2020 Rotary Al’s Musky Challenge - Day #4
The Monster of Vermilion “The Rotary Musky"
Thursday 8-6-20  (delayed update)
Hello Rotarians, this is Al Louis. Stand by for news!
I wore my Rotary polo Thursday night to honor Jennifer Jones and all the women of Rotary. Jennifer is a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, and she has been nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23. This will make her the first woman to hold that office in the organization’s 115-year history!
And now, the rest of the story.
We had a late start. A.J., his wife Ashley, and their dog Avery (our good luck musky dog) stopped over to catch up on the news with Brenda and me. Finally, A.J. said, “It’s time to go! It’s already past 6pm.” As we went down to the docks, Ashley screamed, “The boat is sinking!” (A.J. had taken the boat plug out on the way over and forgot to put it back in during the launch. The only thing keeping the boat from sinking at the dock was the motor).
Well, you know what comes next, bailing water, for the next 45 minutes. Avery looked at us with a look that said “I’m not going out with you two clowns tonight. I’m staying home with the girls and hope to get some treats.” So, we were off, continuing our adventure without our lucky dog.
Heading out, I was thinking about Tuesday night’s shutout and that I was dedicating this night to our first female Rotary International president and all the women of Rotary. I hoped they wouldn’t hate me if we had back-to-back “skunks.”
The night started slowly. 7:10pm, we were fishing a spot where a few big ones had come from in the past, when out of nowhere a monster appears as A.J. is finishing a cast. He circles the lure and yells “big fish!” On the second turn, the fish disappears into the depths. 7:30pm becomes 8:00pm, then 8:30pm. We had cast our favorite locations and we were striking out.
I suggest a spot. A.J. said nothing and kept driving the boat. Had our luck run out? He stops the boat near a small rock outcropping in the middle of nowhere. I asked, “what are we doing.” He said, “Throw at the rock. What can it hurt?” I shrug my head knowing he has fished this lake since he was three. I’m not about to judge the guy who has put me on fish for 8 years and has been responsible for me catching 42 muskies in that time.
Shut up and cast, Al. 8:50pm. Cast #1 nothing. Cast #2 nothing. Cast #3, the last cast at the rock, I throw it deep, reeling it in with speed. My favorite little lure is coming in from left to right, alongside the boat now, I start my circling routine. I’m looking down and “BOOM!” The Monster Musky of all time drills my lure. I quickly set the hook as it takes off with my drag screaming. I try to hold it tight, I yell to A.J., “Help! I barely have it hooked.” He grabs the net, reaches and nets it face-first! (A musky fishing tip: Netting a musky face-first is to be avoided. If the hooks get caught on the outside of the net guess what happens? You could lose the fish.)  But for us, in this instance, it was the only choice.
History was made Thursday night. It was my fourth career 50” musky, the landmark length some call the “holy grail of muskies.” And, this one wasn’t just 50” long, this musky had a girth of almost 27” and would weigh in at an estimated 48.25 pounds.
Musky #3 will now be known as “THE ROTARY MUSKY!” Dedicated to the first woman to soon become our Rotary International President for the years 2022-23 and with her, all of the women of Rotary worldwide!
Stay tuned… heading out Tuesday 8/11 to chase more Monster Muskies!
We appreciate everyone’s support and please keep the donations coming! Pledge or donate here: https://rotarycluboflacrosse.org/page/al-s-musky-challenge/
Al's Musky Challenge, benefitting New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers, Inc. Mobile Meals of La Crosse Gateway Area Council, Boy Scouts of America La Crosse Public Education Foundation and Family & Children's Center.





2020 Rotary Al’s Musky Challenge - DAY #3 "The Night of the Skunk"

8-4-20 (delayed update)

A.J. and I left the docks later than usual, around 6 pm., with total confidence that I would be putting a fish in the net for a 3rd consecutive outing. Boy were we wrong! We motored all over the lake to many of our favorite spots that had produced muskies over the past 8 years. We made hundreds of casts using bucktails with blades, top water plugs, huge rubber lures and every other type of lure you could imagine. The result, two fishermen that were worn out and tired. As the clock struck 10pm we retired from the field of play,it was official, it was “the night of the skunk.” Vermilion had pitched a shutout.

Stay tuned...heading out Thursday 8/6 to chase more Monster Muskies!  UPDATE ON Day 4 coming!!!

Oktoberfest Fish
$1000 from one Oktoberfest Member!
Wearing a Cub's Jersey one pledge went from $250 to $500!!
Today - July 28th.....starts the 2020 Rotary Al Louis Musky Challenge to benefit five local charities (official start time: 4:30 PM)!   Al's wife Brenda (pictured) has been given a new nickname: she will be referred to during the rest of the trip as "The Masked Walleye Slayer" and will be rooting Al and Al's Musky fishing partner Andrew "A.J" Judnick on—and, of course, serenading them with Oktoberfest cheer—Prost!
Catch from 2019
Local Rotarian Launches Unique Fundraiser Benefiting Local Nonprofits:
Al’s Musky Challenge
La Crosse, WI – For one local Rotarian, landing a monster musky isn’t just about the thrill of the chase, it’s about giving back to our community. From July 26 through August 28th, for every musky Al Louis catches during a fishing trip at Lake Vermilion in Minnesota, he will be donating $100 to the Al’s Musky Challenge fundraiser. He is challenging fellow Rotarians and community members to pledge—or contribute a set amount—as well.
The fundraiser is benefiting local nonprofits, with Mobile Meals - Guardian Angel Fund; Gateway Area Council, BSA - Fall Cub Camp; La Crosse Public Education Foundation - Random Acts of Kindness; and Family and Children's Center - Chrome Book Project each receiving $1,000; and the New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers’ Stewards of Children Training program receiving the remaining amount. “One in 10 children are sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. That’s a horrifying statistic! The Stewards of Children program that New Horizons offers the community teaches people how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse,” says Patty Nuttleman, Development Director at New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers, Inc.
To date, over $21,000 has already been pledged, and the Lake Havasu Rotary Club (of which Al is also a member) has agreed to match up to $1,000. Anyone donating $50 or more will receive a bronze Rotary Centennial coin.  Louis's goal was to raise $20,000.....he has now changed his goal to $40,000!!!   He has received $21,000 to date in checks and pledges.....and he hasn't even wet his line yet!!!  
“COVID-19 has forced many of these groups to either cancel or delay their annual fundraising events. Help us exceed our goal of raising $20,000 to help support these five important non-profits that play a vital role in serving the Coulee Region,” says Al Louis, owner of Designing Jewelers in downtown La Crosse and a four-year member of the Downtown Rotary Club of La Crosse.
Last year Al’s Musky Challenge raised $4,000 which benefitted the 2019 Diaper Drive for The Parenting Place.
Pledges per fish can be made by completing this Google Form with payment options and a one-time gift can be submitted online at https://app.donorview.com/GZwX9.