How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Evolution of Musky Lures

by Randy Mead

I have only been Musky fishing since 1990 so I am not what you would call an old timer. But I have been doing it long enough to have seen the evolution of Musky lures and the flooding of lure types and manufacturers on the market. It seems that everyone is out to build a better mouse trap.

Today you have over one hundred different manufacturers to choose from and close to five hundred different styles or variations, not to mention the vast amount of color patterns available. Does that mean that you can’t pull out an original black Bobbie bait and not catch fish? No. The lure market has been inundated with products, making it almost impossible for someone new to the sport to have a clue where to start.

I remember when I started, it was pretty simple. Jerkbaits, you had to have a Suick, Bobbie Bait, Reef Hawg and maybe an Eddie Bait. Crankbaits, you had Crane Baits, Rapalas and Hartman lures (remember those). Surface lures, there were Topper Stoppers and Tally Whackers. Yea, there were probably a few more to choose from, but you had to have at least one of all of these in your box not to mention a black bucktail.

Now, there are so many lures out there, how do you know where to begin. Not to mention the fact that the average cost of a good Musky lure today is almost $20. Now taking that into consideration, look in your tackle box and count the number of lures that you have. Take that times $20 and go tell your wife how much that adds up to. I bet after that she wants to know where her diamond tennis bracelet is.

Do we really need this many lures to choose from. When I look in my own tackle box, I have over one hundred wood baits and countless bucktails. But when I stop and think about it, there are only a few that I use on a regular basis. Some haven’t seen water in years. But you know what, I continue to buy more, lures that I can’t do without.

The best is when you decide to try a new lake. So you get into town and stop at the local tackle shop to see what the hot lure is right now. And as it goes, it just happens to be the one that you don’t have so you buy it. For me, I get out there and end up throwing something I had in my box anyway.

Here is a question for anyone. Have there been innovations in lures where the lures of today are better and more productive than the ones of old? I don’t think so. I still catch most of my fish on the classics. Suicks, Bobbies, Cranes and bucktails. There are a couple of lures that came along shortly after I started that I will also throw into the “classic” category and they are the Bucher Depth Raiders and the Giant Jackpot.

Really, do I need five different colors of a Phantom? Do I need a Manta? Won’t a good old Reef Hawg do the same thing?

The other problem I have is that the quality of the classic lures has diminished. Suicks, Reef Hawgs and Bobbies are not what they used to be. Maybe this is why other lures become available. Suicks of today, it takes hours of tuning to get them to run right. Reef Hawgs, I don’t know what happened to them, but buy five and you might get one that works right. Bobbies, I don’t even bother. I just hope the old ones I have hold up.

I know that I used to always say that Crane baits are great, but they don’t hold up when you get a big fish and that it would be nice to make a lure that had the same action but was more durable. Well, along came Big Game and yes I bought one. Now I go out, what do I put on the line, my trusty Crane bait. It still works just as good as it ever did.

Our sport has grown immensely in the past fifteen years. Did anyone think that we would have a competitive Musky Tournament Trail available? More people are fishing Muskies than ever before. On the up side, the resource is better than it ever was. Thanks to organizations like Muskies, Inc. and Muskies Canada, the regulations have been changed to protect this fragile resource. It is only a matter of time before the World Record is broken. And it is the members of Muskies, Inc. and Muskies Canada that will be responsible thanks to the practice of catch and release.

As for now, I will continue to buy the next sure thing when it comes to lures. But honestly, I feel just as confident with the classics. A sucker born every minute.

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