Pike and Muskie

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Hodag Hunter
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Hodag Hunter » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:06 am

BassBoysLLP wrote:
Hodag Hunter wrote:You don't know for sure on any used reel, as anything, just be carefull on pricing.

I probably wasn't clear enough in my previous post, if you don't rip a lot of big rubber all reels listed above will last for years before rebuilding.

Rome mentions he owns a Lexa HS, will work for what he is using it for. My buddy bought one in the morning and that same afternoon had the gears strip from ripping rubber. Returned it the next day to the sport shop for defective reel.

I can snap the anti-reverse on a Diawa Luna in less than an hour ripping rubber. Using a Luna on smaller stuff and not ripping, the reel will last quite a while.

I don't own a 400d so can't comment on longevity but are a smooth reel. If you like it, run with that. I just didn't think it would hold up to ripping rubber.

If you haven't figured out by now I throw rubber a lot. LOL.


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You ever snag one ripping that hard? I've heard of guys snagging them with bulldawgs on accident. Never did it myself.


Yes we have had a few foul hooked muskie but not many.

Below picture is what is more common. This was about a month ago and one of the smaller size bait fish I've accidently snagged. A side note, the tube is not what I would consider big rubber doing damage to a reel, was just a day where a tube would out perform a bulldawg.


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Hodag Hunter
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Hodag Hunter » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:12 am

Rome wrote:I just grabbed a Beast in 6.4:1 as well, and am heading up to Hodag's part of the state today through Sunday to give it a good test run. I like how it sits on my St Croix Legend Big Nasty, really looking forward to giving it a good test ride. I needed a breather from the treestand, and figured the best way to clear my head before rut was standing on the casting deck of my boat in Vilas County while dragging some meat!!!


I have mine on a big dawg. I like it so far.

Haven't been on water since saturday, deeper clear lakes were still flipping and darker water(had 48-49 degrees) was outperforming clear. Would guess the same will hold for this weekend as the days are still getting warm early in the week. Hit 60 for a high yesterday, 37 this morning heading to work. (Air temps)

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Hodag Hunter » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:16 am

BassBoysLLP wrote:Hodag, what are your thoughts on Okuma reels for ripping?


Never tried them, my guess and only a guess they won't hold up to continued abuse. My opinion is driven from cost alone.

Dirt, good find on the rods. A guy can never have too many rods and reels, like a women and shoes.

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Rome » Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:23 am

Dewey wrote:
Rome wrote:I just grabbed a Beast in 6.4:1 as well, and am heading up to Hodag's part of the state today through Sunday to give it a good test run. I like how it sits on my St Croix Legend Big Nasty, really looking forward to giving it a good test ride. I needed a breather from the treestand, and figured the best way to clear my head before rut was standing on the casting deck of my boat in Vilas County while dragging some meat!!!

Good luck Rome. Hope you have better luck than I did a few weeks ago up in Vilas. I have the next few weeks off work so if hunting is too slow I may shoot up there for a few days again.


Thanks. I found myself not as alert and careful on stand while hunting the last few outings and I know that I need to hit the reset button then. Musky fishing is the best way I know on how to do that.
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Rome » Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:24 am

Hodag Hunter wrote:
Rome wrote:I just grabbed a Beast in 6.4:1 as well, and am heading up to Hodag's part of the state today through Sunday to give it a good test run. I like how it sits on my St Croix Legend Big Nasty, really looking forward to giving it a good test ride. I needed a breather from the treestand, and figured the best way to clear my head before rut was standing on the casting deck of my boat in Vilas County while dragging some meat!!!


I have mine on a big dawg. I like it so far.

Haven't been on water since saturday, deeper clear lakes were still flipping and darker water(had 48-49 degrees) was outperforming clear. Would guess the same will hold for this weekend as the days are still getting warm early in the week. Hit 60 for a high yesterday, 37 this morning heading to work. (Air temps)

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Thanks for info. We'll be hitting up the NW part of Vilas, near Winchester area. Plenty of those shallower, darker lakes in that area to keep us busy.
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Hodag Hunter » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:21 am

Good luck on a big one.

As I'm sure you can guess, sucker prices unreal again, about 10 bucks a piece.

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Rome » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:33 am

Hodag Hunter wrote:Good luck on a big one.

As I'm sure you can guess, sucker prices unreal again, about 10 bucks a piece.

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We can get them for $6 if we preorder with our local dealer, so we're bringing a dozen up. I hope it comes down to us having to shell out $10 a piece for a few more, as that means fishing is GOOOOD.
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby dirt nap giver » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:03 am

Hodag Hunter wrote:Good luck on a big one.

As I'm sure you can guess, sucker prices unreal again, about 10 bucks a piece.

