Musky America Magazine April2023 Edition

Musky America Magazine April 2023 Edition Thank you for visiting Musky America Magazine! The Musky show season is in winding down, and it is time to start preparing for soft water considerations. This month’s edition has an innovative approach to net control when fishing alone or with a partner. Did you have a 2022 Musky adventure? Share that adventure and write an article! Each day of the Musky season, anglers experience encounters on the water that can provide insights for all of us Musky anglers. We are offering $10.00 for your article. For information about submitting articles for inclusion in Musky America Magazine, please CLICK HERE! Craig Sandell Owner and Fellow Musky Angler The Icons shown here are at the bottom of the Magazine pages. *All Rights Preserved©*

The Musky Fisherman’s Net Dilemma Written By Craig Sandell With Input From Ron Heidenreich And Joel Wick © 2023 The fact is that many Musky anglers, at one time or another, fish alone. When you tie into a Musky in the mid 30s or greater while fishing alone, a cornucopia of problems present themselves…not the least of which is landing the Musky. Netting a Musky by yourself will have you trying to get you catch under enough control to handle the rod with one hand while manipulating the net with the other. I refer this critical procedure as “doing the Musky dance”. Once you net your Musky, the boat chaos is just beginning. The rambunctious netted Musky raises concerns of keeping the net under control while you get the tools you need to safely remove hooks from your catch. In addition, you have to deploy your bump board or other measuring device. Then there is getting your camera ready to snap a photo before you release the Musky. Ron Heidenreich And Joel Wick have come up with an innovative solution to addressing the chaos of the catch. This video link will give you an idea of how a simple addition to your boat can help to reduce the boat chaos once the Musky is in the net: This addition to your boat is even more important when you are fishing alone.

Ron fishes out of a Ranger. The pictures below will show you how Ron attached the net straps after sweating the ends of the luggage straps together. The Ranger has convenient mounting areas where net straps can be easily attached. During our conversation, Ron mentioned that he would have added some additional length to the net straps, so make sure

that you have enough of a loop in the net straps to easily insert the net handle into one or both of the net straps. With our conversation in mind, I set out to add net straps to my Tuffy. I first had to find Velcro straps. I was able to find some adjustable Velcro straps at the ACE Hardware store. The mounting holes were a bit too large, but the addition of washers that would accommodate the 1½ inch mounting screws solved the problem. You will have to drill a starting hole to accept the mounting hardware before you attach the Velcro strap. You should leave some room, so the straps are free to swivel, as shown below.

Once you have installed the net straps, they should look something like the above picture. Once the straps are installed, you will need to check that the net strap can easily fit onto the net handle. NOTE: The Velcro strap can be adjusted to secure the net.

The picture above shows the net handle secured to the Velcro strap with the net bag resting on the gunnel of the boat. The net can be adjusted by sliding the net handle back to keep the Musky from jumping out of the net. This is an easy way to keep the net secure, so your hands are free to get landing tools and get the bump board or other measuring device ready to measure your Musky as well as a camera to take a photo. My sincere thanks to Ron and Joel for sharing this innovative approach to making landing and releasing a Musky catch a bit easier. Tight Lines!

What Do You Do With All This Stuff! By: Craig Sandell In Collaboration With Mark Nurczyk © 2021 If you have been Musky fishing for a few years, you are likely to have an arsenal of lures similar to those pictured at the left. Having lots of lures, presents the Musky angler with a dilemma…“How do I get all these lures in the boat and still have room to fight a reluctant Musky”? Simple…you don’t! There is no way you are going to use more than a few lures for any Musky outing. However, limited lure inventory also means limited lure choice options. Musky anglers are typically inventive, and Mark Nurczyk is no exception. After reading one of our articles about lure storage boat options, Mark came up with a very unique approach to getting more lure choices in the boat. Like many of you, Mark has a Plano 7915 and like many of you, his tackle box was stuffed with lures. Doubtless, this box configuration leaves a lot to be desired regarding accessibility. There is no place in the box for all the little bits and pieces of equipment that we use when we are on the water. Many of you have additional boxes that contain:

Leaders Hooks Tools as well as any number of additional items that one might feel are necessary for success on the water. Mark decided that there had to be a better way and so, he started from scratch with an empty Plano 7915. Mark also when on a search for containers that would fit inside the Plano box but would provide storage but also visibility for the lures, leaders, tools and his miscellaneous items. It turns out that Plano also offers small storage boxes of various sizes that that can be used for all of his stuff. Mark was able to find small Plano boxes that were available at Menards. These box model numbers are: 3700 (deep) 3700 (standard) 3707 (no partitions) 3630 (deep) 3620 (standard) 3600 (narrow).

Mark then went on to label each of the boxes: Once the boxes were labeled, the process of installing them into the Plano 7915 box was easy. With all of the boxes installed into the Plano 7915, Mark had a tackle box that had his lures and his miscellaneous fishing items all in a single tackle box.

