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Questions from a Musky Noob

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On Saturday I went fishing in the Kawarthas with the hopes of landing some muskies (which I didn't). In the 13hrs I was fishing, a few random questions came to mind.

 

1. Is there a smaller/medium sized low profile reel that will make burning in single bladed bucktail spinners easier than a Curado 300e? I'll admit it was quite the workout.LOL

 

I understand that reels with lower gear ratios have better cranking power and higher gear ratios bring in line quicker. For smaller lures like Mepps Musky Killers, Blue fox musky bucks and Buchertails, what gear ratio should I be looking at? A reel like the Daiwa Lexa 300 comes in 6.3, 7.1 and 8.1 models. What do you chose?

 

2. There are titanium leaders, fluorocarbon leaders and stainless steel leaders. Is there a time or technique where you would use one type of leader over the other?

 

3. How heavy of a leader in Fluorocarbon and Titanium do you use?

 

4. Has anyone gone barbless for muskies? If so, did you notice a difference in landing percentages?

 

5. I've only landed the 'clear' and 'tiger' variety of musky. Are the 'barred' and 'spotted' varieties also found in the kawarthas? I would love to photograph those ones too.

 

6. Do people ever Figure 8 for pike? Do pike ever chase lures right up to the boat like muskies do?

 

7. From what I see on TV, anglers use smaller lures on average for pike, and huge lures for muskies. Is there any reason for this?

 

8. Are there any tackle shops in the GTA (or within 2hrs) that have a decent selection of musky tackle? I don't have anything to buy in mind yet...I just love to visit small tackle shops.

 

 

Thanks

 

Mike

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# 8...JB's just off the 401 west of the 400. On the edge of your 2 hour criteria would be Angling Outfitters in Woodstock, Fishing World in Hamilton, Grimsby Tackle Grimsby, Gagnon's in Oshawa and on the eastern edge would be Pro Tackle in Belleville.

 

#1..I have the Lexa 300 in the 7.1 ratio and it does a good job of bringing in smaller bucktails both single and double blades, but I use it mainly for keeping up with glide and top water baits. There are several others on the market though such as the new Abu Beast. I have heard great reports about it.

 

#'s 2 and 3..leaders....Stainless and Titanium are mostly used when throwing body baits. IE: top waters, glide, walk the dog, suspending jerk baits etc. Depending on the bait and the weight of the leader, you might use the lighter titanium in order to maintain the action of the bait.

Fluorocarbon leaders I use on most safety pin spinner baits and in line bucktails. Length of leaders when casting, I try to keep between 12" and 18". When trolling nothing less than 36" and most often 48"

130# to 150# floro, stainless or titanium. When trolling deep water with lots of rock and zebra muscles, 300# single strand wire about 6'

 

#4.. yes a lot of MCI members are going barbless now. They don't seem to report too many losses due to coming unpinned. What it does help with is the release of the fish and also the release of yourself when you end up putting a number 6 hook in your hand. (it does happen)

 

#5 you will get barred Muskies in the Kawarthas, but I have never heard of or seen a spotted Muskie in the Kawarthas

 

#6.. I don't see why it wouldn't work, but most Pike I know of are suicidal and you don't need to figure 8 them.

 

#7.. BIG FISH EAT BIG BAITS.........need I say more...

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If you have $500 burning a hole in your pocket buy a Shimano Tranx. If not spend $20 and put a power handle on you Curado. Check out JBs fishing depot 401 and 427 for Muskie lures. 120lb fluro for every situation for me. Barbless is never happening on my boat lol. I caught a big pike once on a figure 8 but 99% of the time they tail off once they see the boat.

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I can't answer all your questions but here is a good starting point IMO:

 

The curaro 300 is a good reel for Kawarthas Muskie if u avoid double ten bucktails. It will serve u well. An 8 - 8.5' XH Muskie rod will also do a lot of things well. I use 80 to 100# braid and 130# flouro leaders.

 

I used to fish Sturgeon Lake a LOT. I used three baits.

 

- started with a bucktail or ERC 1.5oz swim jig moving fast

- if they weren't buying that I would throw a white Waterwolf 9" tube fished like a jerk bait.

 

We caught a lot of fish on the swim jig and tube program. The fish rarely see them and they are easy to fish.