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I buy mine by the half gallon. Much cheaper. Only downfall is, you have to be there when the truck delivers.
Set up a tank in the garage.

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Rome » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:09 pm

I had one of those trips where we were a day late or early on lake choices, missed some opportunities, but had a great time regardless of getting the ol' skunkaroony. I had a good season up north leading up to that trip, so I really can't complain.
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Sam Ubl » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:02 am

Well here's a fun discussion topic.

Dirt Nap Giver, how has the learning curve been so far? I saw the mention of recommendable rod/reel combos - here are some thoughts...

Nothing is inexpensive in muskie fishing. Unless you can afford $500 - $800 for stick and string, start with an all around setup that can be applied towards anything you're looking to throw and can be fished in multiple ways comfortably. If you find yourself getting hooked on the sport and decide to elevate your game, then spend some dollars to refine your equipment towards specific applications. Just starting out, spend $120 on an 8' Okuma EVX (XH) and pair it up with a $120 Abu Garcia C3 round baitcast reel. For a $240 you'll have starting point to try just about anything you want to throw in the beginning stages. You don't need a Revo BEAST series reel ($400) or a Shimano Tranx reel ($500) if you're just starting out - reels like these are designed to hold up to the kind of beating it will take you a couple years of learning (at the very least) to develop a habit of doing. For $20 you can pick up a Power Handle for your Ambassador reel (the C3 I recommended) and it will put a little ease on your forearm if you get caught up throwing bigger bladed bucktails all day long.

As you develop your technique for working various lures, only then will you recognize what kind of upgrades are needed to perform at your level. That's when you pull out your wallet and get more heavily invested - financially. For example, I started with the reel I recommended to you nearly 20-years ago, and have since upgraded substantially to hold up to the rigors of how I work certain lures I'm fond of. I do a lot of ripping and although I grip the front end of the rod and tuck the back of the cork under my armpit, I still tend to subconsciously pull on the reel handle as evident by the issues that come of it - it's a bad habit and it's blown up some expensive reels (Abu Garcia REVO NACL's @ $300 per) over the years. So, being as invested into muskie fishing as I am, I've upgraded for the who knows how many times to a more durable construction that handles the stress I put on them and I can trust.

Books and articles are a great starting point, it's years of experience at your finger tips. Even better, short clips on YouTube.com or MuskieFIRST.com can demonstrate different techniques for working certain lures, different postures while casting and retrieving, as well as figure-eight techniques and hook setting rod angles for different situations. Even so, while reading and watching can give you insight and raise questions in your mind, the only way to prove theories out and get answers back is to spend time on the water. It sounds like a generic answer, but I'm sure you get it. I think for me it wasn't until I had some serious time spent on the water with trials and LOTS of errors that the articles I was reading and the tips that were being offered began making more sense to me.

One of the greatest lessons I could ever offer you would be to start learning the bottom of the freshwater food chain and work your way up to the top - muskies. This means more than the simple food pyramid where plankton is eaten by small fish, slightly bigger more aggressive fish eat the smaller fish, big fish eat the medium size fish, and so on... There is much, much more to understand. The rule of thumb is simple - find the forage and you will find the muskies nearby - but to find the bait you must learn the relationship between seasonal and weather conditions and how they affect forage fish migrations to the shallows, to the deep, and everywhere in between. Eventually you get to a point where you're picking up on conditional patterns, albeit short lived, that can make a regular day into a memory for a lifetime.

Here's one example and take from it what you will...

It was early June and the cold had been lingering all spring. An overdue warm-up finally arrived and after a few days of rising water temperatures and warmth lasting through the nights, the first mayfly hatch of the year showed up. It wasn't the kind of hatch so think it's picked up like clouds on weather radars, but substantial enough to leave a lasting impression one windy day when I was on the water.

I've always been a proponent of fishing current seams in lakes where you can find them on windy days, usually off the tip of a point or an island. After a few hours of lasting wind pushing past a distinct point, foam will be evident on the surface and usually a "chum line", as I like to call it, will show up on good electronics beneath the surface of these current seams traced by the foam. The underwater current from the waves tends to separate plankton from the weeds, which are carried beneath the surface in the direction of the wind-driven lake current. It's kind of like a toilet bowl effect when you flush, just not nearly to that extreme. As the current is directed around a large obstacle, like a sharp point or an island, a current seam will form with a trail of edibles and debris, such as silt, broken weed stalks, and plankton along for the ride - so goes my interpretation of a "chum line".

The smaller forage fish, like bluegills and perch, will feed on the plankton and typically hang on the lee side of the points or islands near the current seam to digest in the calmer warmer water. The metabolism of a fish increases in warmer water, so fish can feed more due to their ability to digest faster.