Certainly, you may have a different approach to keeping the boat clutter down to a minimum, but Mark's approach is clearly a thoughtful and efficient use of his existing Plano tackle box. As the off season progresses and the Musky show season approaches, hopefully Mark's approach will provide some "food for thought". Tight Lines

THE RIGHT STUFF By: Rob Meusec © 2010 A good test of your Musky fishing ability is: Can you successfully catch, land and release a decent size Musky when fishing alone? After a successful three days of walleye fishing in Northern Wisconsin during the 1998 opening weekend, I decided to fish for pike on my last morning before returning home. While walleye fishing, I noticed that the northern pike were quite active, as evidenced by accidentally catching a few during my walleye pursuits. I snapped on a small Reef Hawg and began drifting across a river mouth with hopes that a decent pike would give me some action. Well, action came quick but it wasn't a pike. It was a pretty good sized Musky. As I brought the fish toward the boat I realized I had no net, just my TOOL KIT. (which I carry alwayseven if I'm crappie fishing). At boat side I realized that this 37 inch fish was really hooked bad. Two trebles were on the outside of his face and one treble was firmly in the corner of his mouth.

I put the rod between my legs and loosed the drag almost all the way while I opened my tool kit. I took out a glove and my hook cutters. I reached under the fishes jaw with my left-gloved hand while he was still in the water and began CUTTING the hooks free. The rear treble of the Reef Hawg was in his gills. That was the first hook I cut completely oft. Then, he coiled his body and twisted out of my grip and oft he went. With the drag almost off, he was free to move about without a monster backlash and without the loss of my rod. I brought him back to the boat, CUT off the rest of the hooks, measured him at 37 inches and released him totally unharmed. (not a drop of his blood, a few drops of mine but that's another story).

Can you imagine what condition that fish would have been in if I didn't have THE RIGHT STUFF? IF I would have tried to remove those hooks with pliers or a hook out, his gills would have been destroyed. If you think side-cutters or the wire cutter on your needle nose pliers will do this job, you had better check. Try it in your workshop and see if you can cut through a Musky treble easily and quickly with one hand. This experience was a good lesson for me. I realized that you can never learn enough. We spend hours and hours researching how to catch Muskies. We spend hundreds of dollars on lures, reels and trips. Do we spend enough time and money to try to be a real sportsman and release these fish unharmed? YOU BE YOUR OWN JUDGE!

Muskie Fishing Line Craig Sandell © 2010 One of the most vital links in the "tackle chain" is the line you use. Over the years, there have been many different lines used by Muskie anglers. I will focus this review on the line that most accomplished Muskie anglers prefer. CORTLAND BRAIDED MICRON Line, for a Muskie angler, is among the most important tackle choices. Cortland braided Micron line has proven to be an excellent choice for Muskie line. It comes in a variety of colors and weights, however the colors most used by Muskie anglers are "fish belly white" and "black". Which color is better? Every one has their own opinion…I prefer the fish "belly white". Price is about $80.00 for a 1,000 Yard Spool. Product Review What line weight should you use? I would NOT recommend that you use line under 30 lb. test. The 30 lb. variety of CORTLAND is an excellent choice if you are dedicating a rod to bucktails. The line has very good casting characteristics which will allow you wide flexibility in your casting approach. The draw back to 30 lb. line is its propensity to fray. It doesn’t take much of an imperfection in your rod guides to cause the line to split. If you

are going to use it, check it very very very often and definitely re-tie before you move to another fishing spot. The 36 lb. test line is a bit better when it comes to fraying and you can use it for all types of lures with the possible exception of large jerk baits. The 40 lb. test line has got good resistance to fraying and can be used with any lure choice. Remember that this line is very low stretch. This very desirable feature can be a source of problems if the line is frayed or nicked. CHECK YOUR LINE OFTEN. What about other lines? There are many lines on the market that are made of the "high strength/small diameter" material. Much, if not all of it was designed for bass anglers. If you are fishing for bass, go ahead and use it. When it comes to Muskie angling, these lines have a pronounced tendency to break, backlash, and untie under stress. Yes, I know that some Muskie personages have lent their names to these lines, however, the proof is in the performance and these lines may "let you down". I am in the process of doing a field test of T.U.F line. It is made of Spectra and has the usual claims associated with it. I was encouraged to test this line because it is being used by some other Muskie anglers whose opinion I respect...It appears to hold a knot well and strips easily from the reel with light as well as heavy lures. How it performs with a fish on the line...only the season will tell.

Line Test Update 7/1/99 I recently used this line during a 20 day fishing excursion to the Chippewa Flowage. The line diameter did provide better reel performance. The problem with the line is its lack of stretch. When you have a backlash and there is a sudden stop in the lure as it rockets through the air, a great amount of stress is placed upon the line. This stress, if the lure is your average surface or jerk bait, tends to be greater than the line test…the result is your line breaking and your lure continuing to sail into the sunset. This happened to me on two different rod and reel combinations. It is also very difficult to see any minor frays in the line. I ended up taking all of the line off my reels and going back to the 40# braided Micron. Line Test Update 6/28/01 This season I made another attempt at using the TUF-Line product. I don't know whether I have changed or the line has changes, but this season I did not experience the problem I did in 1999. I do know that I have stopped over-powering my casts and I am sure that that has made a difference in the performance of the line. It is still hard to detect frays in the line...yes the line does fray. Although you may not need to cut off a few feet of line as much as you do with other lines, you still need to cut it back. I still do not recommend it for the heavier lures like jerk baits, large crank baits and heavy molded rubber baits. Line Test Update 9/28/06 This marks 5 years that I have been using TUF Line on my reels and I have found it to be a consistent performer. I have started

