We might earn income from the merchandise accessible on this web page and take part in affiliate packages. Be taught extra ›

Full disclosure: I’m not an skilled muskie angler. If something, muskies are the bane of my existence as a fisherman. That doesn’t imply, nonetheless, that I don’t have a deep appreciation for them as a goal, and that I wasn’t over the moon each single time I put one within the web. To this point, I’ve six muskies to my credit score, which by muskie-zealot requirements isn’t that nice of an achievement. A part of the explanation I haven’t caught extra is just because I’ve fishing A.D.D.; I’m so into selection that I’ve a tough time passing on trout, stripers, smallmouths, tuna, and plenty of different fish I like to spend hours casting for a muskie and (in all probability) not catching one. However over the past 20 years, I’ve hung out on the water with many anglers who reside for that punishment. I’ve the utmost respect for these prepared to work large lures till their wrists ache, and even after they fail to catch fish, rise up and do all of it once more the following day.

If you happen to’re studying this, I’ve to imagine that you just’re not prepared to leap into full-on muskie fishing torture. Possibly you’re fascinated by giving them a shot. Possibly you’d identical to to land your first one. Or maybe they exist on native waters you frequent for different species however you possibly can’t appear to get your palms on the elusive ‘skie. If that’s you, I’m greater than certified to assist, as a result of such as you, I dabble in muskies, which requires a special mindset than turning into completely dedicated to them. Mountains of content material have been created by muskie nuts all around the nation. It’s a rabbit gap of epic proportion, however earlier than you dive in, right here’s my sincere, no-nonsense recommendation for testing the muskie waters and getting that first one below your belt. After you do this, I take no accountability for the quantity of muskie sort out you purchase and time you spend pursuing them.

Why Are Muskies So Exhausting to Catch?

Muskie information Steven Paul releases a pleasant fish. Courtesy of www.muskyshopguideservice.com

Muskies are often known as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” and it’s a becoming nickname. In comparison with their cousins the chain pickerel and northern pike, even small, younger muskies merely don’t feed as voraciously. They’re usually extra selective about what they assault, much more cautious, a typically feed in home windows dictated by water circumstances, the climate, and even the moon part. The larger a muskie will get, the extra selective it turns into, making success a mixture of presenting a lure that fools these good predators and presenting that providing throughout a feeding window.

Massive muskies dine on massive prey like suckers, trout, small bass, and small carp, and after a giant, protein-rich meal, they could not open their mouths once more for days and even weeks as a result of their metabolism is slower than many different common gamefish. When you perceive what you’re up in opposition to, there are two angles of strategy the best way I see it:  You get nuts about monitoring climate and moon part in an try to pinpoint the right muskie window, otherwise you simply go muskie fishing when you will have time and don’t sweat the small print.

Diehard muskies guys are cringing at that second choice proper now, which I completely perceive. However what none of them can deny is that a great deal of muskies are caught 12 months over 12 months by those that don’t lose sleep over muskie fishing. In actual fact, a lot of them aren’t attempting to catch muskies in any respect.

To make use of my residence river, the Delaware, for instance, it’s loaded with muskies. In all my years fishing it, nonetheless, I’ve by no means caught one. I chalk that as much as unhealthy luck, however I’ve a bunch of buddies that catch them yearly. More often than not, nonetheless, these folks have been not muskie fishing. They have been throwing plugs for striped bass, spinnerbaits for smallmouths, or jerkbaits for walleyes. What this proves is that timing issues most, even should you weren’t attempting to time that feeding window; should you simply get on the water sufficient, you’ll end up in it will definitely. It additionally proves that should you’re there throughout a feeding window, you don’t need to get the costliest customized muskie lure in entrance of 1 to flip its swap. Nor do you want probably the most specialised muskie rod and reel to efficiently land one. So, let’s make the muskie nuts cringe once more and break down what I consider is a adequate outfit to get you began.

What Type of Gear Do I Want for Muskie Fishing?

I’ve seen plenty of massive muskies caught on gentle rods and reels extra suited to bass and walleyes, however I don’t suggest it for a number of cause. For starters, you’re going to need to solid bigger, heavier lures throughout a devoted muskie hunt, and to ship them correctly you’ll desire a stout rod. Muskies even have exhausting jaws and plenty of tooth, so a forceful hookset is often required to verify your lure stays pinned, and attaining this is able to be tough utilizing a rod with out sufficient spine. Lastly, for the sake of a clear, wholesome launch, you need to decrease the struggle time with a muskie. Provided that they’re nearly completely focused for sport and never meals, it’s frequent to see anglers muscle them to the web shortly to scale back the quantity of stress on the fish. A correct rod goes to assist on this course of.

photo of rod and reel for muskie fishing
Bass Professional Retailers

There are a great deal of rods in the marketplace particularly for muskie fishing, and a few of them will value you a fairly penny. Your price range is a giant issue, however no matter how a lot you need to spend, I’d suggest a baitcasting rod within the 7’6” to 8-foot vary in heavy energy. That is, in my view, a superb middle-of-the-road size and weight that can cowl the bases for boat- and shore-based pursuits and all kinds of lure types.

