How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Musky Tacke Defined

By Bill Lodi

Musky Tackle can get extremely expensive, just like any other type of species specific fishing. It's not uncommon to spend two-hundred dollars for just the Musky fishing rod alone, and then add on the reel, line, steel leaders, and then obviously the lures, which in itself can run over $15.00 for just one lure. It all depends on how far you want to take your musky fishing. The better the equipment that you want, the more it will cost. But quality, always comes first in my book. Always purchase quality made products, since that is all that stands between you and that fish of a lifetime. You don't want to second chance quality gear. Buy the best that you can afford. You won't regret it.

This list is just a basic one for some of the tackle that you will need to purchase for your Musky fishing outings. There can be variations of course, but this is just a general guideline to follow when purchasing your Musky tackle. First off let's talk about Musky rods.


Musky rods come in many different composites, lengths, sizes, and applications. Personally, I like a rod that is one piece, stiffer at the tip (for easier casting), has a solid backbone, ceramic guides, aliminum oxide tip, and also a long cork handle with a finger grip. My chioce of Musky rods are St.Croix, G Loomis, Falcon, and All Star. These four brands are in the higher dollar price range, but all of them are top notch, quality products. Length sizes that I prefer are in the 6 foot to 7 foot range. A 6'-6" pole is just about the perfect length for all casting purposes. Graphite, IM-6, and IM-7 composites are great for all casting purposes also. I personally prefer a graphite pole. For a good quality pole with a decent price tag, check out the Tony Rizzo series made by South Bend

Musky rods also come in several tip softnesses. If you are going to do a lot of bucktail or spinnerbait casting, you would want a rod with a softer or what we call a "faster" tip. So that you use the leverage of the rod tip to make a longer and more accurate cast. If you would be casting a large and heavy crankbait or a jerkbait you would want a tip that is harder or "stiffer". A harder or stiffer tip allows the heavier bait to flow out of the tip quicker with less effort, thus allowing you to cast farther and more accurate with less effort.


Reels come in all sizes, shapes, materials, and gear ratios. Choose a reel that has a quality ball bearing system that is made from aluminun or stainless steel. Abu Garcia is known worldwide for their high quality musky reels. I highly reccomend an Abu Garcia reel in either the C-3 series or the Ambassadeur Star Series. Shimano also makes a great Musky reel in the Calcutta or Corsair series. In any event choose one that fits and feels comfortably in your hand.


There are dozens of Musky line and Musky braids out on the market. Cortland "Musky Master", Berkley "Whiplash", Power Pro, and Tuff Line are a few of the best lines. I would reccomend a line in the 30 to 60 lb test for most applications. Just remember your fishing line is the direct link to your fish of a lifetime. If you notice any abrasions, nicks, or stressed out areas, cut that section out and re-tie your leader or lure to a fresh piece.


Lures come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. There are top water buzz lures, deep crankbaits, glider/jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and bucktails, to just name a few of the more common ones. You will want to have a few of each to cover most fishing situations. These are a few of the best ones out there. Just make sure you use a high quality leader to attach your lure to. Sampo, Berkley, Bucher Bait, and South Bend all make great steel leaders for Musky applications.


1) Rapala Shallow divers in Perch, Chub, Orange Shad, Firetiger, and white/red patterns.
2) Pete Mania's "Ernie" Bait in Perch, Glitter, and Chartreuse patterns.
3) Depth Raider and Baby Raider both jointed and unjointed made by Bucher Baits, in Perch, Chub, Walleye, Firetiger, and Silver patterns.
4) Slammers in Walleye, Perch, Firetiger, and Orange patterns.
5) Believer's in Bumble Bee, Perch, Walleye, and Fire patterns.

Bucktail and Spinnerbaits

1) Mepp's Giant Killer and Musky Killer bucktails in all color combinations, especially perch, firetiger, black, and white/red patterns.
2) Buchertail in all color combinations.
3) Ghost Tails made by Hirsch's, in all color combinations.
4) Northland's Bionic Bucktail in all color patterns.
5) Dragon Tails Bucktails made by Ray's Lure Manufacturing, in all color patterns.
6) Tony Rizzo's Bucktail in all color patterns.
7) Dorazio's Boo Tail in all color pattrerns.
8) Fudally's Musky Candy and Stump Hawg in al color patterns.


1) Suick's in all color patterns, especially perch, white, walleye, and firetiger patterns.
2) The Pig and Pig Jr. in all color patterns.
3) Musky Mania's "Burt" in Perch, Walleye, Firetiger and orange patterns.
4) Bobbie Baits in all color patterns.
5) Cobb's Jerk baits in all color patterns.
6) Fudally's Reef Hawgs in all color patterns.


1) Buzzbaits and Double Buzzbaits in all colors especially black and hot green.
2) Hellraiser in all color patterns.
3) Tallywackers in all color patterns.
4) Hi-Fin's Creepers and Teaser Tails in all color patterns.
5) Mouldy's Propper Topper in all color patterns especially black and orange.
6) Slammer's Thunderhead in all color patterns.

Miscellaneous Items

Now that you have all the gear, you will need a good tackle box to put it all in. Plano, Flambeau, and Lakewood all make the perfect boxes for all of your equipment. They all make them in either soft boxes or hard plastic boxes. Just choose one that fits your style.

You will also need a good pair of long needle nose pliers, hook cutter, fingernail clipper, mouth/jaw spreader, a quality landing net or a cradle, and a 50 inch measuring stick. Last but not least, a disposable camera for a few snapshots of your trophy catch.

Take care and please practice C.P.R. (Catch, Photo, Release)

Bill Lodi
Rippn-Lip Guide Service


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