using it with the lighter jerk baits as well as with crank baits and I have not experienced a problem. I have also started using shorter leaders with my surface baits and bucktails relying on the resistance of the line to be easily bitten off (This is a personal choice and it carries with it obvious 'lost fish' risks). Line Test Update 9/15/08 I am still using TUF-line (salt & pepper) and I am happy with its performance. I have notices that the 50 Lb. stuff tends to fray a bit over time. In 2009, I will switch to the 80 Lb. and see if there is any advantage to the heavier line. Line Test Update 4/15/12 I have switched to using white Tuf-Line Plus 80# test. I find that the line holds less water weight and packs better on the reel. It also does not fray like the 50 or 80 pound regular Tuf-Line. I bought a 1500 yard spool.

The First Time Out Submitted by Michele Poletes © 1997 I have always loved to fish, but mostly, it's casting that I love! As long as I can remember, someone would be screaming at me " Keep your line in the water!" or " you'll never catch a fish if you don't leave your line in the water!". When I saw a T.V. program on Musky fishing, I knew this was for me! Fish or no fish, I could cast till I was blue in the face, and I would be doing just what I was supposed to be doing! I have a friend who really knows his stuff when it comes to fishing for the big guys. He took me to a little pond and taught me how to use a bait caster and the different retrieves and, of course, how to untangle a birds nest! Finally, I was ready to hit the water! We decided to meet at one of the metro lakes (Lake Owasseo) after work. I was as happy as I could be, casting over & over again without anyone yelling at me! I was pretty much in my own world, catching a fish wasn't really a concern, when this HUGE thing took my lure! Still, no-one yelled! Mike talked me through it, while Paul took pictures. The fish hit as soon as the lure hit the water, so it took a good long time to get him in the boat. After a few pictures, Mike took him, measured him, and put him back in the lake. No doubt, that fish was as tired as I was! I didn't really realize what I had caught until the next day when I grabbed a tape measurer and saw that he was as long as my

love-seat, as tall as my girlfriends daughter, the oven, my desk, etc....47 inches, less than 1 hour in the boat, my first time out, just casting! I love this!

What Price Muskie??? Craig Sandell © 2015 So, you want to fish Muskie. Are you ready to pay the price? What price? The price to re-outfit your tackle to handle the most tenacious freshwater sport fish. That bass tackle you’ve got just doesn’t have the guts…so you will need to invest in some new tackle. Rods Let’s start with rods. You are going to need at least two rods. One should have medium action for casting bucktails and crank baits. The other should have some good back bone to allow you to cast the heavier surface lures and jerk baits that are commonly used for Muskie fishing. Both rods should be at least 6½ feet with fore grip and an 18 inch handle. I have my rods made for me. I have always been disappointed by rods "Off-TheRack". My custom made rods cost me $195.00 each and I will use this figure as part of the ‘cost-to-Muskie-fish’ calculation…you may find something you like for less. (Two rods times $195.00 = $390.00) Two Rods = $390.00 Reels You are going to need bait casting reels. The reason for this is because of the tactics associated with Muskie fishing as much as with the Muskie itself. Part of the formula for good Muskie fishing is being able to cast with reasonable precision. You will want to

place a lure precisely along weed lines and in heavy wood. In order to do that consistently, you will discover the need to control the line as your lure strips it from the reel. This is accomplished by a method called thumbing. That is…using your thumb to apply pressure to the line as your eye gauges the trajectory of the lure in relationship to the casting target. Also, Muskie have a habit of following a lure up to the boat and striking as a figure eight is executed. Once again, thumbing is a required tactic. When a fish hits short (by the boat) you will need to give it some line so that it can’t use the boat as a banging stake to dislodge the lure. You will also need line to play the fish in order to be able to land it safely. Hitting the ‘free spool’ as you apply thumb pressure to the line will accomplish that goal. You can’t do that with a spinning reel. The main staple of the average Muskie angler is the Abu Garcia 5500, 5600, 6500 or 6600 models of reels. There are other reels from other manufacturers that will also do the job. You will need one for each of your two rods and you will need a backup reel just in case. The average price for these is around $140.00 each. (Three reels times $140.00 = $420.00) Our running total is $810.00 Line You are going to need some Muskie line. I am partial to 80 or 100 LB. TUF Line Spectra. You may have a different choice, however, consider that the line should be reasonably fray resistant, with low stretch, reasonably water proof, while possessing good casting characteristics. For the purposes of this discussion, 600 yards of 80 lb. TUF Line is around $120.00. Our running total is $930.00

Tackle/Tools You are going to need a different tackle box to hold the larger lures. Typically, you can figure on a nominal cost of $30.00. You will need solid wire steel leaders. Figure $10.00 for a good assortment of quality leaders. You will need to get some tools for Muskie fishing as well. Foremost is a handheld compound bolt cutter…about $52.00. You will also need a hookout, hook sharpening file, long nose pliers, spilt ring pliers, long handled channel lock pliers, mouth spreaders, waterproof flashlight, heavy duty nail clippers for your line, and a small tool kit in which to keep them so that they don’t get mixed up with your lures in your tackle box. All together this will likely run you another $135.00. Our running total is $1157.00 Lures You are going to need a reasonable assortment of lures. Figure at least 5 bucktails, 5 variations of crank bait, 4 types of surface lure and 4 types of jerk bait. Around $400.00 ought to do it. Our running total is $1557.00

