size 12 trout hooks, and 1 treble hook, and I had a 6 pound spinning line. It just so happened that as Neil was paddling, I was trolling up the inside channel, and I hooked this thing. First I thought it was a channel cat; it took us about 45 minutes before we even saw what it was, because it was a 6lb test line you can’t hog a fish like this around too much. I never got more than about 40 yards from the fish, the fish went up and down the inside channel. It went into Smiling Pool eventually. We really travelled a lot of country, and this fish was basically towing the canoe – I was just trying to tire it out.

About an hour into catching it, we actually got it to the point where it was tired enough that I cold roll it on the surface. Neil had this old landing net. We got the fish in the net, lifted it up, the fish bowed like a U and fell right through the net. The netting was rotten, and the fish was so heavy that it fell right through. Then it got all excited and sounded again. So now I was holding the rod, the line went through the net, Neil was holding net, the fish was down there. So we had to feed the rod, tip-first, all the way through the net while the fish was on.

Somebody went and told Birnie that we had a really big fish on. He got the Volvo, which was an inboard-outboard water ski boat, and I eventually transferred into that, because this fish would not fit sideways in a canoe, it’s too big for that. Birnie cut the engine and sat there smoking his Sweet Caps, giving me a little gratuitous advice. Then we finally got a gaff, slipping it under the gills, and lifted the fish, which was about 36 pounds, into the boat. About two kicks and the spoon popped right out.

It was quite an adventure. For me it was a very iconic experience. Having been raised as a fisherman, as a kid one the things you dream about it catching a muskie. They’re very rare. It’s like a rite of passage for a young kid to catch and land a fish this big. It was a turning point in my life! It was something I’d dreamt of doing – and here I was 15. It was an awe-inspiring experience. Everyone was going, “I’ve never seen such a big fish,” and all that sort of thing.

I don’t believe in trophies now, but there was no question in my mind that I was going to have it mounted. I’ve only seen one other fish like this, and that’s the one that’s up in the Dining Hall. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to bequeath this to Camp Hurontario.