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Musky trolling question

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Old 06-16-2008, 02:22 PM   #1
Mad-Eye Moody
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Default Musky trolling question

So the wife is about to pop out a baby, which is putting a damper on my Erie fishing. I am wanting to go after some Muskies in the closer lakes to home where she will be able to bring the baby out on the boat. I figure Milton, West Branch and Berlin are good bets.

My dad grew up on Chataqua lake in NY and could catch a Muskie every trip out, but he didnt troll for them. I am set up for trolling Erie and have most of the gear, except lures. I was wondering if anyone knows any how-to references for these fish that they could recommend to get me started?

I plan to do catch and release.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:54 PM   #2
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Some of the top producing trolling lures in Ohio waters are shad style deep divers. These include Tuff Shads (which are no longer being made ) Bagley Monster Shads, and Rapala Super Shad Raps. I prefer to use a variety of lures when I troll. One of my all time favorites is the Wiley 7 inch headshaker. I've had lots of luck on these in the past. Also, there is a new wiley called a Muskie Killer that is 5.5 inches. Lots of fish have been caught on these. Also, Llungen lures recently made a new shad style troller called a Krusher. Another new shad bait is the Musky Train Diesel. Might want to check these out. Haven't had a chance to try either yet.
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:08 PM   #3
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it seems to me that the Bagley Monster Shads offer great versatility (trolling/casting & many colors) and really do have a ton of action, the best part is their cost- $10-12 each is not bad.... considering Wiley's run around $20 each. Although- I will be getting a couple Wiley's when tax season is passed!
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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I will check those lures out. Thanks.

Anyone know of any books or anything that talks about trolling speeds and habitats?
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
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When trolling for musky you should mix it up often. Speed up, slow down, turn left and then right, goose the throttle and pause it that sort of stuff. You might be at a low end of 2.5 mph on up to 5 mph. I think over 5 is a little much but that doesnt mean it wont work. If you have an average of about 4 mph you are doing pretty good. Just dont run a straight line for 1/2 mile at a constant speed as you'll fall asleep and not catch anything. lol That and the lures MJ suggested will get you started. Definately get some Super Shad Raps. I also like Grandma deep divers, Bucher Depth Raiders, Lil Ernies and Bagleys(but I avoid the monster shads). Run inside lines in the prop wash meaning 12 to 16 yards back. The outside lines should be 25 to 35 yards back. We run heavy braid(65 or 80lb) and set the drag light so that a hard goose to the throttle might pull off an inch or so of line.

You do that and you'll hook up with some muskies. Be sure to have a good set of hook cutters in case you get one that's hooked bad/funny. Also, one last bit of advice. Muskies are a fragile fish especially during the warm water periods of the summer. If you plan to catch and release then you'll want to net the fish and keep it in the net and in the water until you have unhook it and freed it from any tangles in the net. As long as the fish is in the water then it should be ok. A quick photo and away she goes will help to ensure that she swims off ok and can be caught again sometime. Good luck!

CG
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:47 AM   #6
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Thanks CG.

I will have to run some release drills. Releasing while still in the water will be tough because of the distance from my gunnels to the water. Even bringing it in behind the transom without netting will be tough. But I definitely dont want to leave one floating so I will figure something out.

I have seen on TV these long nets that are two sticks you cradle the fish in. That might be my best bet.

My line isnt as heavy as what you are running, but I have literally pulled in other boats that I have snagged on erie while trolling, so I will take my chances with what I have.

I think the best thing for the fish is to bring it in as fast as possible, even if it means risking it coming unbuttoned.

