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With only a few remaining weeks of musky fishing before I devote all my attention to steelhead, I figured I'd share a couple of things I've learned while on the water fishing for muskies this year. Its one thing reading about it in a book or magazine, but nothing beats learning on the water. Seems like every trip I learn something. What are one or two things you have learned this musky season? Here are mine...

1) Muskies will often strike twice at the same topwater lure on the next successive cast as long as it doesn't feel the hook and the hookset during the first strike. Whether the musky misses the lure completely or briefly catches the trailer hook or some other part of the lure body, it doesn't seem to matter. The chances are fairly good that a musky will strike again. Just get the lure back out there quickly! My explanation for this is that any musky that blows up on any topwater lure, is an aggressive and "hot" fish. In other words, it wants to eat and eat bad!

2) Muskies are not the only creatures that like to attack musky lures. I hesitate to mention this, because its hard even for me to believe... and I witnessed it with my own eyes! On my favorite body of water and at my favorite spot, I've witnessed a kingfisher attempt to pluck my buddy's old collectable Heddon Vamp out of the water 4 times on 4 separate attempts. The kingfisher strategically perched itself in close proximity to where we were casting and couldn't resist the temptation of dive-bombing the Vamp! One time the kingfisher dive-bombed the lure, stopped mid way and hovered for 2 or 3 seconds as if to inspect the lure closely before completing its kamikaze-like decent. As if this wasn't special enough, two weeks later we had a bald eagle repeatedly circle overhead at the same spot about 15 feet above our heads contemplating whether to dive-bomb the Vamp. It never did, probably because it felt a little uneasy with us standing there, but it was very close to. What special moments these were!

I'm interested in hearing one or two things you've learned this musky season... how about sharing it with us?!
 

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Harasser of Fish
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Muskie fishing don't get good till the leaves are gone and the creeks/rivers have some water in them.

Topwater muskies are a blast. Best thing I ever learned there was not to watch the lure, or you will miss.

Watched a huge owl pick up a buddy's Hellbender Cherry Twist(topwater) while we were casting at Leesville several years back. He looks over at me and say's "what do I do now?" . Luckily, The owl decided that it was'nt anything to eat and dropped it.

Always something to learn when your a muskie fisherman. I've caught a couple and look forward to hitting them hard when my catfish tournies are over(mid October).
 

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Searchin for Skees & Eyes
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I've learned to do this every year... again & again. Its tough after 6-8 hours straight of casting maybe I get lazy on 5 casts all day and then it happens... Its cost me 4-5 fish in the last 2 years.

Also-

When your on your favorite lake- don't limit yourself to your favorite spot or stretch of water.... Find MORE favorite spots! Push yourself to move.
 

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FishBum
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I gave up, a long time ago, trying to figure muskies out or trying to pattern them. It is nearly impossible. I found a couple things made for a better success rate for me. These are things I CAN control....Some things we just cannot and the sooner some folks realize that, the sooner they will become better muskie anglers IMO.

- Constantly check, maintain and take good care of your equipment.
Rods
Reels
Line
Leaders
Hooks
Lures
Rod Holders

- Put quality time in
-Make mental notes of where and when things work for you
-Don't just go through the motions (Make EVERY cast, troll or pass count as if
theres a fish behind it)
-Understand and learn weather patterns and make notes of when you have the
most success

- Have an Open Mind and Stay Confident and Positive -
Often times, I'll find myself using a lure that I have little confidence in and thats the one that will most likely not catch a fish, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the lure...if you know what I mean. Keep an open mind for the time when that muskie does the exact opposite of what the "Book of Muskies" you just read told you they'd never do! Don't get frustrated and don't put too much pressure on yourself....when you find that the time comes when you're not really having fun with muskie fishing, its probably time to take a break from it.

- Do your own thing.
Take things that outside influences tell you with a grain a salt. Whether its a manufacturer of a new product, your buddy down the road whos caught 3 muskies in his life but is the local pro, or a well seasoned muskie guy. Try different things and take advice, but learn most from your own experiences out on the water, melt it all together to develop your own unique style.

- Finally, Have Fun!
Enjoy what you're out there doing and treat what your after and where your doing it
with the respect they deserve.

Learning will come naturally, especially if you have passion for what you're doing. Unless you're a know it all and there certainly some of those out there. Good Luck and good thread!
 

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I was going to put up a nice long post about what I've learned this year, but shutupnfish beat me to it. I think he said about everything I was going to say, and some. I will say that our number one lesson was to stay positive. This appears to be a recurring theme, season after season. The more positive you are, the more confidence you will have, and with more confidence, comes more fish.
 

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Trophy Tamer
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;) From my experiences, just about the time when you're losing hope is when the rod buckles in half with drag pullin'. I've stumbled across this more than once. I've learned there is no magic forumla, lure, or spot that produces fish, it's a combination of all factors. I find the more fun I'm having on the water, the more fish I usually catch. Saying comments out loud like "I suck at fishing, we should just go home".....then chuckling about it, is sometimes the cure for the skunk. My buddy landed his first, a 41", trolling our way back to the ramp.

