Musky fishing in Wisconsin
This article was writen by a Wisconsin fishing guide. I thought it had some good fishing tips for fishing Musky.
Fishing With Live Bait For Muskies in Wisconsin
I've used this technique for musky as well as pike, bass and walleye in the spring.
Everyone knows that sucker fishing for musky can be explosive in the fall, but how many of you are fishing with live bait in the spring?
Let's face it, no matter which way you slice it, the musky remains a difficult species to capture, as anyone who's spent any amount of time pursuing this elusive fish can attest to. Don't get me wrong, musky fishing can be one of the most exciting aspects of angling you will ever experience or it can be like watching paint dry. One of the most consistent patterns I've found over the years that's helped make my musky experience a more enjoyable one is the use of live bait in the spring. When most musky anglers think of fishing with live bait, the crisp fall air and visual spectacle of changing leaves usually comes to mind, but if you're only running suckers in October and November you may be missing your opportunity at one of the biggest fish in the lake.
In Southern Wisconsin where I guide, opening day is the first Saturday in May and anglers can usually expect to be greeted with water temps in the low-high 50s. Contrary to popular belief, the muskies are extremely active at this time and readily accessible in shallow water. Early in the season I prefer to target shallow, stained water lakes that have a tendency to warm up faster, which in turn will accelerate weed growth as well as the muskies metabolism. Not to say that the deep clear lakes won't produce early on, its just that I've had much better luck fishing with live bait on stained lakes in the spring.
In the spring I prefer to use suckers in the 8-10" range rigged on custom Quick Strike rigs. A quick strike rig allows you to set the hook as soon as the musky grabs the sucker and is swimming away from you (unlike the old days when you'd wait 45 minutes for the musky to swallow the sucker, gut hooking the fish, that if released would later die). Almost all musky anglers these days are using some sort of quick strike rig so you shouldn't have a problem finding one to suit your needs.
Many of the rigs you find will utilize either a medium-large snout hook with 1 or 2 treble hooks, or will be a rubber band style rig. The latter rig requires you to thread a small rubber band through the sucker's nostril with a bait needle. The RB is then attached to the leader clasp as well as 1-2 rigs, which will vary in length. The snout hook style rigs never appealed to me because I've always found the front hook to be too large, so last spring I decided to start tying my own snout hook rigs. The problem I've had in the past with the rubber band rigs is that the space in between the suckers mouth and nostril acts like a lip on a crankbait, promoting the sucker to dive and roll at higher speeds (.75-1.0 mph) mph). Since the snout hook rig is attached directly through the lip it allows you to pull the sucker through the water at a much higher rate of speed and presents the bait more naturally at any speed.
To tie up your own rig, start with a 16-24" piece of 94 LB seven strand leader material. First, crimp a #1-3 treble hook on one end. Next, slide on a sleeve and than a #7 octopus. Determine how far you want the snout hook from the treble hook and then crimp it in place so the snout hook won't move upon hookset. For a 10-12" sucker I will generally leave 6-8" in between the snout hook and treble hook. Next I slide on another sleeve and than ½-2ozs of bullet weights. Crimp the weights about 6-8" from the snout hook. Now you can either crimp on a 100 LB+ ball bearing swivel and be done, or add some sort of spinner to the rig and then the barrel swivel. The barrel swivel is what you tie your line to, so make sure the ones you buy have the metal loops on either end.This past fall I experimented with the same type of rig except I used 120lb flourocarbon. Instead of crimping the flouro I tied it with a "UNI knot" 3 wraps will due the trick. Since the flouro is a lot thicker than 7-strand the octopus hooks are too small. I substitute the octupus hook with a small 1/0 treble hook and snip off 2 of the shanks. The treble hook has a larger hole to accommodate the flouro. I use the same type of sleeves to crimp the snout hook in place, but if you squeeze it to tight it will comprise the flouro... The eyelet on the snipped treble is larger than the sleeve so I usually put a bead in between the crimp and hook to prevent any failures upon hookset. You can also squeeze the eyelet on the small treble so it won't slip through the sleeve if you don't have any beads available.
