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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Planning for muskies.

This is my newest fishing craze, I’m just getting started so I’m still in the research / development stage.

Musky fishing is the top of the Freshwater fishing mountain. Many musky fishermen consider themselves as musky hunters for a good reason; these fish are less abundant and more particular than other freshwater species.

I started by hiring a local guide named Musky Mike for a mid October trip in 2007. I figured I might as well invest the time to see what the professionals do, to avoid wasting time and money with trial and error tactics. We caught a couple muskies, and although they were a bit smaller than what we were hoping for, the techniques we learned as well as the vast amounts of related information we discussed made the trip a definite success.
Mike is a great guy, knowledgeable guide, fun to be with, and uses top notch equipment. Being this late in the season, and with our boat already stored for winter, all we could do is plan and stock up for next season.

We found some very good deals on equipment on eBay, but they aren’t that easy to come by for musky lures. Still, we managed to pick up an nice assortment of lures best suited for trolling as this will be our main focus for now.

The impressive crankbait type lures range from 8 to 16 inches, and from 2 to 10 ounces. Needless to say, finding the proper rod(s) is very dependant on the fishing methods planned.
I also found some light bucktail spinners under 2 ounces, which I might cast occasionally on my bass / pike rod.

As I plan to spend most of my musky time trolling, I opted for a trolling rod rated for lures of this size, as most musky rod a rated at 1 – 5 ounces. I picked up a Shimano Tidewater heavy action rod with roller guide top, 1 piece glass construction. It is rated for 3 - 12 once lures and has stainless steel guides / rollers.

I opted for an Okuma level wind reel with a line counter. It is a left handed model, as I’m used to spinning reels, being right handed I prefer to use my right hand to fight fish with the rod.

Line / leaders:
I’ve spooled couple hundred feet of 80 LB Fireline XDS (20 LB Diameter). I got a great deal on a lot of this discontinued line a few years ago. As I’ve run into many varying opinions regarding fluorocarbon and steel leaders, I pick up a few of each. The fluoro leaders are 100 LB test, about 36 inches, I plan to use them for the “smaller” lures. The steel ones are also 100 LB test and hand tied without crimps, I plan to use the for the “monster muskies”.

As I already have a sonar mounted on the boat, we also picked up a handheld Magellan GPS that has pre-loaded data, allows new map uploads and has some “marking” capabilities. Coupled with the Navigational charts issued by the Canadian Govt, and some heavy duty stainless steel quick release rod holders, I think we’re “good to go” as far as equipment is concerned.

I plan to fish Lake St Francis to begin with, eventually Lac St Louis and/or the Ottawa River, these are definitely the best bet for big muskies. The shipping channel edges are my best guess for now, as the rest of the water in the area is mainly to shallow to troll the big crankbaits. The edges are also relatively easy to follow due to the marker buoys and water clarity. What remains to be seen, is if the extreme water clarity will work against us as far as spooking fish.

The plan is to dedicate most of the season to muskies after the opener, I’m hoping for at least 15 - 20 musky days. I will add more information and pics to this page as I begin the musky hunting season, if you have any feedback regarding musky fishing around the Lancaster Ontario area, I would love to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

Wishing you good luck on your new fishing craze! small world, I remember seeing you getting ready at the marina last october with Mike as we were also heading out.

Well Good luck, and remember to be smart and respect this great predator which we all admire.

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