How many times have we all left the water after a tough muskie hunt thinking, “wow… I couldn’t even raise a single fish to the boat!” The answer to that question is MANY TIMES! It is the nature of our sport and the fact that we are chasing the most challenging freshwater fish to catch in the world. But, with the advent of Side Imaging technology, all of this is now changing in incredible ways! I no longer count the total number of muskie follows by just the ones I saw PHYSICALLY chase a lure to the boat but instead I now include the ones I see on the computer screen too! And these “SI” follows, as I call them, are just as valuable as seeing one with your own eyes.
One of the numerous sayings I use to stress in the fishing classes I held in the Chicago-land area for 41-years was, “if you are not one step ahead, you are usually one step behind”. What this boils down to is those who follow the pack are usually behind on what’s really happening. By the time you get wind of a hot lake or new technique, most of the “damage” has already been done. If you fish like the average angler your results with be…just average. If you want to stand out and be a head of the masses, try to think “outside the box” as much as possible. What does that exactly mean? It can mean evaluating a situation and thinking of a better solution or presentation, or doing something different. Often, it’s something the muskies haven’t seen before.
The Dog Days of Summer have arrived, ushering in a sweltering summer that has water temps running in the red. With many lakes in Wisconsin already reporting surface temps in the high 70’s prior to July 1st, the trajectory towards higher water temps looks all but guaranteed. Most years this would be of little to no concern as much of the musky angling pressure in July and August are laser focused on Canadian waters, but as we all know 2020 is far from normal. With the extended closure of the Canadian border, Wisconsin and Minnesota now must absorb most of the pressure from the “Musky Fishing Tourists”. This combination of increased fishing pressure and extreme surface temps could be a recipe for disaster according to conventional musky knowledge.
The Figure Eight. Most Musky fishermen and women are intimately familiar with this term for the boat side maneuver to trigger muskies. The Figure Eight maneuver is absolutely critical to improving your overall catch rates each year. In this article I am going to break down the Figure Eight in detail and offer some great advice to improve your boat side catches. It’s a major accomplishment to bring a big musky to the boat. You have placed your boat in the right place and made a great cast, and now a nice musky comes screaming in behind your lure. Use these tips to help get that fish in the net.
When musky anglers refer to the term jerkbait, we think of lures like the Suick, Bobbie Bait, Reef Hawg, GlideRaider and such. Yet bass anglers see jerkbaits as sinking/suspender style minnow baits. Muskie anglers usually call these same lures minnow baits or twitch baits. I tend to agree with the musky fraternity on this. So, jerkbaits mean different things to different folks. But, in order to keep things somewhat in line with how I adapted a bass/walleye tactic to the muskie game, I am going to refer to sinking/suspending minnow baits inside this article as jerkbaits.
I sit here wondering if it is just me, or does every tournament fisherman question their fishing ability in the days and weeks before a tournament? I feel like I know how to fish as I have won numerous tournaments over the years and placed in the top five of numerous others, but in the days before a tournament I find myself searching Musky 360 and reading articles on what to throw, where to fish and how deep.
Canada is set to extend a ban on non-essential travel through late July as both countries seek to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to sources familiar with the matter. Source : OTTAWA (Reuters)
Several of my most recent youtube videos have featured comeback/castback tactics with Musky 360 editor Steven Paul and Tyler Andrews, The Musky Guru. Consequently, a deeper conversation about these techniques and strategy is in order. Musky anglers are really the only group of freshwater anglers that refer often to follows as part of their overall fishing experience on any given day. The musky follow is certainly a huge part of the sport’s dialogue for sure, but it can also become a key tactical strategy once you fully understand how to capitalize on it. Here’s how I attack it.
Time and time again you’ve heard musky experts like Joe Bucher, Chas Martin and others talk about the importance of shallow water and the sun’s thermal effect on muskies during the early part the season. Its undeniable that post spawn muskies will seek refuge in “hot spots” like bays and coves that are at times only slightly warmer than the main lake basins. These “hot spot” muskies rarely venture far from the comfort of the shallow bays until a bit later in the season. But catching these shallow water fish can be frustrating as they are often more finicky than fired up.
Early spring muskie fishing is always an exciting time. Many of us enjoy ice fishing in the winter months, but it is muskie fishing that we truly live for. It is the most challenging but also the most rewarding type of fishing. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time chasing these beasts knows what it is like to experience a slump. It seems like no matter what you do, sometimes you just can’t seem to put one in the net. You might go hours, days, or even weeks without a fish and when this happens early in the spring, it can be very disheartening. We spend months dreaming about it, and oftentimes come up short, but don’t be discouraged! Even the pros have been there! I am going to share some of my tips and experiences to help you this spring.