Miscellaneous Stuff How to put a price tag on this? Everyone will end up with a different amount. Consider, however, the cost for extra hooks, split rings, impulse items you buy on a whim, some better rain gear, some better polarized sunglasses, a net large enough for Muskie, etc…As a budgetary number let’s use $350.00. Our running total is $1,907.00 There you are…outfitted and ready and $1,907.00 poorer. Of course, you still have to pay for food, lodging, gas, oil, maybe boat rental, license and of course there is always the bar bill over and above your initial investment in equipment. Everyone says that Muskie fishing isn’t easy. You will spend long hours on the water. You will spend many hours casting. You will spend countless hours preparing your tackle and researching the Muskie. The operative word here is SPEND. As a Muskie angler, you will pay a high price in time, frustration and money to be able to successfully match yourself against this fresh water denizen of the deep. If this article has caused you to think twice about getting involved in Muskie angling…GOOD. It is only the angler that is dedicated enough to be willing to pay the price who will eventually succeed. Oh, yes. There is one other thing. LUCK!!!…For that there is no price tag.

Making Sure Your Drag Works By Craig Sandell © 2014 Probably the most important tool of Musky fishing is your reel and the most important function of your reel is the drag system. When you are in the heat of a confrontation with a Musky, you must be able to “play” the fish. That means that you must be able to give it line to prevent straightening a hook and keep pressure on the Musky to prevent it from throwing a hook. Your reel’s drag system is an indispensible element to successfully boating a Musky. Musky anglers all have their own approach to using their reel to help them “play” a Musky. After a hook set, some anglers will back off the drag to allow the fish to take line while using the drag to keep pressure on the fish. Of course, using the reel in this manner requires that the reel drag system is “predictable”. The other approach to playing a Musky is to depress the free spool bar or button and thumb the reel to give the Musky line and keep the pressure on the fish Each approach has its benefits and draw backs. It should be noted that many Musky anglers use both approaches while fighting a Musky. A simple trick to assuring that your line does not slip on the reel arbor during a battle is to wrap the arbor with a backing material. I have seen folks use first aid adhesive tape and electrical tape. Either seems to do the job.

For those of you who are “old hands” at Musky fishing, you probably already know this. For those of you who are new to Musky angling, this is something that you may wish to incorporate when next you spool your reel with new line. Of course, if the drag on your reel is inconsistent or unreliable, no amount tape backing with help. Make sure that your reel is in good working order before you head out on the water.

Tackle Management: Inventory Time By Rob Meusec © 2020 Soon the dust will clear from all the musky shows, your taxes are done and you learned all those new techniques and spent a ton of money, it’s time to look at what we have in our arsenal. It’s time to inventory all the baits that we have in order to make our time on the water productive. You are probably thinking that this is almost an impossible task. I thought that at first too. If you are like the average musky fisherman (If there is such a creature), you have many weapons, some call them tools, in your cherished collection. As a retired teacher, I’ve learned to chunk down larger tasks into more manageable pieces, in order to accomplish what needs to be done. Here is a system that I use every year to inventory what I have and it works pretty well. It begins with, of course, all your baits. Bring all the boxes, bags or whatever you store them in into a room where you will not be disturbed for a while. Yes, all your baits! Next, pick up some cheap plastic crates (they look like milk crates) at a building supply store. I happened to use 6 this year. Next, I drill 3/16 holes along the outside lip spaced one inch apart all around the perimeter of each crate. So now you have 4-5 crates on one side of the room, and all your baits on the other side.

Now it is time to divide and hopefully conquer. Designate one crate for example, Jerk baits. Go through you tackle and pick out all your jerk baits. Begin hanging them on the inside and outside of the crate, putting one barb of the treble into the holes you drilled. When all your jerk baits are accounted for, then do the same with Topwaters and so on and so on. The number of crates depends on how many baits you have. As you look at what you have accomplished, here are few things you can do with this visual inventory:

• You can see what you have, what you don’t, what you need and what to get rid of. • What baits need maintenance, hooks, split rings, paint etc. • A great opportunity to take some photos for insurance purposes. • Determine tackle box and storage options. • These crates can be used as permanent storage or an extra bait hanger in your boat.

Is It Party Time? Or Is It Musky Time? Rob Meusec © 2020 We have all been there. You know what I mean. Your boat partner can't get up in the morning…. Your day of fishing has been cut short…You are embarrassed by your partners boat etiquette…. This may sound familiar to you. It's all too familiar to me. I was fishing in a musky tournament. It was Sunday morning and our 2-man team was 4 inches short of first place going into the last day. My partner was out late the night before and was partying pretty hard and stumbled into our cabin about about 2:30AM. The tournament hours for the last day were 7:00AM to 12:30 PM. I was up and ready to go at 5:30AM and started getting my buddy up. It was his boat we were using. I tried and tried to get him going but nothing would work. He was trashed and down for the count. We never got out on the water that day…Bummer! I was fishing with two guys on a new lake in late July and we were scouting out some water to hit hard after lunch. We went into this bar on the lake for a burger and then planned to fish the spots we knew would hold some good Muskies. Well, 3 hours later, they decided it was time to go fishing. Well, as you can imagine, the rest of the day was not really fishing, just cruising through the water with about 20 minutes of actually having baits in the water…Bummer!

