Muskie Fishing Tips
Whatever precautions have been suggested for northern pike, double them for muskies. These big nasty predators are tough and they have some of the most formidable teeth of any fresh water species. When you hook one from a tube or toon it is a question of who has who. This is one fish that I do not recommend chasing from anything less than a well-equipped boat. Smaller muskies can be properly controlled from a sturdy pontoon but not as well from a tube. The larger they get the less likely you will be able to handle them by yourself, without risk of damage to the fish, yourself or your craft.
Since most muskies are released (or should be) you need to be prepared to quickly subdue them and keep them from being injured in the process. This generally requires a big net. Many muskie pros prefer a specially designed cradle net. Those are tough to operate effectively without another person helping. Floatation fishing is pretty much a one-man operation. But, if you are a thrill seeker and have an overwhelming urge for “full contact” fishing then go ahead and try for a muskie from your tube or toon. The odds are against your success, and not just because of the size and dangerous dental equipment.
Muskies are not found in many places. They are fish of the cold clear waters of the north woods. However, tiger muskies (sterile hybrids of muskie and northern pike ) have been planted in many lakes around the country to help control overpopulations of small species. They are solitary and seldom plentiful wherever they live. Furthermore, muskies are not easy to catch. They are notorious for being difficult to find and fool. Some frustrated muskie chasers call them “the fish of 10,000 casts”. Even dedicated muskie pros fail to score on many trips. However, there are those rare and wonderful times when an angler can hook several fish on a good day.
The upside, for floatation fishermen, is that muskies are generally creatures of inshore areas, where they hide in ambush waiting for smaller fish to get close enough for an attack. The downside is that they usually live in large waters and the best spots are not often close to easy access for a tube or toon. But, if you live in muskie country you can sometimes find smaller lakes with muskies to chase from your inflated craft.
Truly big muskies are difficult to fool with lures. Although some huge fish are taken every year on a wide range of artificials serious big fish specialists offer them live whole suckers or other favored forage. However, there are some monsters taken on big jointed hardbaits and soft plastic swimbaits. Again, if you are looking for bigger muskies you really should be fishing from a boat.