The most important and probably least understood aspect of sucker fishing with QS rigs is when and how to set the hook. As a general rule of thumb, I don't wait any longer than 1 minute after the musky grabs the sucker to set the hook- Longer than a minute and your running the risk of gut hooking the fish. Now, after a musky grabs your sucker, immediately reel in any other lines and get ready to chase the fish down if it makes a long run. Ideally, you want to be within 10 feet of the musky before you set the hook. Applying a small amount of pressure to the line followed by immediate slack will usually get the fish swimming in the opposite direction. Once the musky is swimming away from you, load up the rod tip and snap (not pull) the rod as hard as you can in an upward motion. Even the slightest amount of slack in the line will give a musky the chance to throw the hooks, so keep your rod tip low and don't stop reeling until the fish is in the net. It takes time too.
In the spring I generally run 2 suckers back on large slip bobbers and 1 sucker right next to the boat. The boatside sucker is set 1-3 feet under the surface and plays a vital role in picking up fish that swim directly under the boat. It will also help to convert any skittish musky that follow-up and don't hit your lure on the figure 8. The 2 bobber suckers are set just above the shallowest weed tops and placed 15 and 30 feet behind the boat. As a general rule of thumb, I don't set the suckers any closer than 2 feet from the bobber.
Shallow weed/sand flats that gradually drop off into deep water, weedy bays and even expansive areas of pencil reeds will hold a majority of the fish early on. Locating above average water temps, a dark or silt bottom, newly emerging weeds and concentrations of baitfish within these spots will usually mean the difference between success and failure. Early in the season I like to start fishing in 3-5 FOW (feet of water) and gradually move deeper as the shallower weeds develop and become unfishable. Moving your boat in wide "S" patterns with the trolling motor over the top of newly emerging weeds, rather than along the edge will greatly improve your odds of hooking up. If you're fishing bigger lakes in the spring and would like to narrow down your perimeter slightly, wind blown shorelines with newly emerging weeds are a great place to start and where you will often find the warmer temps in the lake, not to mention feeding muskies.
Of course, not every musky in the lake will be utilizing shallow water at this time. On sunny days when there's little to no wind, some of the fish will actually suspend shallow over deep water, 1-2 cast lengths off the first drop-off to soak up the warmth of the sun. Deep water adjacent to any shallow bays/flats that are holding concentrations of baitfish are excellent places to start looking for suspended fish. Even if there aren't any baitfish present over deep water, that doesn't mean that there won't be fish there. I wouldn't exactly say that this pattern is underutilized, but most often anglers are fishing their suckers/lures to deep when in fact most of the fish will be suspended less than 5 feet down. In this scenario I'll set one bobber-sucker 5 feet down and the other no deeper than 10 feet down, 20 and 40 feet behind the boat. Since most of your artificial presentations will be shallow, the boatside sucker remains 1-5 feet down. Again, moving the boat in wide "S" patterns will help you to cover more water and contact a greater number of fish.
By early-mid June the weeds are almost fully developed on the stained lakes in my area and most of the fish will be hanging on the edge in 10-12 FOW. This is when the traditional approach to weedline fishing will usually be your best option, and also when most anglers hang up there sucker rods. Although I generally catch more fish on artificial lures at this time, I still continue to also fish with suckers until water temps reach a consistent 70 degrees, or they start going belly up. By the beginning of July a majority of the musky will have moved out over open water to feed on suspended baitfish, which, for me, signifies the start of summer.
Early May can be one of the most frustrating times to pursue musky, but I guarantee that if you implement the use of live bait into your routine this spring you will catch more and bigger fish no matter where you fish!
Ben Kueng's Guide Service
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ben_Kueng
External RSSVINTAGE FISHING MUSKIE * PIKE TROLLING LURE "THE BELIEVER" DRIFTER TACKLE CO.
