Daniel Masciantonio said his father always wanted to catch a muskie. He talked about it all the time.
“My father loved to fish and caught just about everything,” said Masciantonio, 65, a dentist who lives in Jeannette, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
More than a year ago, Philip Masciantonio, 87, came down with cancer. His son had planned to take him on a rented houseboat on the St. Lawrence to fish for the fish that eluded him all his life. However, the father was too sick to go. He died Nov. 17, 2016.
This past year Daniel Masciantonio thought a lot about his father and the fish he dreamed of catching. Then he read a book, “Fishing the Finger Lakes: A Complete Guide to Prime Fishing Locations in Central New York State,” written by J. Michael Kelly, the former outdoors writer for The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse.
In the book, Kelly wrote how Otisco Lake, the eastern-most Finger Lake, was a tiger muskie fishing hot spot. A tiger muskie is a hybrid, a cross between a muskie and a northern pike. To Masciantonio, it didn’t matter.
“A muskie is a muskie,” he said.
He contacted Syracuse area fishing guide Capt. Robert (Buck) Carter of Lucky Buck Charters and scheduled a fishing trip on Otisco to fish for tiger muskie.
Two weeks ago, Masciantonio drove up to Upstate New York with Bob Seihoun, a fishing buddy and fellow dentist. The two spent a night in a motel and were on Otisco Lake the following day fishing.
Masciantonio had a plan.
“I wanted to catch a muskie, bring it home and bury it with my father,” he said
The two anglers fished with Carter for several hours, casting Rapala lures. Masciantonio landed two tigers – one was 29 inches, the other was 34. Unfortunately, the minimum length to keep a muskie on Otisco is 36 inches. Both fish had to be released.
Seihoun had one muskie on his line, but it got off.
Carter took a picture of Masciantonio holding the largest fish and that’s what he brought home with him.
“The plan now is to bury the picture with my father,” he said. “Actually, I think he would have liked it better. He really didn’t like killing fish. He just loved to catch them.”