Spring Musky Tips - by Craig

Many people (including myself) get pretty excited about chasing musky. I'm sure that even if you've never fished for musky, you've heard it's legendary reputation as "the fish of ten thousand casts."  Believe me, if I made ten thousand casts to catch each musky, I'd find a more "sane" hobby.  But with a couple simple suggestions, maybe I can help you cast less and catch more.

One of the best times to increase your odds of boating a musky is the early season. In northern Wisconsin (where I live), musky season begins the last Saturday in May, but you may be able to get started sooner based on the regulations where you live. In the late spring/early summer, the lakes have not yet met their full potential for weed growth and water temperature. The muskies have fully recovered from spawning and are eating like only a "top-line" predator can. Many of the bait fish are still spawning or at least hanging out in the newly formed shallow weed beds. The muskies will always be in close proximity to the bait fish. The outside weed edge is always a great place to start your search, but please note that I said START your search. If you've fished a promising looking weed edge for a reasonable length of time (let's say one hour) without at least seeing a following musky, start to move in and work over the weed flat. You need to cover the water efficiently and figure the fish out for that particular day. The aggressive fish will show you where you should focus.

Instead of using the 10" - 12" lures that I will use later in the season, I prefer the smaller 6" - 8" sizes for spring. I like using lures like small twitch baits or small bucktails. These downsized lures help me keep the baits above the newly formed weeds and let me work them a little faster and more erratic then I can work a bigger bait. And, just because I am using smaller lures does not mean I use smaller equipment. I recommend a 7' to 7-1/2' bait casting combo with no stretch super line. Could I use smaller tackle?  Sure, but my odds of landing a musky go way down.

These musky on the weed edge are normally quite aggressive, so my retrieves are aggressive. As I reel, I am constantly twitching, pausing, and twitching my rod to make the bait do an erratic dance. If you get a strike or see a fish follow, try to remember how you were working the bait and then repeat that retrieve.

You must also remember to finish each cast with a "figure 8" (or at least an L-shaped turn), whether you see a fish or not.  I can remember many times where the musky came out from under the boat, having followed my bait in on an earlier cast and waited for a chance to attack.

Musky season is short. This year, let's cast less and catch more!

Craig Mazurek - Fishing Forward


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  • 1/13/2011 6:40 PM hunting games wrote:
    where can i subscribe to the information or rss feeds?
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    1. 1/22/2011 6:37 PM Kurt wrote:
      You can subscribe via email in the blue bar on the right side of the page.

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  • 2/13/2011 2:59 PM Ben wrote:
    I'm still waiting for my first musky catch and it has truly been "the fish of ten thousand casts" for me.

    What has been most successful for you in catching muskies? Trolling or casting?
    Reply to this
    1. 2/26/2011 1:41 PM Craig wrote:
      Stick with it Ben! I would say that it might be a good idea to stick with trolling as much as possible. Trolling keeps your lure in the strike zone a much higher percent of the time than casting. Efficiency is pretty important when musky fishing. Good luck and don't forget to send us a photo of that first fish for our photo page!
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