I had plans to go ice fishing yesterday, but, my intended fishing partner never showed up. I got up a 3am in anticipation of some nice hard deck action and got every thing ready. Alas, it was not to be. So, I did what any other somewhat obsessed angler would have done in that situation. I changed plans when it became obvious that the other one had fallen through. Since it's none too clever to go out ice fishing alone, I opted to head out to a soft water venue. I have this nice little place that I go to that no-one ever fishes. Although it's one of the few spots around these parts that is only 20 or so yards from pavement, in all the times I've been there I've never seen anyone else there. No wonder actually, in the summer it's bug heaven and in the winter, most folks have more sense than to go there. Now for the fishing part. I set up on the bank with my fold up recliner, tossed out some bait and relaxed with some nice hot coffee. After about 10 minutes, I got a take and went to set the hook, and nothing. Then I realized that I had forgotten that I had put on a circle hook. Well, I fixed that little problem and put on an octopus and baited up. The comfort of the chair, the relative warmth of the early afternoon sun, and the buzzing and droning vibration of the river current on my line took it's toll, and I dozed off with the rod in my lap braced up by my monopod bank stick. When I finally realized I had something on the hook, I reacted quickly and with a swing of the rod that would have made any major league baseball player proud, I tried to set the hook. The result was a huge bird's nest. I had forgotten that I flipped up the baitfeeder switch. Well, what ever had taken the hook was long gone. 15 tedious minutes minutes later, I baited up again and tossed it out. Then, I got a tug like I have never experience before. This time I was more careful and made sure I had the baitfeeder switch flipped off. Dang, a swing and a miss. Bait was gone. I put on some more Zekes and a worm chaser and laided it out in the same spot. Another tug just like the last one and dang if I missed agian. At that point I was perplexed and inspired to catch what ever it was out there that was toying with me. I put on a real nasty looking treble hook and sharpened it up real good. Baited and launched it to the same place and waited. Then the tug happend and the swing again. The battle was on. And a fine rod bender it was. For several minutes it went back and forth. That time I found out what it was. No wonder I had never felt a take like that before. It was a Musk Rat. Not having the appropriate gear to handle one of those, and not knowing how I would go about cleaning one, I did the catch and release technique by busting off my hook just below the swivel so as to save the rest of my rigging. I didn't get a photo of it, because I knew that one of those things would not just helplessly flop around on the bank while I took it's photo. Instead, I let it stay in the water and watched it swim down the bank.