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No fish tale: Favre snags a muskie

August 10, 1997

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Brett Favre, it turns out, is as fine a fisherman as he is a football player.

Or at least, he’s as charmed an outdoorsman as he is a great athlete.

The two-time MVP who led the Green Bay Packers to their first Super Bowl in 29 years last season recently accomplished what countless others have failed to achieve during a lifetime of trying.

No, not winning another football trophy, but reeling in a trophy fish.

While taping a commercial and fishing show on a small lake outside Minocqua in northern Wisconsin, Favre caught a 36-inch full-bodied muskie _ on his second cast.

Any angler will tell you that’s a 1-in-10,000 kind of catch.

And for a novice?

That’s like a golfer hitting a hole-in-one on his second swing ever, a gambler hitting the jackpot on his second pull.

Yet, Favre had no idea what all the fuss was about.

``He didn’t know what it was,″ said Joe Sweeney, Favre’s marketing agent, who was in a boat 20 yards away when the quarterback made his big catch. ``He didn’t understand the significance of it.″

Favre, after all, was fishing for walleye.

``It was no big deal for me,″ Favre said. ``Some guy was crying when we got back to the lodge: `I’ve been here 30 years, I’ve never caught a muskie.′

``Apparently, you don’t know how to fish for them, I guess,″ Favre answered.

Not only did Favre catch the prize fish on just his second cast but he did it with equipment normally used for walleye fishing.

Favre was using 6-pound-test monofilament line with no steel leader, and an eighth-ounce jig with live minnow. He was in a boat with John Gillespie, host of ``Wisconsin Water and Woods.″

``This is no lie,″ Sweeney said.

And the story gets better still.

Despite growing up in Kiln, Miss., a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico, Favre wasn’t the picture of perfection when it came to casting, Sweeney said.

``His first cast, he had the pole turned the wrong way and it flipped over into the water, he had like a six-inch cast,″ Sweeney said. ``I made a smart-aleck remark. And his second cast he flung at me and the line got hooked on the pontoon boat.″

Sweeney unhooked the line and Favre started goofing around some more.

``He said, `Aw, geez. I got a weed,′ ″ Sweeney recounted.

``And John Gillespie almost fell out of his boat. He said, `Oh my God! Favre’s got a muskie!″

Make no mistake, this is no fish tale.

``People said, `Were you down below in a wet suit putting the muskie on the line?′ Sweeney said. ``I was there and there is absolutely no way you can stage this.″

``Honestly,″ Favre said. ``I don’t want to start swearing or anything like that. I did. I know everyone thinks there was some guy hooking it on my line.

``But I would tell you if I made a hole-in-one,″ Favre insisted. ``I’ve never made a hole-in-one. And I play golf much more than I muskie fish.

``A hole-in-one would be a lot more important for me than a muskie.″

You can just picture that guy back in the lodge crying.

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