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I use a Curado 300 for smaller bucktails and spinnerbaits. A Revo Toro S in 5.3:1 would be easier to use but not as fast. I personally don't go over 6.4ish :1, but I know other guys do.

 

I'm not trying to insult you or make fun of you, but maybe you just need to workout your upper body a bit. Or fish yourself into shape. I know that a lot of musky guys in the US train with weights during the winter just so they are in shape to throw big baits all day once the season opens. Things like changing posture by keeping one foot on the platform and the other up on the gunnel help relieve the strain on your back, etc. I know one guy that goes at it so hard that he puts his one arm in a sling when he is done for the day, his shoulder and arm are that sore...

 

Single strand for jerkbaits usually, 130 lb flouro or stranded wire for everything else. I can't say that I think it makes a real difference. I do use mostly 3-5 ft flouro for trolling open water, wire for the odd time for rocky areas. Weights are 130 lb flouro, 90 lb coated stranded wire, 174 lb single strand, occasionally 147 lb single for small jerkbaits (but only because I have it and make my own leaders)

 

I've been barbless for years for musky and I really don't think it's made a big difference in landing percentage. If it has, it's mainly on smaller fish. The way I see it, I'm releasing the fish anyway, so I want to minimize the damage. Even with the barbs pinched down, it's amazing how messed up the hooks can get in fish and netting. I still cut the odd hook. Plus it's super easy to back out a barbless hook from your clothes, skin or unlucky friend.

 

I heard a guy say that he caught a pike on figure 8 two weeks ago. But I don't think a pike follows anything like a musky will.

 

I've read articles that lb for lb, pike generally prefer smaller baits than musky. I personally believe it. Sure bass and pike attack musky baits, but I stay with smaller stuff when fishing for pike specifically. Musky stuff that I would use for both would be 1/2 to 3/4 oz spinnerbaits, 6 inch jerkbaits, and spinners like Musky Killers and smaller.

 

Like all fishing, you will find that you develop your own preference for lures and techniques. For example, I love throwing jerkbaits like Suicks, Leos, Sledges. My least favorite are probably Bulldawg style lures, even though I've caught big fish on them and I know that they work.

This is just my two cents worth. Have fun!

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I noticed you said the single bucktails burned you out...thats trouble. We use singles when its time to rest a bit! You just have to get your body in game shape. Nothing wrong with trolling bucktails either when you are gettin a bit tired. I catch lots of muskies trolling them (although casting is certainly a more fun way to catch them). Leaders? I have gone anywhere from 60lb fluoro to 150...probably somewhere in the 100-120 lb range would do it. Pike will figure 8, I have caught one that way. It was a pike who followed and wouldn't leave side of boat even after I pulled lure out of water. I put lure back in and he grabbed it on the first turn (so maybe it was more of an L than a figure 8!). Barbless? no I would just cut the hooks out of a deep hooked fish...I fish enough hours just to get a hit...definitely keeping the barbs. Don't always need huge lures for muskies, try different sizes and see what the fish want on a particular body of water. I have caught many muskies on super shadraps and that is not a big bait at all.

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I stopped using steel leaders for musky to protect them when they roll, I now use 150lb fluorocarbon all the time, I've never been bit off.

 

Pike most certainly will hit boat side and on a figure 8, usually on the first "L" turn beside the boat. I've had pike come in so hard boat side they ran into the side of the boat HARD after grabbing the bait. My PB pike came on a figure 8, as did a 30" pike I caught this year.

 

Pike will grab almost everything, musky lures being no exception. I imagine people tend to go smaller so they get more of a fight from the pike. They're hardier than musky and much easier to revive even after a long fight so not as much danger of killing them.

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Musky noob myself but ive done a bit of fishing with some good fishermen...and i catch a lot of pike

 

 

 

2. There are titanium leaders, fluorocarbon leaders and stainless steel leaders. - 110lb fluro leaders...you cant go wrong, they dont kink and are less visible in water.

 

3. How heavy of a leader in Fluorocarbon and Titanium do you use? 110lb+

 

5. I've only landed the 'clear' and 'tiger' variety of musky. Are the 'barred' and 'spotted' varieties also found in the kawarthas? There are spotted skis in the kawarthas 100% not sure about barred?

