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Monster muskie

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Trophies for 12 year olds abound in the Brainerd area.

While Dylan Beach-Bittner of Motley was proudly displaying a 27-point buck he shot during Minnesota’s rifle deer opener, three months earlier Nick Franzen of Staples was showing off his own prize — a 58-inch muskie.

Nick caught the muskie while fishing with his grandpa, Jim Terwilliger, in August on the Crow Wing River below the Sylvan Dam.

The catch was Nick’s alone, Jim said.

“All I did was net it and help him carry it up the hill,” Jim said. “He did quite a job. Nick’s got the patience for it.”

Nick, an avid northern and muskie angler, caught the fish on a Double Cowgirl lure with 20-pound test. Nick and Jim were fishing from shore.

Jim said Nick knew he had a nice fish while he was fighting it.

“Pretty soon he said, ‘Oh, it’s huge. Hurry up and get the net, grandpa.’ I wasn’t in too much of a rush until I saw it jump out of the water. I was in a little hurry then.”

The 58-inch fish — 3 inches longer than Nick — was rushed to the taxidermist for mounting, Jim said. It won’t be Nick’s fist mount, however — he caught a 49-inch muskie the year before.

“We figured that would probably be the biggest catch in his life,” Jim said. “I hope he doesn’t catch one a little bigger next year. I told him next time it has to be state record before we keep it.”

MATT ERICKSON, Night Editor, may be reached at 855-5857 or