VINTAGE FISHING MUSKIE * PIKE TROLLING LURE ***DIVER 6" RED DOT BELLY
VINTAGE FISHING MUSKIE TROLLING LURE "SWIM WHIZZ" HOMER LE BLANC.
*READ* Original Marathon Tackle Musky rattle Spoons Etc. Lure Ad Lure Fishing
10" DRIFTER TACKLE THE FAMOUS BELIEVER MUSKY FISHING LURE
13" Special Mate Tackle Box, Gray, Holds 45 Body Baits for Musky Fishing #1345
13" Special Mate Tackle Box, Teal/Green, Holds 45 Body Baits for Musky Fishing
2PCS 5" 20G LIFELIKE MULTI-JOINTED 9-SEGEMENT PIKE MUSKIE FISHING LURE NEW Y6P6
5" / 12.7cm Pike Muskie Fishing Lure Swimbait Crankbait Hard Bait Fish Tackle US
5" Spoon Special Mate Tackle Box, Organize Your Lures, Made in USA #5225
6" Believer Jointed Drifter Tackle Musky Pike Crankbait Sucker 600J-34
6.5" Anettail Tackle Co. Undertaker Musky Muskie Jerkbait Lure Fishing - Used
6.5" TACKLE INDUSTRIES SUPER CISCO MUSKY, PIKE, BASS LURE 1 5/8 OZ SILVER TROUT
6.5" TACKLE INDUSTRIES SUPER CISCO MUSKY, PIKE, BASS LURE 1 5/8oz CHROME REDHEAD
6.75" H20 Tackle Cranky Nitro Muskie Musky Crankbait Lure Fishing - Used
6.75" H20 Tackle Cranky Nitro Tweener Muskie Musky Crankbait Lure Fishing - Used
7" Squirrley Little Ernie Musky Mania Pike Holo Supermen SQLE-923 Drifter Tackle
8" Spoon Special Mate Tackle Box, Gray, Organize Your Lures, USA Made #8225
9" Sperry Tackle Wood Jerkbait Musky Muskie Pike Lure Fishing - NIP*
Bait House Lure Co. 7" Willy Jerk Musky Fishing Lure, Shell Lake, WI R-282
Bait House Lure Co. 7" Willy Jerk Musky Fishing Lure, Scott Petite Lot R-283
Believer Fishing Lure Used Walleye Tackle Pike Lure Used Muskie Lure
Custom Top Hat Tackle THT Crankbait musky muskie pike lure fishing bait
Drifter Tackle STALKER Musky Fishing Lure CrankBait. NEW.
Drifter Tackle STALKER Musky Walleye Pike Fishing Lure CrankBait. NEW.
Dunwright Tackle Lifelike Lizard 11" Sand Musky Fishing Lure 1.5oz Pike Bass
LAKEWOOD Musky Jr Tackle Box (/HUNTER.GREEN) A036-HG
LAKEWOOD Musky Medium Tackle Box (/BLACK) A037-BK
LAKEWOOD Musky Monster Tackle Box (/HUNTER.GREEN) A038-HG
LAKEWOOD Musky Monster Tackle Box (/STONE) A038-ST
LAKEWOOD Musky Upright Tackle Box (/BLACK) A035-BK
2 VINTAGE REEF HAWG LURES UNUSED WOODEN MUSKIE PIKE MUSKY OLD FISHING TACKLE USA
Drifter Tackle STALKER Musky Walleye Pike Fishing Lure CrankBait. NEW.