 

6. Do people ever Figure 8 for pike? Do pike ever chase lures right up to the boat like muskies do? Pike are generally insane...but yes I have caught pike sweeping the side of the boat, one of the biggest pikes I ever caught decided to hit as the bait came out of the water, a 20lb fish proceeded to fly out of the air about 2 feet from my face in the tinner, was insane to say the least.

 

7. From what I see on TV, anglers use smaller lures on average for pike, and huge lures for muskies. Is there any reason for this? Big Bait catches bigger fish...dont let that stear you wrong though, Ive caught 1lb largies on double 10's...ive also seen 20lb pike hit a number 2 mepps. As a rule of thumb, smaller in the spring and bigger in the fall for baits. Muskys like em fast, and pike like em as slow as possible. One of my fave presentations is to throw a musky killer for pike and troll it so slow that its only quick enough for the blade to spin.

 

8. Are there any tackle shops in the GTA (or within 2hrs) that have a decent selection of musky tackle? I don't have anything to buy in mind yet...I just love to visit small tackle shops. Send a note to Kelly Custom Musky lures he is a board member and makes some good baits http://www.kellykustom.com/contact.html

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Thank you so much for all of your replies :)

 

Targeting muskies is quite a bit different than what I usually do with other species of fish.

 

I use a Curado 300 for smaller bucktails and spinnerbaits. A Revo Toro S in 5.3:1 would be easier to use but not as fast. I personally don't go over 6.4ish :1, but I know other guys do.

 

I'm not trying to insult you or make fun of you, but maybe you just need to workout your upper body a bit. Or fish yourself into shape. I know that a lot of musky guys in the US train with weights during the winter just so they are in shape to throw big baits all day once the season opens. Things like changing posture by keeping one foot on the platform and the other up on the gunnel help relieve the strain on your back, etc. I know one guy that goes at it so hard that he puts his one arm in a sling when he is done for the day, his shoulder and arm are that sore...

 

Single strand for jerkbaits usually, 130 lb flouro or stranded wire for everything else. I can't say that I think it makes a real difference. I do use mostly 3-5 ft flouro for trolling open water, wire for the odd time for rocky areas. Weights are 130 lb flouro, 90 lb coated stranded wire, 174 lb single strand, occasionally 147 lb single for small jerkbaits (but only because I have it and make my own leaders)

 

I've been barbless for years for musky and I really don't think it's made a big difference in landing percentage. If it has, it's mainly on smaller fish. The way I see it, I'm releasing the fish anyway, so I want to minimize the damage. Even with the barbs pinched down, it's amazing how messed up the hooks can get in fish and netting. I still cut the odd hook. Plus it's super easy to back out a barbless hook from your clothes, skin or unlucky friend.

 

I heard a guy say that he caught a pike on figure 8 two weeks ago. But I don't think a pike follows anything like a musky will.

 

I've read articles that lb for lb, pike generally prefer smaller baits than musky. I personally believe it. Sure bass and pike attack musky baits, but I stay with smaller stuff when fishing for pike specifically. Musky stuff that I would use for both would be 1/2 to 3/4 oz spinnerbaits, 6 inch jerkbaits, and spinners like Musky Killers and smaller.

 

Like all fishing, you will find that you develop your own preference for lures and techniques. For example, I love throwing jerkbaits like Suicks, Leos, Sledges. My least favorite are probably Bulldawg style lures, even though I've caught big fish on them and I know that they work.

This is just my two cents worth. Have fun!

 

At 5'6" 120lbs, I'm definitely on the smaller end of the scale compared to the musky anglers I typically see on the lake - A little bit of upper body strength training wouldn't hurt either. I wouldn't say I was burned out from reeling in all day but was thinking there might be a more efficient way of doing things.

 

I was fishing out of a 2 man canoe with my friend and the range of motion was definitely limited to the waist up. After sitting in the canoe for 13hrs, my lower back and butt were definitely feeling it. I would imagine standing and casting in a boat would be easier.

 

On the bright side, I can cast with either hand so I can switch up when one arm gets a little tired from casting. My dad gave me his old Abu Garcia 5500 C3 which is a lefty and can try alternating between left/right hand retrieves.

 

At the moment, my tackle box is fairly sparse but has a few spinnerbaits, bucktail spinners, a perch coloured super shad rap, a jointed 7" Shallow Raider, pair of saltwater X-raps and a pair of lures that look like American Eels with curly tails.

 

Over the next couple of seasons, I'm hoping to photograph muskies chasing lures to the boat both above and below the water.