When you don't have your own boat and are at the mercy of your partner to fish and fish hard, your trip can end with bad feelings. Friendships can be at stake and/or tournaments can be lost and worst of all your personal safety can be in jeopardy. I have lost a great fishing partner due to drinking. He turned me on to my first 20 pounder. I thought he was my mentor. Alcohol took its toll on our friendship and our fishing. There is a time and a place for everything. When you only have a few weeks a year to pursue your passion, you want to make the best of it. Please don't ruin it for the people who really care about you. Think about the big picture. If you like to party, that's ok. Be responsible and think of your friends. They chose you as a fishing buddy for a reason. You both share the passion to fish for Muskies. Some of the discussions that occur in a boat during a day of Muskie fishing are priceless. You know what I mean. You have been there. Don't jeopardize that camaraderie. It's a bond that could last a lifetime.

Hooking Up With The Manta Jerk Bait By Craig Sandell © 2010 Jerk baits have a reputation for making the Muskie angler work. Most manufacturers recommend a rod with a good backbone and line with a test of at least 40 pounds. The 8" Manta is an exception to the rule of heavier tackle and it is extremely easy to use. The Manta is working on the first pull of your retrieve and it keeps working until you pull it from the water. The really neat thing is that it takes only a gentle pull to give it the side to side action that makes it a potentially productive lure (I recommended a 9" solid leader). Many anglers have expressed a concern regarding the "Hook Up" percentage associated with the Manta. The Manta, as is the case with other glide baits, is an erratic moving target. Musky will usually lunge at the lure and, as luck would have it, that is the time when the angler pulls on the bait and, in essence, pulling it away from the attacking Musky. There is no way to completely solve this presentation problem but you can do the following: Slow down your retrieve action. Make less exaggerated jerks during the retrieve. Pause your retrieve for a few seconds and then jerk the lure only slightly. These three approaches will have the lure in the 'strike zone' of the Musky longer and will also make it easier for the Musky to zero in for the typical 'side slashing attack' that is used by the Musky to overcome the blind spot at the end of its snout.

Dressing A Treble With A Twister By Craig Sandell © 2010 My good friend Rob Meusec informed me about a little item he saw at one of the fishing shows…treble hooks dressed with a twister tail. The concept was intriguing and goes hand-inhand another shown later in this edition. I decided to try adding a twister tail to a bare treble hook. It turned out to be easier than I imagined...So I decided to share the procedure. First, you will need a bare treble hook, a 2/0 is pictured along with a twister tail. I am using a black twister tail mainly for photographic contrast. You can use whatever color you think will excite the Musky.

Next, you need to measure the twister tail against the shaft of the treble to see where you will have to cut the twister tail body to fit it onto the treble shaft. When measuring, be sure that the tail will cleanly trail behind the treble hooks. Now that you have the twister measured, use a household scissors to trim the front of the body of the twister tail. The next step is the tricky part…while holding the twister tail body firmly, insert the treble hook shaft into the twister tail body. You must be careful not to stab yourself with the hooks should your hand slip. A protective glove of some type is recommended until you master the process. The soft plastic will resist being pierced by the blunt treble hook shaft, but it will succumb with steady pressure.

With the treble hook shaft now piercing the twister tail body, you need to simply thread the treble hook shaft through the twister tail body until the eye of the treble hook shaft is visible. The last step in the process is to add a split ring to the treble hook assembly to make it ready to add to any bucktail or surface bait. Tight Lines

Craig Sandell © 2010 As Muskie fishermen, we all tend to go through periods when we are not catching fish. This is especially true if you are unable to 'butterfly' from lake to lake. Before the 2001 seasoned opened, I was sitting around the kitchen table with John Dettloff. I mentioned to John that the Chippewa Flowage had not been as kind to me in recent years as it had been in the mid-1990s. John listened to my lament and then jumped right in the middle of my chest with some hard reality..."You've changed the way you fish from the way you used to fish", he said. "Remember that the Chippewa Flowage is not a 'run and gun' body of water. You can't fish it as though you were in Canada, and you have to pay attention to what the water is telling you about the prospects for fishing success". I came away from that kitchen conservation with John intent on recapturing the methods that had produced fish for me in the past. My good friend Rob Meusec and I exchanged ideas on strategy for the Chippewa Flowage. Rob observed that many times we tend to overlook the potential that is no further than the dock at which the boat is moored. He reminded me that Fred Hirsch, one of the trailer residents at Indian Trail Resort and owner of Ghosttails lures, starts an early morning fishing adventure by sneaking away from

