In accordance with the apparent unspoken law of fishing writing, the phrase “the fish of 10,000 casts” must appear at least once in any article about fishing for muskellunge. The problem with that cliché is that it reinforces the belief that a musky really is that hard to catch. That can end up turning away would-be musky-slayers who could be having a blast fighting these monstrous fish.
But muskies are not the fish of 10,000 literal casts—or at least they don’t have to be. Like their pike cousins, they are aggressive ambush predators that will eat anything they can fit in their massive, toothy maws. Armed with the right gear, some reliable advice (research is a must), and a few new tricks (like an underwater fishing camera), you can be landing trophy muskies in short order.
Know What You’re Getting Into
While muskies aren’t as impossible to catch as people claim, they’re certainly not like picking up bluegill off a dock. Be aware that succeeding at musky fishing requires a considerable investment in gear and research, as well as commitment and a good bit of patience. For those who go into it without doing their due diligence, those 10,000 casts could become a reality.
Know Your Gear
Muskies didn’t become the semi-legendary pinnacle of northern game fish by accident. They’re massive, bristling with razor-sharp teeth, and have a reputation for hitting hard and fighting hard. That makes for an angling experience no one ever forgets. It also means the rod, reel, and line you can use for bass, crappie, perch, trout, bluegill, and walleye isn’t going to cut it for musky. At the very least, invest in a musky-specific rod and reel combo. You’ll also want 65-pound test or higher braid line, and at least one or two musky bucktails, plastics, jointed swimbaits, and topwater lures that vibrate or otherwise make noise.
Know What’s Going on Underwater: Get a Camera
One of the most useful techniques for any serious angler that you might not have thought about is using a fish camera underwater. It’s a fantastic tool, especially for chasing difficult or elusive species, as well as for acquiring solid data about your successes and failures. Underwater fishing cameras, the GoFish Cam, for example, have been popularized as an opportunity for anglers to giddily relive and share video footage of big strikes as they happen. While watching a monster pike or musky rising like a fang-studded submarine to nail a bucktail is undeniably awesome, an underwater fishing camera offers much more. You can use them for trolling to scout huge swaths of water, check out the population of a likely hole, improve your presentation and retrieve technique to trigger strikes, and more. They can give any angler an incredible advantage.
Remember These Musky Quick Tips
Try Smaller Lures
While musky lures are often the size of a fish that a trout angler would keep, don’t be afraid to go smaller. That’s especially true in the early spring and late fall when muskies are sluggish. Something like a bass-sized rattling crankbait can be shockingly effective at triggering hits when the 12-inch stick bait is wholly ignored.
Remember to Figure Eight
It’s an oldie but goodie—end every cast with a figure-eight maneuver. It’s estimated that almost 50% of musky strikes in the clearer waters of the northern bay are triggered by the eight.
Where There’s One Musky, There’s Likely More
Finally, muskies are not loners as popularly imagined. If you get a hit or land a musky, keep hitting that spot. Your musky likely has friends.
About GoFish Cam
During a day of particularly slow fishing at a formerly hot spot, Brandon Austin had a
realization. He found that the most frustrating thing about fishing’s unpredictability was not knowing what was going on under the water. That’s when it hit him—what if he could see what was going on beneath the surface? From that epiphany, the GoFish Cam was born. Launched in 2015, GoFish Cam is an in-line HD underwater camera that will capture video to help you see more and catch more. It’s a dream come true if you’d like to gain intel on your favorite spots and find new ones, improve your technique, or simply relive the most thrilling moments of your favorite pastime. For those of you with an angler in your life, if the “gifts for fisherman” box on your to-do list remains unchecked, the GoFish Cam is a sure-fire best present ever.
Catch more fish, have more fun doing it, and relive every moment with the GoFish Cam, at www.gofishcam.com