 

At this point, I'm not planning to trophy hunt yet. Even small hammer handles are most definitely welcome.LOL

 

Thanks again guys for all of your help.

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You are obviously much younger than I am, the days of sitting in a canoe all day are far behind me. My back hurts just thinking about it.

You are definitely made of the right stuff. Thirteen hours of casting will wear you out, especially from a canoe. The spinnerbaits, bucktails and crankbaits that you have listed are time tested lures that will serve you well. Please keep us up to date on your adventures!

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Hey Mike, the curado 300 is a good reel for smaller bucktails. I throw twin 8's on it with little issues. I wouldn't get another reel for that application. Get something for bigger baits.

 

For leaders, just grab some #120lb (or heavier) fluoro. 12" is the best all round length for casting, allowing you to go into a figure 8 easily with minimal line out. You don't need to get too technical with wire vs fluoro, fluoro works for everything. I do use wire for jerkbaits and gliders, but to be honest don't notice much difference with 12" leaders, action on my baits is similar and I don't foul up too often. 36" is a good length if you troll.

 

I wouldn't bother pinching the barbs on your baits. Do get some decent bolt cutters though. Make sure they can snip a musky hook with ease. Buy some spare hooks and split rings that match the size on our lures. Extra snaps are good to have too... #4 Staylocks (i think that's it - the big one).

 

Good selections of musky baits are hard to come by in Canada. JB's has some tackle, but to be honest it's crazy expensive now with the exchange. Le baron's has a decent priced selection to get started, Sail has a few things as well. Bill's Bait in Hamilton had a few baits last time I was there.

 

Pike don't really bite in the figure 8. I've only had one hit on the turn and I've tried it a million times. Like mentioned above, they spook close to the boat.

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Please don't take this next bit of advise the wrong way. It is in no way meant as criticism.

 

Read and understand the proper handling and release procedures regarding Muskies. Being a relative of Northern Pike, they do not seem to have the same capacity to recover after even a short battle. For the size of the fish compared to it's cousin, they are extremely fragile and need time to recuperate. Similar to Pike (or any larger fish) vertical holds will damage the internal organs and vertebrae.

Get your camera ready for the picture while the fish is swimming in the net in the water. Tough to do in a canoe, but the larger your net the better. They act as a live well.

A lot of Muskie Anglers will NOT target them when the water temps get much above the mid to high 70's.

 

If you wish to learn more about your intended target, you can sit in on any Muskies Canada meeting with no obligation to join. Once your a member, a lot of the chapters are now running a mentoring class. You can get paired up a number of times with an experienced member and shorten your learning curve.

 

Good luck and have fun.

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Hey Mike, the curado 300 is a good reel for smaller bucktails. I throw twin 8's on it with little issues. I wouldn't get another reel for that application. Get something for bigger baits.

 

For leaders, just grab some #120lb (or heavier) fluoro. 12" is the best all round length for casting, allowing you to go into a figure 8 easily with minimal line out. You don't need to get too technical with wire vs fluoro, fluoro works for everything. I do use wire for jerkbaits and gliders, but to be honest don't notice much difference with 12" leaders, action on my baits is similar and I don't foul up too often. 36" is a good length if you troll.

 

I wouldn't bother pinching the barbs on your baits. Do get some decent bolt cutters though. Make sure they can snip a musky hook with ease. Buy some spare hooks and split rings that match the size on our lures. Extra snaps are good to have too... #4 Staylocks (i think that's it - the big one).

 

Good selections of musky baits are hard to come by in Canada. JB's has some tackle, but to be honest it's crazy expensive now with the exchange. Le baron's has a decent priced selection to get started, Sail has a few things as well. Bill's Bait in Hamilton had a few baits last time I was there.

 

Pike don't really bite in the figure 8. I've only had one hit on the turn and I've tried it a million times. Like mentioned above, they spook close to the boat.

 

 

Thanks Josh

 

I've noticed all the price increases after looking through the Lebaron catalogues from 2011 through to 2016.LOL

 

I've been getting most of my stuff off of Kijiji and saving some $ that way. Just need to pick up some larger replacement hooks big enough for musky lures.

 

 

Please don't take this next bit of advise the wrong way. It is in no way meant as criticism.