Large Vintage Marathon Musky Buck Tail Fishing Lure Tackle Box Bait NeverUsed EX
Lot 3 Musky Fishing Lures Tackle Pike Delong Kilr Eel Dare Devil Sucker Harness
Lot 3 Wooden Musky Plugs for Repaint, Thriller, Drifter Tackle, Believer 6"
Lot of 2 Tyrant Tackle Jerkbait Rubber Tails Lure Musky Pike Fishing - NIP**
Musky Mania Tackle 9 Inch Ernie 2.6 oz, very little use, Rattles
Musky Mayhem Tackle Cowgirl Bait Musky Muskie Bucktail - Used
OKUMA FISHING TACKLE EVx B Series Musky Casting Rod 8'6'' XH /EVX-C-861XHT-FGB
OKUMA FISHING TACKLE EVx B Series Musky Casting Rod 8'6'' H /EVX-C-861H-TB
OKUMA FISHING TACKLE EVx B Series Musky Casting Rod 8'6'' Rod/ Pole Sport NEW
Odyssey Pig Crankbait 7" musky muskie pike fishing lure tackle bait
PLANO Muskie Hang Bait Tackle Box /791502
Plano Musky Tackle box Loaded with musky fishing Lures
Odyssey Pig jointed Crankbait 6" musky muskie pike fishing lure tackle bait
RARE Vtg Musky Mania Tackle "THE DYING FISH" (8") Musky/Pike Crankbait
Rapala Clackin Minnow - CNM 09,Yellow Perch
Rapala Scatter Rap Shad Size 5
Rapala Ultra Light Minnow
SAVAGE GEAR 7 3/4" 3D RAT BIG GAMEFISH Lure R-200-BL "BLACK for Muskie/Bass/Pike
SPRO 6" BBZ-1 Jr. Swimbait - Floating - Assorted Colors
SPRO 6" BBZ-1 Jr. Swimbait - Slow Sink - Assorted Colors
SPRO SRT30Z1 BBZ-1 Rat 30 Baby Swimbait - Assorted Colors
SPRO SRT40Z1 BBZ-1 Rat 40 Jr. Swimbait - Assorted Colors
SPRO SRT50Z1 BBZ-1 Rat 50 Swimbait - Assorted Colors
Smoker Tackle Vintage SS Shad Musky Lure
South Bend Musky Minnow Lure White Spotted
Special Mate Model 1345 Muskie Tackle Box
Special Mate Musky Tackle Box 13" Body Box #1345
Strike King Crankbaits Square Bill KVD 8.0 Silent Magnum Fishing Lure Any Color
TACKLE BOX FULL OF Fishing LURES Storage Locker Find Muskie Bass Vintage
TACKLE BOX FULL OF Fishing LURES Storage Locker Find Muskie Bass Vintage Reels
TACKLE BOX FULL OF Fishing LURES Storage Locker Find Vintage Bass
Texas Tackle Worlds Best Split Ring Pliers
Texas Tackle Worlds Best Split Ring Pliers
Umco 4500U with lures and Griswold No.5
VINTAGE MUSKY MUSKIE FISHING LURE LOT OF 12 TACKLE BOX FIND WOOD RUBBER PLASTIC
VINTAGE OLD FISHING LURE PFLUEGER MUSTANG BIG minnow bait tackle IN box MUSKY
Vibrating Venom ChatterBait / Chatter Jabber Bait - 3/4 or 1 ounce - MUSKY BAITS
Vintage Blue Heddon Prowler Fishing Lure Antique Tackle Box Bait Bass Musky Pike
Vintage Brown Heddon Prowler Fishing Lure Antique Tackle Box Bait Bass Musky
Vintage Falls City My Buddy Tackle Box Full Old Fishing Lures, Boxes, Musky, etc
Vintage Heddon PAL p-41 Fishing Reel Antique Tackle Box Bait Lure Bass Musky
Vintage Original Wiley Large King Musky Lure & musky Killer bait
Vintage PLANO 747 Tackle Box Loaded W/ Fishing Tackle/Lures/Leaders/Equipment
Vintage Paw Paw Cater Fishing Lure Antique Tackle Box Bait Bass Musky Wisconsin
Vtg Musky Mania Tackle Co. (9") "BURT" Musky/Pike Fishing Bait
dunwright tackle topwater crankbait fishing lure muskie/musky/pike/bass
Note: All prices in US Dollars