As for a musky reel, you’ll need one with a excessive charge of retrieve so you possibly can decide up line shortly if a muskie is operating at you or if you have to work lures at a superb clip. Low-profile baitcasting reels designed for muskies are bigger than these made for bass, as they maintain extra line and are higher geared up to deal with heavier line. Shimano’s Tranx is a well-liked muskie reel, as is Abu Garcia’s Revo Toro Beast.  

A lot of the severe muskie anglers I do know spool their reels with 50- to 65-pound braided line. It’s nice for throwing extra-large lures, and it definitely creates a greater insurance coverage coverage when a real goliath is on the road. If you wish to spool that heavy, go for it, nonetheless, it’s my perception that 30- to 40-pound braid is adequate generally. I’ve landed a great deal of 40-plus-pound striped bass on it, they usually struggle lots more durable than muskies. Lightening up your line may even make it simpler to solid lighter lures better distances.

photo of line for muskie fishing
Severe musky anglers go together with heavy braided line and a metal or heavy fluorocarbon chief. Bass Professional Retailers

The ultimate piece of equipment you have to fear about is a chew chief. Numerous movies can be found on YouTube about constructing your individual, a lot of them produced by true muskies aces. However simply to get began, there’s nothing fallacious with shopping for pre-made leaders. All you must determine is if you wish to lean on heavy fluorocarbon or metal. The previous is extra invisible underwater, which many muskie anglers consider helps them rating extra bites. However even in heavy diameters, you run the danger of the fish’s tooth biting by it. Metal is extra obtrusive and a few consider it dampens the motion of a lure, however when that lure will get hit, you possibly can relaxation assured these fangs aren’t reducing by.

What Are the Greatest Lures for Muskie Fishing?

The subject of greatest musky lures is difficult one. Not solely are there tons of makes and fashions accessible on big-box sort out store cabinets, however there are additionally tons of of smaller-operation customized lure makers with regional and nationwide followings. It’s lots to parse out, however earlier than you possibly can work out which particular lures will earn your loyalty and confidence, you want a fundamental understanding of the frequent classes of muskie lures. Listed below are what I consider are the 5 most essential.

In-Line Spinners for Muskie Fishing

photo of in-line spinner for muskie fishing
The Mepps Muskie Killer is a traditional muskie spinner, or bucktail. Mepps

Generally known as “bucktails” within the muskie world, in-line spinners are finally nothing greater than greater, longer, and harder variations of the in-line spinners you would possibly use for trout, bass, or panfish. These baits catch muskies nearly year-round however are usually most potent when the water temperature rises above 50 levels. All you must do is solid and retrieve steadily. Nonetheless, given {that a} muskie must chase a bucktail down, it’ll be extra apt to take action in hotter waters. Bucktails are additionally nice as a result of they permit you to cowl loads of water quick.

Diving Plugs for Muskies

photo of diving plug
Deal with Industries’ Tremendous Cisco Musky Crankbait is an effective instance of a diving plug. Bass Professional Retailers

Any diving plug within the 6- to 10-inch vary can coax a muskie to strike, even when these lures have been designed for fishing in saltwater. Simply keep in mind that muskies like to hang around in and round weeds, so diving plugs with a number of treble hooks are higher suited to deeper water, rivers with much less vegetation, or for late- and early-season pursuits when the weeds have died off or earlier than they regrow. These lures could be labored at any velocity and paused in the course of the retrieve, which is usually after they’ll get hit in the course of the colder months.

Muskie Glide Baits

photo of glide bait
Savage’s Gear 3D Shine Glide Swimbait. Bass Professional Retailers

Although glide baits have been round for a few years, they’ve develop into extra common than ever in simply the final decade or so. That includes a number of joints within the physique, these lures are designed to sway extensively back and forth underwater, gently “gliding” alongside. Some customized glide baits can fetch tons of of {dollars}, and the very best as soon as are balanced to sink very slowly, which permits them to basically hover in place when paused. These lures are prized for his or her skill to come back to life with micro twitches of the rods tip, although they can be fished extra aggressively if the muskies are charged up.

Gentle-Plastic Swimbaits for Muskie Fishing

photo of swimbait for muskie fishing
Savage Gear’s 4D Line-Through Perch is an effective instance of a soft-plastic swimbait for muskies. Bass Professional Retailers

These lures exist in all kinds of types, however what most of them have in frequent is a pulsing or vibrating tail. Gentle-plastic swimbaits could be fished at any depth within the water column relying on how a lot or how little sink time you give them. Nowadays, you’ll find ultra-realistic fashions that mimic nearly any native forage. Swimbaits could be reeled in steadily and even jigged vertically. A draw back, in fact, it that muskie tooth will do a quantity on them, however most severe muskie hunters are prepared to exchange them typically if a selected sample is scoring strikes.

