by Drew Hackett
There’s a few places you first think of when it comes to musky fishing; Canada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin come to mind. Paul Malm (a.k.a The Musky Guy) of Moville, Iowa has busted the myth that you have to drive long distances to have a good chance at this fabled fish. After spending a few years fishing across the country on the Pro Musky Trail, Paul finds that some of the best fishing is right here in Iowa. Paul says, “I have been surprised by the number and size of musky we have in Iowa. Although the fish in the river seem to average around in the low 40’s, there are many larger fish than that. My biggest that has made it to the net and been measured was a 51 incher. Caught here in Iowa, out of the local river. I have had bigger fish on, but have not put them in the net.”
Is musky really the fish of 10,000 casts? Paul’s numbers seem to indicate otherwise. He averages 20+ musky per year, a couple years ago he hit numbers in the mid to upper 30’s. Those numbers are even more impressive considering he was fishing on a part-time basis then. Paul says, “I am very happy with those numbers, but now that I am in the fishing biz full-time, we will see!”
The full-time business is called “Malm Fishing Services,” based out of Moville, Iowa. Paul’s guiding started as a side effect of being known for catching large fish. People were always asking him what, where, and when. Then offers started coming to take people out. People were loving it and coming back for more! After 30 years in the restaurant business, Paul decided to go full-time with this guide service. He offers half and full day trips. You can target multi-species; bass, walleye, pike, musky, you name it! Paul also offers ice fishing, bow fishing, kayak trips, and is a certified fishing instructor.
Paul started fishing as most kids do, on local waters with his family. Paul remembers, “at about 4 years old, dressed in my cowboy, shoot ‘em up clothes, holding up a carp almost as big as me! I even still remember catching that fish. West Fork carp. We did a lot of fishing on the West Fork, and many other places as a family. It was my mother, however, that was the one that taught me the most about hunting and fishing as a youth. There was never a lack of encouragement for the outdoor sports. I will always be thankful for the special feeling she gave to it all, and still does to this day.”
Paul credits his mother for his interest in fishing. So it’s no surprise that when his mother was having difficulty opening and closing the snaps on leaders, Paul designed a leader that she could easily use. What he came up with was a design you did not have to open or close – the spin snap. Slowly the snaps started gaining some attention from local fisherman and the ball just started rolling. Since then, Paul has come up with many new twists on tackle designs that seem to be catching on. Since there is nothing else like his products on the market, people are not sure about them at first. Once they understand the products, they usually come back for more!
Paul’s latest masterpiece, named the “All-Spring Bobber,” is a re-design of what people have come to know as a spring bobber for ice-fishing. The way most spring bobbers on the market attach to your rod, they put torque on the very tip of the rod with any pressure applied. Paul adds, “With the materials of fishing rods getting thinner and thinner, I saw this as a big problem. I could just see rod tips breaking from the pressure. Since I am a little bit of a fan of the laws of physics, I got out the pad and pencil again to see what I could come up with. The result turned out better than I thought it would.” All pressure and forces are directed down the length of the rod, not on the tip. As a result of the design, the All-Spring Bobber also happens to be a very efficient negative bite detector for those crappie bites and other light biting fish. The design at the end of the spring bobber is also unique in that it has an open end design. You can engage or dis-engage the bobber while your line is in the water. First of its kind.
Paul wants to remind everyone, “There are many changes happening with Malm Fishing Services. With the weather causing issues with the rivers from day to day, I want to re-assure everyone that fish and fun can still be had! The bass fishing has been fantastic this year, as well as the crappie fishing! Giant bluegills too! Did somebody ask for walleye? There are many smaller waters in Iowa that hold a bounty of great fishing, no matter what you are after. I am now offering bow- fishing services, kayak trips, and kayak fishing! As a certified instructor, fishing lessons and classes for groups are also available. So not just musky, but multi-species fishing services are available to suit your wants and needs! So let’s get out and have some fun!”
More guide service info and tackle can be found on Paul’s website: www.MalmFishingServices.com.