 

Read and understand the proper handling and release procedures regarding Muskies. Being a relative of Northern Pike, they do not seem to have the same capacity to recover after even a short battle. For the size of the fish compared to it's cousin, they are extremely fragile and need time to recuperate. Similar to Pike (or any larger fish) vertical holds will damage the internal organs and vertebrae.

Get your camera ready for the picture while the fish is swimming in the net in the water. Tough to do in a canoe, but the larger your net the better. They act as a live well.

A lot of Muskie Anglers will NOT target them when the water temps get much above the mid to high 70's.

 

If you wish to learn more about your intended target, you can sit in on any Muskies Canada meeting with no obligation to join. Once your a member, a lot of the chapters are now running a mentoring class. You can get paired up a number of times with an experienced member and shorten your learning curve.

 

Good luck and have fun.

 

Fishing for muskies seems pretty similar to fishing for resident trout in how delicate they are.

 

95% of my photography is done underwater or of fish still in the water. I generally don't take very many hero shots above water of my own fish and don't plan to from a canoe unless I motor back to shore. Since the beginning of 2011, I've utilized a few techniques and equipment where I can remotely shoot off several dozen pictures in a few seconds while I (or my friends) am fighting fish or reviving/releasing fish. The "Keepemwet" movement popularized in steelhead fishing, is primarily what I aim to do with most species of fish I fish for and photograph.

 

For a small sample of the types of pictures I've taken, you can check out my website at

 

WWW.MJLEUNG.COM

 

Over the past month, I've acquired longer pliers, wire cutters, jaw spreaders, and already have a big net that I use for other large species. I will definitely look into some of the opportunities Muskies Canada has to offer.

 

At some point in the future (possibly 20yrs from now) I would like to publish a book of the 158+ freshwater fish species we have in Ontario (including underwater pictures of clear, spotted, barred and tiger muskies).

 

Thank again for all of your help

 

Mike

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The "big net" Tom is referring to is used like he said as a livewell in the water. So, big enough for the biggest Muskie you could perhaps hook into to stay horizontal in while in the water.

 

All of the unhooking and such is done while the fish remains in the net.

 

I hope you get into some because you have some absolutely beautiful shots. But, as Tom alluded, be wary of elevated summer temps just as I am sure you are with summer Trout.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Hey Mike.

1. Reels. Ok so if you ever plan on throwing twin 9/10/13 blades (which you should, they really work), then you should think about getting a true blade capable reel. There are indeed times when small bucktails are effective, but the big blades are a staple bait and should see a lot of water. In low profile, the Abu Revo Toro Winch (4:6:1) is an excellent reel but is not easy to burn baits with due to the low gear ratio. The Abu NaCl in a 5.4:1 might suit your needs better if you are set on a low profile. I have also heard good things about the Daiwa Lexa in 300 and 400 size. I love my TranX, both the high and low gear, but they are a very large and heavy reel. The Shimano Calcutta 400D is also an excellent all around reel, but is a round reel (although slightly lower profile than most round reels). Tom mentioned the Abu Beast, and if budget is not a concern, this is the low profile reel of choice. They have both a high and low gear available.

2 and 3. Leaders. For dasting 12-14" floro in 130-150 lb. I started using wire for jerkbaits last year after taking the advice of one of my friends who is an excellent jerk fisherman and have done better on them since - not sure why, the action in the water seems very similar to when I used floro, but hey I won't argue with results.

4. Barbless. Some days you fish all day to get one bite - I personally will not decrease my chances of landing that fish by going barbless but that's a personal choice. I cut almost every hook anyhow. And on that topic - go buy a pair of Knipex cutters. Again, I'be used everything out there, and nothing compares. Mine are 7 years old now and still cut thru a 7/0 like butter. Yes, they are expensive ($60-80) but really in the grand scheme of all things muskie, that's cheap. Two lures lol.

5. Types of muskies. All 4 are in the Kawarthas, with spotted being the least common. I think I have caught 5 spotties over the years, most from Scugog. A friend caught a 45" spottie on Pigeon last year.

6. Figure 8 for pike - I've caught a couple on the L, not on the full 8. Lots of massive hits right at boatside - always finish every cast, even if just going into an L not a full figure 8. You never know what lurks below! Fish often follow in just deep enough to be out of your visibility in the water - and rocket up at boatside as their dinner seems to be getting away...

