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huntnfish

Newbie Muskie guy

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huntnfish
Posted (edited)

Last summer was my first foray into the Muskie world. My 7 year old and I were out bass fishing (his favorite because of the casting) when he had a Muskie follow his bait to the boat. This wasn’t our first encounter with a Muskie. We’ve seen probably 8-10 in the last 3 years with one being a giant that was following my trolling motor while fishing walleyes.  After that last encounter he wanted to give it a try. I picked up a couple cheap Muskie rods and repurposed a bass reel with decent capacity and an old round reel I bought for catfish. I also picked up a giant net that I could also use to fish 2-3 drunk adults out of a lake at a time. I spooled my sons reel with 60lb braid because of capacity and mine with 80. I then sent a text to Scoot to pick his brain and hoped he’d give me a little insight into the world of muskies. He came through and even let me borrow a few lures to get started. I had no idea what I was doing and he helped a lot and got me excited about it. 

 

Our first time out i am casting out one side of the boat and my son out the other. We are in the area of the most recent Muskie sighting our last time out. My son is pitching a top water that scoot sent with me and I’m throwing a spinner. About 45 minutes in my son yells there’s one following my lure but he stops reeling. When I turned around all I saw was a boil in the water. I asked him if he was sure it was a Muskie and I could tell by the look on his face that it was something big. He just says yeah and sits down on the bow of the boat. I tell him to get casting again and get her and he just says not yet. I’m just going to rest for a minute. We didn’t boat any muskies last summer but still had fun. It’s a nice change of pace once the water warms and walleye fishing slows. I caught a handful or northerns but they were all pretty small. It’s crazy how anything that hits your bait when you’re chucking giant lures and holding a pool cue makes your heart skip a beat. 

 

Our first time out I realized that old reel wasn’t going to cut it with the low gear ratio. It was a lot of cranking to get any blades going on the bait I was throwing but used it for the summer on the half dozen times we went out. This (kind of) spring I’ve been thinking fishing. I normally fish walleye with some bass and crappie mixed in but I keep going back to that dam Muskie! I decided I’m upgrading my reel and going to start the collecting of Muskie lures. I had seen prices of lures but quickly learned that they’re also very proud of Muskie reels. 

 

I am partial to Abu Garcia reels for some reason and picked up a Toro Beast reel to replace the old POS that I tried out last year with a 6.4-1 gear ratio. I’m thinking I’ll be a little happier with cranking this one than the old one.  

 

I dont really have any question of any sort or looking for any advice but this warmer weather has me thinking fishing. Just sitting here thinking about my now 8 year old hoisting his first Muskie and hopefully me getting my hands on one as well. Anyone else ready for some soft water? 

 

Also, I’m thinking that the hardest part about musky fishing isn’t all the casting and standing. It’s actually finding somewhere to store that dam giant net where you aren’t stepping on it or your kid is snagging it. 

Edited by huntnfish
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Wanderer
Posted (edited)

The net is the third guy! 😅

 

I’m still considering myself new to muskie fishing too even though this will be my third year intentionally targeting them.  Last year I finally surpassed catching muskies on muskie gear vs catching them on bass gear, and well, actual bass I was reeling in.

 

The best thing you did was spring for a better reel.  Yep, they’re expensive but can change the casting and reeling game from enduring it to fun.  Don’t be afraid to pick up some used rods and reels to save some dough when you’re getting started.  You’ll figure out what you like and what gaps to fill as you go, just like the sellers did.  Doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with them, just preference changes.  Most of those rigs are well taken care of but should be serviced every 1-2 years.  I found a couple more used rugs this year that filled my gaps.

 

Going to the muskie expo on the 27th and looking forward to it!  I’ve finally made the turn from having no idea what I should be looking at to already knowing what specific things to get at the show.  Still lots to learn but gaining leverage.  After the expo I’ll start rigging for my June trip and a couple rods will be set up unconventionally for the lake we’re going to based on notes from last year.  
 

Welcome to a new addiction!
 

Here’s a couple net pics to help you feel better!  It’s nice to own em and be able work with them boat side.

 

050A621D-E54C-43BD-95E9-F51AC30DD271.thumb.jpeg.83a2c284b55eaf23cd65ed464db88353.jpeg2D90AC5E-1D48-491F-ABF0-1610C3635CBD.thumb.jpeg.8cd89aa0d1b868e71cdba2a6a1ada39b.jpeg

Edited by Wanderer
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huntnfish

Ha! I don’t think a third person would get in the way as much as that dam net.😄

 

I am excited to try out the new setup. I am sure it’s going to be an upgrade over the $40 reel I was using. 

 

Where is this musky is expo? I was warned that this musky thing was not something to get into but I’ve never been real good about following instructions. I’ve never been someone who chased big fish of any species but the thought of having something over four feet long on the end of my line is intriguing. 

 

I do do like the idea of that deep net. The pike we caught were easier to handle with that net. Unhook and you could dump them out. Or in some cases, they’d just swim through the webbing. 