the boat slip without starting his motor and fishing the resort shoreline before he motors to other locations. We decided to take a more methodical and relaxed approach to our Muskie hunt in the 2001 Muskie season; fishing the area leading up to the 'prime water' and after the 'prime water' so that we truly were fishing the spot clean. On June 7th Rob and I hit the water of the Chippewa Flowage armed with our plan for success. We knew that the water temperature being in the mid to low 60s would have the Muskie closer to the shoreline and we knew that the high water in the Chippewa Flowage would likely contribute to keeping the Muskie in close to the shoreline. There is a shoreline and a shoreline connected bar called Miten's Bar not more that 2 minutes away from Indian Trail Resort that had all of the elements in our fishing plan. It has a deep water drop (18 feet) adjacent to a shoreline shelf (6 feet) with good vegetation and a reputation for Muskie. The mid-morning weather was overcast with a light drizzle with the air temperature around 70 degrees and water temperature around 63 degrees. I cut the motor in around 20 feet of water and positioned the boat using the trolling motor to accomplish a very slow path parallel to the shoreline. The boat was in roughly 16 feet of water as we began our troll and we were casting up at the shoreline into 5 to 6 feet of water. Rob was using a bucktail and I was using a surface lure, a Best American Tornado Globe. I positioned the boat during the troll to maximize the shoreline coverage of our casts, moving the boat away from the shoreline

on our casts and toward our lures during the retrieve. (The wind being calm afforded me this boat position luxury.) We were settling into the routine of cleaning out the shoreline prior to the 'prime water' of Miten's Bar when a Muskie came up from an isolated weed bed in 6 feet of water and attacked my globe from beneath the surface. I felt the fish...I set the hook with a firm tug and kept the line tight as the Muskie rocketed toward the deeper water under the boat. Anyone who has had a Muskie at the end of his line knows that there is a moment of truth in the battle when the fish either gets off or is sufficiently hooked to give you a fighting chance at successfully boating the Muskie. As the fish came up from under the boat, I could see that it was hooked reasonably well and that it was up to me to 'do the right thing' to get this fish in the boat. Since I was using some of the super strength line on my reel, the drag was not set as tightly as it would have been if I had been using braided Micron or Dacron line. I also depressed the free spool button so I could thumb line to the fish and prevent him from using the leverage of line and rod to straighten or dislodge a hook. Since the water was a bit cool, the Muskie put up a good scrap. Five to seven minutes after the fight began, Rob netted the fish as I lead it boat side...Once in the net, the hooks were loose and my Muskie opponent thrashed in the net as we kept him in the water to keep its time out of the water to a minimum. I cut the hooks from the globe to easily free it from the net...making it safe for me to firmly grip the fish and remove it

from the net once we were ready to take pictures and make a length measurement. As I pulled the fish from the net, I commented to Rob that it was a beefy beast. It measured 38 inches but it had a lot of body to it and was probably in the area of 19 pounds...A couple of pictures and it was on its way. It was a heck of a way to start the day and Rob and I set off to visit some similar shoreline structures. The rest of the day did not produce any fish in the boat but did produce swirls and fish hitting short. We took a break for lunch and again for dinner after which we started out for an evening adventure...We continued to use the methodical approach that had produced the early fish and the day's other action as we hit the water around 7:30pm. Following our philosophy that the 'grass is not greener elsewhere', we concentrated on areas close to Indian Trail Resort that had a good reputation for fish and shoreline connected shelves adjacent to deeper water. Although the overcast was still with us, the drizzle had been replaced by enough wind to make boat control more difficult than it had been earlier. As 9:00pm approached, we motored up to the back side of Pine Island, a piece of structure that was less than 1 minute from Indian Trail Resort. We started with the submerged finger bar adjacent to the East side of the island and zig zagged the boat toward the 'prime water' along the back side of the island to maximize the coverage of our lures. As was the case earlier in the day, Rob was tossing a bucktail and I was tossing the Best American Tornado Globe.

Sometimes the wind will take hold of a boat so that your cast is not in the perfect position for a hook set during a retrieve. This was the case for me as my globe passed over an isolated weed bed in 4 feet of water and was assaulted by a Muskie. It hit a good 20 feet from the boat and it was fortunate for me that he didn't come out of the water. I set the hook as best I could, announced to Rob that I had a fish and began to wrestle with this Muskie hoping that the Muskie spirits would favor me and not the fish. This fish put up a good battle, but he had hooked himself pretty well and I managed to keep my wits about me as I played him boat side for another perfect net job from my fishing partner Rob Meusec. Once again, the fish became unhooked in the net, making it relatively easy for me to neuter the lure to prevent damage to fish and fisherman and extract the Muskie from the net for a measurement and a photo. This fish measured in at 39.5 inches and, given the bulk of the body, was easily 19 or 20 pounds. As I placed the fish in the water to release it, I supported its belly and held it upright grasping it near the tail. The fight was not that long but this Muskie seemed to be a bit more lethargic than the fish earlier in the day. I moved the fish in the water and after a time it seemed that he was almost in a trance. I gave him a light tap on the head with my fingertips and he exploded from my grasp. I was numb. It had been a very good day of fishing. The two boated fish and the other action during the day were as the result of that methodical 'fish the spot clean and fish the whole spot' approach. That approach may not have the excitement of

slicing through the water with wind in your face and the power of your boat throbbing under your feet but it produced the excitement of two nice fish in the boat for a time investment of about 8 hours of fishing. Tight Lines