Thanks for the tips. I will do some posting with my program if I get started here in a few weeks.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:32 PM   #7
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I have a couple Bucher Depth Raiders- but don't like the action- I still use em, but they don't wobble half as much as the monster shads. The shad raps work well at real high speeds- but they don't wobble too much either.
But hey- I haven't talked to a muskie in awhile to know what the hell they really like so??
Mad-Eye- just buy 3-4 different types and brands and about 30 different color variations and you'll be good.
Don't forget good quality steel leaders!! If your casting its VERY important to check them every hour or so... last year I lost a $20 bucktail at West Branch becouse my cheap leader clip broke right off!
I plan on making my own soon.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:39 PM   #8
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Mad-eye,

I guess I didnt think about the boat being an Erie rig and the fact that you can't just lean over the side of it. I have used a cradle(two sticks with netting), and found them to be awkward and difficult to deal with. They are better than nothing at all, but a long handle net with a large bag would be ideal. It helps the fish to live to minimize the fight time as much as possible, but be careful that you don't go trying to grab a muskie in your boat while it is still "green." The last thing you want is a musky flopping around inside your boat. That would be bad for you as you could get hurt and it would be very detrimental to the fish. You want the fish tired, but not to the point of complete exhaustion. I guess experience is the best barometer, and once you have caught and handled a few of them you'll have a better idea of what I mean.

You might get by with a little bit lighter line if you're not casting. The big baits tend to snap off on a wicked backlash when casting with lighter braid. However, if you're running 30 or 50lb this will affect the depths your bait is running. You can adjust by changing the amount of line out. Again, I mentioned the prop wash, don't be afraid to run a bait only 10 to 15 yards behind your boat as muskies will often come up and track them and then slam em. Also, be aware of running a deep diver to far back on the outside lines as it could snag in a stump on the bottom and that's no fun.

CG
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:59 PM   #9
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Default All good

All good advice. I use 30 pound power pro and plan to stick to trolling. Im lazy like that.

I use the Precision Trolling 8th edition when trolling with cranks. It is pretty accurate most of the time. Hopefully I can figure out how to stay out of the stumps. Do Muskies suspend or do they stay on the bottom? With Walleye you want the lure right above them. I will get some silver shad-like colors to start. If I have three in a boat I can easily troll 6 rods with planer boards. Ill head to the store and pick up some baits.

If any of you guys that have been so helpful want to take a free trip out, send me a PM. I can provide the boat, rods and Gas if you bring some tackle. I prefer the Milton, Westbranch, Berlin area because of fuel. Im in Akron. Portage lakes are even better, but I dont know that they have Muskies.

I looked up Musky killer, without realizing it was a Willeys item. It came up as a spinner. Anyone troll spinners??? Or should I start with cranks. I dont want to spend more than $100 to start with this, so I figure Rapalas and Bagleys to start.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:54 PM   #10
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A good net will run you that much. Yes you can troll buck tail spinners but you'll have to weight them or limit your speed.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:07 PM   #11
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I use in-line weights with worm harnasses. I assume they will sink on the same curve.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:35 PM   #12
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I wouldnt get any spinners initially. They are more ideal for casting and maybe slow trolling in shallow water. However, with it being summer and the water warming the fish will begin to set up in their summer pattern which plays right into the program for trolling. They'll generally suspend over depths of 15 to 30 feet of water. If you find the bait pods then you'll likely find some muskies. Again, you are going to want to use speed to trigger the fish and if you're running boards then maybe more speed up, slow down stuff. Again, a good basis is 4 and then add in some pauses and throttle gooses and dont be afraid to kick it up to 5mph for a couple hundred yards. The rapalas will generally run about 6-10 feet down and bagleys can get down to 20 feet. We like our baits to be near the 10 foot down mark. That's just a tail kick for a musky suspended down about 20 feet. As the thermocline gets established they wont be any deeper than that.

Oh, and be sure and post some photos when you catch one. I don't live up that way, but I think most guys in your neighborhood prefer West Branch.

CG
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:36 AM   #13
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Thanks again. If I get Lucky I will be sure to post up!
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #14
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Default Lure Retreiver

I would get a lure retreiver to rescue musky baits that get snagged. I have saved alot of money using a lure retreiver from Bass Pro shops. I haven't lost a lure yet and I have been snagged many of times.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:51 AM   #15
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Default That is a good idea

At 10$+ a pop I will have to get a lure retriever. Thanks.
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