Topwaters for Muskies

photo of topwater lure for muskie fishing
Suick Lures Muskie Weagle is a traditional topwater. Bass Professional Retailers

Catching a muskie is an unimaginable expertise. Catching one on a topwater lure is even cooler. To this point I haven’t finished it, however from late spring by early fall, when water temperatures are hotter, these brutes will incessantly come to the floor to smash a lure. In actual fact, some argue that in powerful bites—maybe when that aforementioned window needs to be closed—the sound of a topwater lure gurgling, clacking, or chugging throughout the floor could be so attractive even a shut-off musky will activate.

The place Ought to I Search for Muskies?

photo of muskie fishing
Muskies feed closely simply earlier than spawning, which makes the pre-spawn a good time to catch one. Courtesy of www.muskyshopguideservice.com

All the best muskie lures and sort out don’t imply something should you’re not placing them in entrance of muskies. As I famous, muskie junkies spend months and months analyzing patterns and seasonal actions. A lot of them hold logs for years that may be cross-referenced to residence in on chew home windows. That dedication and backlog of knowledge can solely be achieved with time on the water, in fact. You must begin someplace to start constructing your individual native patterns. So, right here’s a basic information by season on the place to search for your first trophy.


Spring is spawning season for muskies. Nonetheless, earlier than they get all the way down to enterprise, they feed closely. This time of 12 months, muskies are sometimes roaming round in deeper water, staying in shut proximity to baitfish faculties or faculties or spawning walleyes. In clear water, the 10- to 15-foot depth vary is a good place to start out. Work soft-plastic swimbaits and diving plugs in deeper areas inside lake bays and coves, or in deeper wintering holes inside rivers.

Summer season

If there’s one fixed all through the vary of the muskie, it’s that these fish gravitate to weeds. By early summer season, assuming crops like hydrilla and milfoil have grown in, muskies will gravitate to weedy areas in roughly 3- to 8-feet of water. All of their favourite forage species conceal within the vegetation, in order that they gained’t be removed from their meals supply. It is a nice time of 12 months to work a loud topwaters or bucktails over the weeds. It’s additionally essential to notice, nonetheless, that if the water in your space will get a lot above 70 levels in summer season, it is best to cease focusing on muskies. Although they’ll proceed to feed, sizzling water causes them to get overly confused in the course of the struggle, and whereas the fish would possibly swim away wholesome, the shortage of oxygen in summer season water typically causes a worn out muskie to perish.


Muskie diehards reside for the autumn. Because the waters start to chill, these fish realize it’s time to pack on kilos earlier than winter. They are often at their most aggressive now, and early within the fall, you’ll nonetheless discover them over the weeds in deeper areas, or areas the place shallow flats butt in opposition to sharp slopes. As fall presses on, these muskies will transition to deeper open water. This time of 12 months, any and all lure types are in play, together with topwaters on hotter days.


Barring the muskies that reside within the South, most northern muskies waters will ice over within the winter, particularly in key muskies states like Minnesota and Wisconsin. In lots of areas, muskie season closes in winter, however in others it doesn’t, and should you’re focusing on them on a river, the chilly months supply a higher-percentage shot at a hook up. That’s as a result of river muskies develop into very predictable in winter. They’ll transfer to any deep holes or eddies out of the present the place meals is plentiful, they usually don’t need to expend as a lot power. Gradual, methodical shows are key this time of 12 months, and chew home windows could be very quick.

Why Do I Should Determine-8 My Lure When Muskie Fishing?

photo of musky fishing
You possibly can typically hook monsters like this one proper on the boat by doing a figure-8 along with your lure. Courtesy of www.muskyshopguideservice.com

Now that I’ve laid a fundamental groundwork for beginning your muskie hunt, I’d be remiss if I didn’t temporary you on the figure-8—arguably a very powerful ingredient of muskie fishing to grasp. Ideally, you’ll make a pleasant lengthy solid and some cranks in, a muskie will hammer your lure. This provides you each time and room to swing with a heavy hand and drive these hooks in. The one drawback is that’s not the best way it at all times goes down.

Very often, you gained’t know there’s a muskie following your lure till it’s a couple of ft away out of your rod tip. These fish are infamous for following a lure from a distance, or typically showing out of nowhere simply earlier than you pull the lure out of the water. It’s essential that you just’re ready for this, protecting a pointy eye behind your lure till you’ve basically run out of room to reel. If you happen to see a fish behind it, what’s going to typically get that fish to commit is a fast change within the route of the perceived prey it’s following. Rapidly sweeping the rod underwater in a figure-8 sample, with only a foot or so of line popping out of the rod tip, can hold the muskie at boat facet lengthy sufficient for it to seize. If it does, instantly sweep in the wrong way the fish is transferring to set the hook.

These shut encounters are heart-stopping, irritating, and addicting all at one. You’ll kick your self while you botch one, however while you see that massive, white mouth open only a few ft away, it may be all it takes to transform you from a newbie to an angler with a life-long muskie jones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *