Muskellunge, the largest and longest member of the pike family, is a game fish that’s one of the most thrilling to angle. It is a freshwater fish too large and vicious-looking to ignore. This sly, unpredictable fish is known as the fish of 1000 casts, not just because it is not in abundance in different water bodies across the Northern USA and Canada, but also because they are not very easy to lure.
They have plenty of forage roaming around them, live and delicious, as they are a specimen that is considered among the fishes of the top food chain. So, pretty much everything is its forage, and as the fish is large and mighty enough to get the forage whenever they want, offering them bait to hook them up seems tricky. However, a high-grade setup of fishing equipment and immense patience can get you this not-so-easy to catch fish in your attempt at those 1000 casts during Muskellunge Fishing.
Nothing Affordable About Muskellunge Fishing
The size and the razor-sharp teeth pretty much give it away that if you are willing to angle for this fish, you need the perfect equipment setup. And let us say it loud and clear, cheap or mediocre is not for musky fishing. All these emphasizing brings us to the vital discussion of all the rod, reel, and line, the whole set you will need to catch a mighty musky.
A Long Fishing Rod
Long – For musky fishing, you will need a long rod. Depending on your body type, height, and capability, the longer, the better because this fish is going to give you a hard time fighting and trying to free itself up, though not for long compared to other feisty predator game fishes, but the relatively short span is enough to derange you.
9-11 Feet – This fish is not among the ones who are the most invasive or puts the best fight following the never-give-up attitude. However, there is a but, always. It’s an unpredictable trophy fish we are talking about. So, do not slip by underestimating this aggressive predator. Be prepared with a long, 9-11 feet rod high-quality, a sturdy rod that can tackle this big prey.
Graphite Material – Fishing rods made of graphite will be our recommendation because this one is the best to tackle the hard runs of the feisty musk. Yes, it’s expensive, but you know the drill, it’s no affordable hobby. The material gives the rod the perfect stiffness and sensitivity but easy on your hands, keeping them comfortable and less fatigued during all the perpetual holding and long wait and struggling during dragging and retrieving.
Heavy/Fast Action – About rod action, a musky requires fast action rods mainly because you are tackling a big fish and also because you will need big artificial lures to hook on it.
Bait Casting Fishing Reel
Stainless Steel – For the sheer amount of intensity the muskies fight with the anglers when hooked, the impact is immense. Only the baitcasting reel can handle that intense combat. And you need a high-quality, durable one, of course, we precisely recommend the stainless steel ones.
Handling Lengthy Fishing Line – A musky angling requires a good amount of fishing line. We will discuss the specific numbers in our next section. Anyways, to handle ample amounts of a fishing line, a baitcasting reel is a must. Chances are pretty high that the moment the musky takes the lure, it will continue roaming the whole water body, causing a stripping line that might go out of control. A baitcasting reel is made to tackle that extended stripping line.
Powerful Drag Without Breaking the Line – To keep the fish hooked and continue the pull, drag, and retrieve, the angler requires enough line in the reel spool. Then, a smooth but powerful drag system too. Moreover, the tackling must be such that the line never breaks in between, and you lose the fish. You will receive all these perks adequately only in a baitcasting reel.
Robust Gearing – You do not require a higher gear ratio when it comes to musky fishing. But the gearing has to be robust to pick up the lines smoothly and quite fast. That doesn’t mean you can make do with a lower gear ratio. Try and keep it in the five range. Meaning, 5.1 times to 5.8 times rotation of the spool every 360-degree turn of the handle is more than enough.
Fishing Line and Two Different Leader Options
Braided – Sturdiest fishing line among all the three fishing line options is the braided fishing line. So, the choice was pretty stagnant for us, in a positive way, no doubt. Because when it comes to braided fishing line, we can expect optimum performance, immense resistance to all the pulling on the line, relying on it till the fish is tired enough.
80-100 Pound Test Line – You are hunting for one of the prominent members of the pike family. The large prey will be weighty. So, get a braided line with enough pound test that can tackle that weight. To be precise, 80–100-pound test braided fishing line. That should tackle a good size musky pretty efficiently without breaking in the middle of the drag.
Leader – Pair the mainline with either a fluorocarbon line or a steel leader.
Steel – It is readily available as a package with the latch and barrel swivel hooked to it. And that is what we like. So, you just need to tie it with any sturdy knot you prefer.
Fluorocarbon – For tying the fluorocarbon line as the leader, get your swivel, bead separately, and connect them to the mainline, and then knot the leader. You can use about 15-20 inches 150-pound test fluorocarbon line as the leader. Change the length according to your convenience if needed.
Bucktail Jigs – Bucktail jigs are our most preferred artificial lure to entice the Muskellunge. Not just to us, it’s the top pick for most anglers for too long to ignore. Thus, the reason is legit. It’s basically the classic lure that hardly fails you getting your trophy fish.
Go Big – For angling the unpredictable musky, get the bigger bucktail, perhaps 3 ounces. The best thing about bucktail jigs is that they send the right kind of vibration that attracts the muskie, for whom food is not something unattainable.
Baitfish – You can hook pieces of fish, muskies love cisco, or you can hand the minnows, or just let the jig mimic the baitfish movement all by itself, reacting to the water temperature. No matter what you did with the hook, it’s the way it vibrates and moves in water that attracts the musky to take the bait.
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As we can see, there is nothing affordable or cheap about musky fishing. So, it could be slightly tricky for beginners, even for many skilled anglers, to attempt angling for this specimen. Nevertheless, if you have the equipment, you can surely try it.