7. Smaller lures for pike. I've caught pike already this year on big muskie sized plastics, twin ten blades and even an 11" crankbait... they don't always want small baits, I think it depends on the body of water and bait population. Hungry fish will chase whatever is offered... if the water body has a ton of small bait then maybe better to be a bit closer to 'matching the hatch'.

8. GTA tackle shops. Tom mentioned a bunch of the smaller shops, and Bass Pro, SAIL and Cabelas have some lures also, but in all honesty each shop might only have a couple baits worth buying at any given time. There are also many custom bait builders out there that make some incredible lures. I've been doing most of my ordering online the past few years, and yes it hurt the wallet with the exchange rate, shipping and sometimes duties. But the selection down there is 10x what you can find here. I think getting a solid all-around rod and reel combo should be plan A - keep some lures in mind that you want to throw with it while choosing - then worry about building up a tackle arsenal. What are you currently using? Rod/reel/line etc? What is your budget for new?

 

I'd be happy to take you out in my boat for a day of muskie fishing and let you try a bunch of my gear out before you make any decisions on buying gear yourself - it can be an expensive and daunting experience with all the choices out there. You will be able to see first hand the differences between all the different reel types and gearing, rods, lures etc. First thing you have to throw is a pounder bulldawg haha... kidding... hopefully we would get into some fish and take some of those awesome MJL pics! Just send me a PM.

 

Hope some of this info helps! Keep asking away - tons of knowledge on this board, and again as Tom mentioned - the learning curve will shorten!

 

Cheers

Pete

Edited by Fisherpete

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The "big net" Tom is referring to is used like he said as a livewell in the water. So, big enough for the biggest Muskie you could perhaps hook into to stay horizontal in while in the water.

 

All of the unhooking and such is done while the fish remains in the net.

 

I hope you get into some because you have some absolutely beautiful shots. But, as Tom alluded, be wary of elevated summer temps just as I am sure you are with summer Trout.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

Thanks farsider. It's pretty much what I do with the other species that I fish for (like steelhead and trout). This has been floating around the steelhead community for a while. Perhaps it also applies to muskies? (I personally don't know or know of any studies done)

 

13000225_10153726658818731_3760827696223

 

It's one of the reasons I got into underwater photography and have been working on the half & half split shots like this over the past few years. After 5yrs I kind of have it figured out with some degree of success (Though execution still needs work). I would like to get something similar to this except with muskies and pike.

 

28012876050_6f3e46818a_z.jpgAnthony's Smallie by Mike Leung, on Flickr

 

 

 

Hey Mike.

 

 

8. GTA tackle shops. Tom mentioned a bunch of the smaller shops, and Bass Pro, SAIL and Cabelas have some lures also, but in all honesty each shop might only have a couple baits worth buying at any given time. There are also many custom bait builders out there that make some incredible lures. I've been doing most of my ordering online the past few years, and yes it hurt the wallet with the exchange rate, shipping and sometimes duties. But the selection down there is 10x what you can find here. I think getting a solid all-around rod and reel combo should be plan A - keep some lures in mind that you want to throw with it while choosing - then worry about building up a tackle arsenal. What are you currently using? Rod/reel/line etc? What is your budget for new?

 

I'd be happy to take you out in my boat for a day of muskie fishing and let you try a bunch of my gear out before you make any decisions on buying gear yourself - it can be an expensive and daunting experience with all the choices out there. You will be able to see first hand the differences between all the different reel types and gearing, rods, lures etc. First thing you have to throw is a pounder bulldawg haha... kidding... hopefully we would get into some fish and take some of those awesome MJL pics! Just send me a PM.

 

Hope some of this info helps! Keep asking away - tons of knowledge on this board, and again as Tom mentioned - the learning curve will shorten!

 

Cheers

Pete

 

Thanks Pete. Really appreciate all of this.

 

Right now I'm using a heavy action bass frog rod that I have - 7'4" Daiwa Tatula (rated for 1/2 -2oz, 55-80lb braid). Reel: Shimano Curado 300 spooled with 65lb PowerPro that I picked up off Kijiji last week.