The Underwater Seasons Craig Sandell © 2010 During the course of the Musky season, every body of water undergoes changes in its water temperature as well as changes in the oxygen that is dissolved in the water. As the underwater seasons change, the Musky react to those changes driven by their need to eat and their need to breath. The successful Musky angler must tune into these changes. He/she must be prepared to be flexible with regard to lure selection as well as conducting a better evaluation of water and weather conditions. Late season fishing can be marked by drastic weather changes and dramatic changes in the condition of the water. As the water begins to warm after the long winter months and as emergent vegetation adds oxygen to the water, Musky become more active and settle into their seasonal patterns. For the greater part of the Musky season, most bodies of water are locked into the characteristic thermal distribution commonly referred to as the "summer thermal water pattern". The graphic shown here at the left demonstrates this summer thermal pattern. Water at the surface tends to change gradually in water temperature and tends to have higher levels of oxygen than the water layers beneath it. The thermocline is sort of like a buffer area between the warmer surface water and the cooler deeper water. The

cooler deeper water tends to have the lowest level of oxygen during this period of time. Musky tend to populate the upper water levels when they are active and the lower water levels when they are inactive. The hotter the top layer of water, the more likely Musky are to seek a comfortable temperature at greater depths. At these greater depths, they are less likely to be aggressively active. As summer transitions to fall and the water looses its heat to the longer cooler evenings, the temperature difference between the thermal layers of the lake become less distinct. Most of the oxygen is still located in the surface layer of the water and Musky tend to be more active during this time. Typically, this time is associated with late August and early September. Temperatures will vary depending upon the geographic location and the depth of the body of water so you should keep a close watch upon the water that you plan to regularly fish. The graphic at the right will provide you some perspective regarding this gradual shift in water temperatures. Relentlessly, the seasons move on toward fall. The nights get cooler robbing the water of heat as the warming effect of the sun diminishes due to its lower position in the sky. The water temperature tends to equalize the temperature between the upper warmer and

more oxygen rich layer and the cooler less oxygen rich lower layer. The thermocline is still in place but as you can see from the graphic at the left the water is on the verge of homogenizing into a uniform temperature distribution. This time is a prime Musky activity window but the window is very short lived. It is very difficult to accurately predict the exact time of this water temperature circumstance. You'll just have to trust to "luck" if you are trying to hit this period on the head. NOTE: One should also remember that, depending on the spring warm up, presummer and Imminent turnover are relatively the same water conditions.Finally, the water succumbs to the persistence of the changing season and "turnover" takes place. The thermocline barrier disappears as the water temperature becomes uniform throughout the body of water. This is typically a very slow period for Musky activity. The blending of the oxygen rich upper water and the oxygen poor lower water causes the overall oxygen level to be less than what the Musky are used to having. The Musky require time to adjust to the new oxygen level as well as to the fact that they are "stuck" with a uniform lower water temperature. As you might suspect, this is not a good time to Musky fish. Every body of water will experience turnover on its own timetable so it is very hard to predict. If you plan to fish late in the season, you must "keep your finger on the pulse" of the body of water that you plan

to fish.The Musky soon acclimate to the changes in the water oxygen levels and the temperature. Around late September or early October the Musky put on their winter feed bag and take advantage of the seasonal movement of forage fish. This is typically the time when you have a better than average chance to tie into a 25 to 45 pound fish. This time of year, however, is not for the "fair weather" Musky angler. You can plan on the weather being wet, cold, snowy and generally miserable.Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the mystery of turnover and its effect upon your chances to have a Musky encounter. As has been said in other articles posted on this website, Musky fishing has a large element of luck associated with any angler success. The best thing you can do is be prepared with as much information as you can muster about the water you are fishing and then trust in the "Musky Spirts" to favor your efforts.

Best Barometric Pressure For Fishing By Sean Ward Re-printed with permission There are all kinds of things that you must keep track of when you’re going fishing. From the type of bait you use, to the rod that works best for a given species of fish, the list of things you have to remember can feel overwhelming. However, knowing the best barometric pressure for fishing is something you absolutely cannot overlook. When you’re considering the best times of day to fish, barometric pressure is one of those daily and seasonal fluctuations that will play a huge role in how many fish you catch – if any. Here’s a quick guide to understanding barometric pressure as it relates to your fishing. What Is Barometric Pressure? Barometric pressure is also referred to as “atmospheric pressure.” It is simply the force that is created by the weight of the air...But wait – isn’t air weightless? To a certain extent, yes. However, the combination of water vapor, gas atoms, and an assortment of other particles all produce a light force on the surface of the earth. At the top of a mountain, you are going to have less air above you than if you were at sea level. Therefore, a location at altitude has a lower barometric pressure than one at sea level.