And as Baddfish said, the whole "paying attention" thing has bit me in the butt a few times this year. At Chautauqua with 1roof, we were casting a deep weed edge and he had a monster follow. As I'm looking at this fish following his figure 8, a 40 incher had my jerkbait in his mouth about 10 feet from the boat. When I looked up and saw what that light tug on my line was, it was too late. Muskies seem to always show themselves at my weakest moment :D
 

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Great thread!

I bought a few muskie chatterbaits, and a few weeks later I read that they were "junk and didn't work". Because of this, they sat in my box for over a year. Finally, I pulled one out after fishing a weed bed for over 30 minutes with various lures, and BAM - I hooked a muskie on the first crank!

I've put a lot of hours in with little results, but I'm finally starting to get a little confidence. Posts like this keep me encouraged!
 

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I think that there are times when the fish just flat turn on and things open up for this small window of time. You'll sometimes talk to guys on the water and hear that say, between 3:15 and 4:30 pm a lot of the guys caught fish. Before and after that window on that day????....nothing.

If you're on the waters when that happens you're golden.

And then there are the other times.........:D

During those times you have to find a way to trigger a strike. I try to do that when casting by working a variety of different bait profiles and styles in and around any good casting spot. Many times, I've seen situations where its almost as if the fish is waiting for the right pitch before he decides to "hit it out of the park." You're trying different baits and when you get to just the right style/color/wobble/depth....WHAM!

I almost never tie on just one given bait and use only that all day. I'll try minnow type baits, then cranks, then jerks, etc.

I'll also rotate through 2 or 3 color patterns for a given style of bait body and I pay a LOT of attention to follows and at least try to figure out how to turn those following scenarios into strikes next time around, even before the fish decides to follow...In other words, try to trigger that fish or the next one into striking NOW instead of following it back to the boat. I know...sometimes it seems like they just enjoy following the darn bait, but you get the idea; you have an interested musky...Is there a way to turn this into a strike? What just happened? Was the bait a bit too big? Too small? Too slow/fast? Was the color pattern just a tad 'off' somehow?

I carry quite an arsenal of jerkbaits and with these I often have the best luck casting. Same deal...I rotate through the styles, speeds, colors, and different portions of the water column to see what yields the best and quickest results.

When trolling I like to try different baits and colors, of course.
But I also don't hesitate to work different parts of the water column by either using different baits or feeding out more or less line to place a given bait in a higher or lower spot on the water column. And then you can also try using boat speed as variable.

I think one of the reasons musky fishing is interesting is because it can be, at least at certain times, like a sort of chess game. Make the right moves and you can sometimes make things happen.



















....or not.:D
 

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Muskie 1 Trolling Thunder
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I have seen these things happen more than a few times

While trolling a muskie will most likely hit when you are the most unprepared for it.

As soon as you tell another fisherman that the lure they are using is probably not the best one to be using at that time they will catch a fish with it.

After muskie fishing for many many years and you have one totally great unbelievable year keep your mouth shut.
 

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I have a lure which is one everyone bangs fish on except for me. I've had it 5 years and ran it side by side with my buddies lure (the same color,make etc). and his rod would go off.... well it finally caught a fish this year.
 

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Muskie 1 Trolling Thunder
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I had 5 blue and chrome fingerlings all exactly the same 1 of them caught over 70 fish over the years the other 4 never caught a thing. Some lures just have that special something that fish like.
When out fishing and you are catching fish don’t be afraid to tell someone that asked you what you are using. Tell them because it does not mean they will catch any fish anyway.
 

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yep you can tell them what color, lure and location and it could just be a waste of time. What works well for you, may not do the same for others.
I think it all boils down to confidence. That's what can make each day more productive
 

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Multi Species Angler
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I learned that there is more than one way to skin a cat. When a busy weekend shows you multiple boats hammering your bread and butter spots.........go find a new spot. Fish where they aint fishing and you just might find that there are fish biting.
 

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Tom B.
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Purchased a Muskie Train loco shad last week. They come with the belly hook bent in a "T" shape. Great idea for stopping hook rash.
 

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I just got into musky fishing this year and it can be very frustrating at times. Lost lures, missed opportunities, follows, spit the hook, etc.... But nothing can compare to fighting one of these beasts and then watching it swim away for another fanatic to catch it. I got down alot on myself this year about musky fishing. I learned staying positive and persistant can pay off, in three days i caught three muskies all on foot. Thats what made everything worth it after a 2 month slump. STAY POSITIVE!!!
 

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I have found this year that if you do not fish for them you will catch them. 39so far and not one caught targeting them. Also SIZE DOES NOT MATTER!!!;) Caught them on 1/8th ounce jigs and 3" tails to 1 1/2" long cranks as well as the trusty chrome blue husky jerks. I have also found that many fish stay in same area for long periods of time if they move at all have caught one muskie 6 times now from same spot on same lure all year so far. My pet i have named him Dingbat :D Hope fall allows for some saugeyes to hit instead of muskies!!
 
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