 

Budget for a brand new combo? I don't really have one per se. I don't mind spending $ on something that feels comfortable in my hands and will last a long time. Rods longer than 8ft might be an issue fitting into my car though. Musky rods cost a lot less than most custom steelhead rods so it hurts less that way.LOL

 

Aside from learning about tackle and tactics, I would love to learn more about where muskies hold/habitat. I can apply it to the small back lakes and rivers that I fish which are filthy with smaller muskies (to about 36 inches or so). Even if we don't catch or see any fish, I've got about 10-12 artsy pictures in my head that I would still love to take about musky fishing.LOL

 

At some point this season, I'll be sending you a PM :)

 

One other question I have is, what's the average sized musky in the Kawarthas? How big do they get there? In the world of musky fishing what is considered a big musky?

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike

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In the world of Muskie anglers, breaking the 50" barrier seems to be the most common goal. After that you start getting into real candidates for reproduction mounts with anything above 54" or so.

 

Four years ago an average Muskie in the Kawartha was around 35" to 40". Now I believe those fish are anywhere around 40" or 44". There are 50" plus fish in the Kawarthas.

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The question was, in the Muskie world what is considered a big fish, and I believe my answer to be reasonably accurate. If you read my reply correctly, the 54" mark was intended as a bench mark for a reproduction mount.

Those who routinely catch fish over 50 inches would also tell you that a big fish in their eyes would be something above 54 or 55 inches.

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My biggest Kawartha musky was 44" followed by a 41". I think almost everything else is under 40",the majority low to mid 30s. At least for me.

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The question was, in the Muskie world what is considered a big fish, and I believe my answer to be reasonably accurate. If you read my reply correctly, the 54" mark was intended as a bench mark for a reproduction mount.

Those who routinely catch fish over 50 inches would also tell you that a big fish in their eyes would be something above 54 or 55 inches.

 

who do you know that catches 50's on the regular?

 

As a rule of thumb 50 is the plateau...thats a trophy musky

 

over 54 and you are talking fish of a lifetime. Considering you are getting very close to world record caliber fish at the 55 mark I would say unless you are a hardcore musky angler that fishes a lifetime or you hit the jackpot, you will never catch a 55 inch class musky.

 

So far I think i know of one person on this entire forum that has one?

 

As far as the kawarthas go, average size is definitely closer to 40 inches these days. 50 is a possibilty on a couple of the lakes..but at the same time ask a guy like Pete whos caught countless kawarthas musky, he still doesnt have a kawartha 50, very few people do.

 

my most recent trip on pigeon in september produced a 37 and a 45.75. if you are breaking 45 on the kawarthas you are doing good. If you wanna catch musky, fish pigeon..its absolutely loaded with skis and no pike to compete to boot!

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I'd say the average Kawarthas fish is in the mid-high 30's range. 40-42 is common, 45+ is a nice fish. The size of baits you throw will play a large part in the size average also - my Kawarthas PB is 49.5", and six times I have landed a 48". I've been fishing Muskies there since 2003.

 

As for mounts, and what people consider a big fish - chances are if I was to catch a Kawarthas 50+ that would not be the fish I made a mount of, despite the difficulty of that accomplishment. Comparable length fish from other bodies of water like LSC, LOTW, Gbay, St. Lawrence etc. would be a much heavier fish - and in my opinion a more impressive mount. I consider anything over 48" to be the "big fish" level. My next mount will be when I hit the 55" plateau.

Edited by Fisherpete

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Akrisoner, I am not arguing with your statement, in fact I think we are both on the same page. The question was "In The Muskie World" and I answered. The Muskie in my avatar is a 53 and it is not my biggest, just the best looking one of a bunch of photos taken.

I know of lots of anglers, both who guide and just fish, who have caught fish over 50 inches and each year they catch and release similar size specimens. These regular catches do not come from the Kawarthas.

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Thanks guys. Very cool.

 

I've only ever seen 2 big muskies in person before. One was in 2007 in the Lower Niagara. The guy next to me landed it while tossing a 2/5oz orange Cleo for salmon. It measured 54.5 inches. I helped him net it with my big carp net and measured it with my tape. It escaped before I could measure the girth. At the time, neither of us really wanted to touch it.LOL

 

The 2nd fish was from the Kawarthas in 2005. The guy across the river from me caught it with a jig + grub. It weighed 33lbs. He took it to the grocery store he worked at to weigh it and came back to the river for pictures. I personally wouldn't doubt the weight. It was massive and super fat.

 

All the other muskies I've seen in person were about 36" or less. Here's hoping I catch a very aggressive 70 incher that's lazy and swims into the net when hooked.haha

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