While barometric pressure remains relatively consistent in a climate, many factors can influence fluctuations related to local weather patterns. These weather patterns create pressure ridges of air that impact the barometric pressure. Numerous factors can impact barometric pressure, but it is ultimately determined by the temperature and the movement of the atmosphere. These two factors can cause both high and low pressure. While high pressure usually creates weather conditions that are clear, dry, and calm, low pressure gives you those days that are undeniably miserable – cloudy, windy, and wet. As a general rule of thumb, air tends to travel from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, which can intensify the weather conditions I mentioned above. The lower the barometric pressure is in a given area, the closer to the surface the bad weather will fall – and the worse the weather will get where you are, too. What Are The Normal Ranges Of Barometric Pressure? As I mentioned a moment ago, the biggest predictor of barometric pressure will be the local environment. If you live at a high altitude, your barometric pressure will likely be lower. However, there are also “normal” ranges that you might experience and can reference to determine whether it is a high or low-pressure day. A baseline pressure that can be used is about 29-30 inHg (inches Mercury). Again, this depends on your elevation – so you will want to keep track of your local weather patterns to determine the baseline conditions in your area. As a storm system moves into your area, those readings are going to change. Right in the middle of a

storm, barometric pressure readings will be low – about 26 to 29, in general...But as the storm moves out, the barometric pressure will begin to rise. The pressure will gradually creep back up to normal. If it gets higher than 30 inHg, it can be considered a “high pressure” day. How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing? If you’re an experienced angler, you probably already know that the weather impacts fishing. Therefore, it stands to reason that barometric pressure impacts fishing, too, since it affects the weather...Here’s how. Physiological Changes Although fish are far beneath the surface of the water, they can still sense the changes in atmospheric pressure. This is because their organs experience a change of pressure. Fish feel the changes in barometric pressure via their air bladders, also known as swim bladders. These organs are inflated air sacs that help fish maintain their buoyancy. When the barometric pressure goes down, the air bladder will inflate to accommodate for the lessened pressure. When it rises, the bladder will shrink. These organs, responsible for helping to keep fish afloat, will experience pain and discomfort as the pressure changes. They may have a more difficult time staying balanced, too. To a fish, an inflated swim bladder will feel like a bloated belly for a human. Not comfortable, right? That’s why they want to move around to get rid of the pressure in their bellies. This change is especially pronounced in small fish. Fish that are naturally tiny may feel the effects of pressure changes more easily than those that are larger.

As a result, the fish will head out into deeper waters to weather out a storm. This exodus will help them relieve their discomfort and become more balanced, too. By swimming deeper into the water, the fish will enjoy higher pressure from the weight of the water alone. This reduces the size of the swim bladder. It’s not unlike the pressure changes that occur in an airplane when you fly. While we need advanced technology to stay breathing and comfortable, fish are unique because, they have everything they need to make the change themselves. It’s important to note that the pressure change from a normal or even a high-pressure day won’t have much of an impact on the fish. They will feel more comfortable feeding at all levels of the water column and will likely be more active, too. Feeding Times Fish are often more active, in regards to feeding, when the atmospheric pressure is changing. They tend to feed more right before a storm as well as when it’s moving out. Keep an eye on the barometric pressure, because both of these times will be prime time for going fishing. Not All Fish Are The Same What is important to note is that not all fish are the same – some fish are not always impacted by the change in barometric pressure like others are. However, despite not being affected in the same way, all fish are ultimately affected. Even if they don’t notice any changes, it’s likely that the prey they eat will sense the change in pressure. Where prey goes, predatory fish will follow.

So it stands to reason that as prey feel a change in pressure and head to deeper water to weather the storm, the bigger fish are going to follow them, too. High Pressure Vs. Low Pressure For Fishing While you can fish during times of both high and low pressure, the very best time to go fishing is when the barometric pressure is in the process of changing. Again, fish are more likely to feed at these times. If the barometric pressure is dropping, use faster bait. The fish will be more likely to chase it down since they will be feeding more actively and voraciously. Once the pressure starts to rise after being in a period of low pressure, prepare yourself for a brief period of sluggish feeding behavior. The fish might take some time to turn back on. In fact, it can take a full 12 to 24 hours for them to start feeding again once the storm has moved through. Fishing In High Pressure When the weather is good, fishing in high pressure may seem like a cinch. However, there are changes you are going to want to make to improve your fishing success. For starters, you might want to consider your fishing technique. If you are in a kayak or a small boat, you’ll have an advantage as the water will be calm. That being said, don’t be afraid to fish deep waters. Fish might still be hanging out near structures or in the “deep end.” They also might not be quite as active as they would during a change in barometric pressure, even though the weather is good.

Fish will bite at a slow to medium rate and generally hang out near deep water or undercover. Keep in mind that other factors are impacted during periods of stable barometric pressure, too. For instance, lunar phases, water currents, tides, and wind direction can all help you predict where fish are found. Noting these factors can be helpful if you aren’t sure where else to look – or if you think that barometric pressure isn’t the cause of your fishing troubles. Fishing In Low Pressure When the barometric pressure is low, fish will hang out in deep water. As I told you earlier, they will want to stay deep to help keep the pressure equalized and comfortable in their air bladders. Because the fish are hunkered down, waiting for the storm to pass, they aren’t going to be feeding as actively. Your success on the water will likely be impacted – if the fish aren’t biting, you’re not going to catch them. Fishing will likely slow considerably during times of low pressure. They will stop feeding or slow their feeding and hang out in deep water or undercover. However, that’s not to say that you’re totally without hope. You can always try using bait that moves more slowly – and try fishing where you know the fish are hiding – during these times, too. How To Keep Track Of Barometric Pressure Yourself Barometric pressure is measured in various units of measurement. It is typically referred to in mb, or millibars, by meteorologists. That being said, it can also be documented in hectopascals, which is a recognized measurement by the World Meteorological Organization. In the United States, barometric