 

 

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huntnfish

Also, and tips on the extra items carried for musky would be appreciated. I Have several long nosed pliers and also a side cutter for cutting hooks. Are there any other tools I should have in the boat?

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Wanderer

05086B56-57E3-4A43-8028-1D626E193403.thumb.png.4e5fa90378094262643dc60b4495e5f4.png

 

Tools?  Not only long nosed, but long handled will help.  The pliers and side cutters are necessities.  A pair of bent nosed pliers can be helpful.  File for hooks (a regular flat file works best), knife, rubber coated gloves are all handy for us.

 

Other things to consider: a large folding bump board, miscellaneous tools for working on tackle and extra tackle components like buck tail wire, extra blades, hooks, heavy duty split rings, shrink tubing, weights, swivels and cross locks.  Those are the things I’m working on building up stock of.  Making repairs or customizing for conditions on the spot can make or break the day.

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gimruis

I've been muskie fishing for exactly 20 years.  When I first started I used lower end tackle because it was all I could afford.  Muskie rods, reels, and lures are all significantly more expensive than other species-specific gear.  Just try to accumulate it slowly over time and when you can afford to upgrade your stuff, do it.  Until you can, you'll just have to make due with what you have.

 

The net does cause issue in my boat too because of its abnormally large size.  But I've learned over the years that it is a MUST when you do finally land a large fish.   Heck, a muskie net is even useful for a fish that's only 30 inches if you ask me because you have the ability to keep it in the net and water while you remove hooks.  I sometimes fish by myself and if I had not had a large muskie net I can say that I likely would not have landed several fish.

 

I will fully admit that I went through a very long drought in which I did not land a muskie.  It was many years.  At times I seriously considered selling my gear and giving up on it.  You will get impatient and frustrated with it, guaranteed.  Frankly, I would not try to get too young of a kid involved in it because of the patience, time, and physical toll it can take.  I'm still pretty young,  in relatively good shape, and I have top of the line gear and even I can only do it for about 4 hours.  I don't know how guys in tournaments can do it for 8 hours straight, multiple days in a row.  They must have bionic shoulders.  The most important factor that I would advise to anyone that wants to start doing it is to fish at peak feeding times or when you get ideal conditions.  Clouds, wind, moon phases, major/minor feeding times all need to be taken into consideration and will increase your odds.

 

Lastly, I don't know where you live but there are 11 lakes in the greater metro area stocked with hybrid (tiger) muskies and they are supposedly a little easier to catch than pure strains (because they are half pike).  They don't grow as big but they will usually attack smaller lures so you can really just target them with oversized bass gear.  I've done this for a few seasons now and have landed 12 of them the past three seasons.  It might be worth considering if you live nearby a lake that is stocked with them.

 

 

July tiger.jpg

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huntnfish

Lots of good stuff. Thanks guys. 

 

I do like the net and the fact that you can leave the fish in the water. It made removing the hooks from the small pike easier. The side cutter I have in the boat is just a regular one. I will look into a higher quality tool for cutting hooks. 

 

I have picked up some lures here and there when they’ve been on sale and have a decent selection of bucktails. 

 

I live in the western part part of the state and am fortunate that the lake cabin we spend the summer at is on a lake with a decent musky population. This allows for fishing when I feel like it and not feeling like we have to spend a full day out casting. A few times last summer we would go out in the morning after muskies and when my son would get tired I would move in a little closer to the reeds and he would cast for bass while I chucked out deeper. I was worried about him chucking the big baits at his age but there is an almost zero chance of me going out in the boat without him. All he ever wants to do is fish and will drop everything he’s doing to go out. 

 

 I hadn’t thought about checking the peak times but will definitely do that this year. 

 

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Wanderer
6 hours ago, huntnfish said:

I hadn’t thought about checking the peak times but will definitely do that this year. 

 

 Yep, some good advice above.  Fishing the peak times by moon phase is probably the single best way to tip the odds in your favor.

 

On our trip last year we saw muskies at all times of the day but caught only 1 outside the peak times for all 7 days.  The other 16 were in the window.  Pretty telling, we thought.

 

The more you throw the more conditioned you get.  My very first morning of a 5 day trip I thought I was in trouble and would never make the effort I knew I needed to.  Last year was 12-13 hrs per day in the boat for 7 days showed me I could do it.  Take a break every once in a while and have a lighter option to throw here and there, or a top water.  Even if you don’t think it’ll produce, if it keeps you casting you’re still in the game and have a chance of raising a fish.

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gimruis
13 hours ago, Wanderer said:

On our trip last year we saw muskies at all times of the day but caught only 1 outside the peak times for all 7 days.  The other 16 were in the window.  Pretty telling, we thought.

 

They're either on the bite or they aren't.  Its pretty much on or off when it comes to muskies and the lights are off for 90% of the time.  In a tournament, virtually all of the muskies are caught in less than a 60 minute window almost every single time.  Its not like targeting another species of fish where even when there's a poor bite you can probably get bit.

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