The great muskellunge.
Rare, beautiful, and just a bit scary-looking, this large, toothy predator is the ultimate freshwater trophy. Reaching massive lengths and impressive weights, the “musky,” as it’s more commonly known, has captured the attention of angers all over the country.
It’s elusive and finicky, but it’s one of the best prizes in America’s lakes and rivers. If you are searching for a musky, be ready for days, weeks, and even months of frustration. After all, its nickname is “the fish of 10,000 casts.”
Stick with it, and you’ll have the fishing experience of a lifetime.
A fully-grown muskie is the apex predator of its realm. It has a long, narrow body with light coloring that ranges between silvery green and brown. They are colored with bars running down their sides, although they are often a solid color and can also have a spotted pattern. The underbelly is usually a pale while.
Muskies have a long face to match their long bodies, and a large mouth full of needle-like teeth that they use to capture and hold fish. While fish make a large portion of their diet, muskies have been known to feed on frogs, small rodents, birds, and even ducks, especially small ducklings. They are experts at the ambush, usually waiting in weeds or trees and striking when unsuspecting prey swims near. Muskies are so quick that most victims don’t have time to react.
Muskies are a trophy fish, and most anglers pursue them for a simple photo op. They are sensitive to overfishing and can be run out by other predators, including northern pike and largemouth bass. Protecting the species, which pulls in millions of tourism dollars, is a high priority in many states.
First of all, you must remember that muskies have very sharp teeth, and if they are not handled properly, someone could be in need of stitches.
To catch muskies, you need strong equipment. These trophy fish put up a fight, so you need a good strong rod that can combat the musky’s pulling strength and weight. If you use a rod that doesn’t give you enough leverage, you’ll have to fight the fish longer, increasing the chance of mortality.
Large bucktails are probably the most common lure for musky fishing. Big musky only go after big prey, so giving them a large lure to look at is your best bet. Crankbaits are also used to entice muskies, and there are plenty of topwater lures that will attract these aggressive predators.
When fishing for musky, make sure you have a strong metal leader between your line and the lure. A musky’s sharp teeth can shred even the strongest of braids, and being cut loose with a lure in it’s mouth is essentially a death sentence.
To find a musky, the best place is near the edge of weed beds, especially if the weeds are close to a deep ledge, where bluegill, crappie, and other panfish might be congregating. Downed trees and rock piles are also known to be good places to check when hunting musky.
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