On this particular afternoon, with the wind reaching the high-teens and blowing steady out of the west, I nosed the boat into the wind along one such current seem off a sharp point with the waves crashing into the west shore. The mayfly hatch from the day before must have lasted into the morning of this particular day because the skins of these bugs were floating by on the surface and beneath. I cross-crossed with my boat slowly and watching my electronics for water temperatures and the chum line I could visibly see by the naked eye. There, below the evident cloud of debris caught up in this current seam, were pods of baitfish stacked up and clearly feeding on the mayfly skins and plankton available in the chum line. And there, below those pods of baitfish, was a big hook, and then another. Muskies!

I put my trolling motor to the test that day, but it lasted for hours. I spent my time that day bouncing between this particular spot and a couple others casting larger crankbaits and big rubber baits, like the Pounder Bulldawg and Monster Medussa, and by the end of the day I had landed four muskies between 40 - 48" that were no doubt feeding on the panfish that were undoubtedly feeding on the chum line.

Fish innately will face into the current and I from my experience, I know that muskies prefer to chase down or reactively snap at baits that are retrieved horizontally past their face or from in front of them, but rarely have I seen a muskie chase down a lure that's brought past them from behind, and there's very little opportunity for one to reactively snap at one that comes from behind, as well. With this notion in the back of my mind, I casted perpendicular across the current seems and into the wind. A combination of having an easier time controlling my casts into the strong wind with the heavier baits, along with the idea a bigger bait pulled through a school of tightly schooled baitfish would separate them and create a focal point upon itself to elicit the attention of a lurking muskie was behind my motivation to cast the baits I did.

Notice the foam on the water?
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Fish school for a reason - safety from predation. It's more daunting to pick out a single baitfish to chase down in a tight school than it would be to chase down a solo baitfish. Sometimes when you see baitfish scatter and jumping in multiple directions on the surface it's because a predator fish swam into the center of the school to break them up and disorient them with the intention of picking out a loner to feed on. With this reasoning in mind, I elected to use my lure as the solo activist breaking up the schools of baitfish. My hope was the presence of my lure being larger than the perch and bluegills that were feeding on the chum line would elicit more appeal because it's not only slower than living baitfish, but it's bigger size means more food in the belly with less effort of chasing down multiples, and it creates the "loner" appeal.

If it weren't for all the logic that went into this particular approach I took on this windy day just after a mayfly hatch, I may have just been another boat on the water seeking the shelter of calm bays to avoid the discomfort and very likely ending up with far less action than I did.

This is just one experience. The next day was a totally different day. Bluebird skies and little to no wind. The fish that were there that day surely weren't there the next - they had no reason to be. To be effective on the water you need to stay on your toes. Game plan a couple of ideas to put to the test on that calm high-pressure following day. What would you target? Cover? Structure? Varying depths?

A hint... Deeper water means less affect due to weather. Guess where I'd have spent the next day looking for active fish...
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Dewey » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:06 am

Good info Sam. Thanks for sharing. 8-)

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby dirt nap giver » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:07 pm

Sam, deep water is the answer to your last question.

Very interesting post. I had to read it a few times.

This year I spent a big portion getting the new boat set up. I bought a Humminbird 1199ci as I needed to upgrade the electronics from what came on the boat. I learned quite a bit from the guys on this topic about rods, reels etc.....

I experienced my first follow this year, which was a rush. Other than that I am having a hard time even finding the fish. But I kept at it even into the fall. I learned to be particular on the body of water I fish as there aren't a lot of lakes close to me that hold Muskie. I have my Christmas list packed with books and videos.

I have spent quite a bit of time watching you tube and learning as much as I can. But the learning curve has been long.

Objectives for this year are, read and study, book a charter on a few bodies of water and try to find fish on my own.

I will post more tomorrow when I have time. Thanks for the replies and the feedback guys.

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Sam Ubl » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:23 pm

Well you're all set to go on the rig, sounds nice. Like anything, sometimes success comes when you're going against the grain of what makes sense. I wrote an article for Musky Hunter that was published in the Dec 14/Jan 15 issue that hit right on this topic. If you have that issue, check it out. Basically, while experience leads a guy to make the right choices on the water "most" of the time, sometimes when it doesn't it makes a man overthink when all they needed to do was get back to basics and do something they havent done much of since earlier on.

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Hodag Hunter
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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby Hodag Hunter » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:25 pm

Dirt Nap

Offer still stands for next year, we just need to get our schedules to mesh.

Looking for videos check out the Badfish videos. My good buddies made them. If you watch their videos I can introduce you to Mark Lijewski, he is my #1 fishing partner and we have fished all over WI, MN and Canada together. He keeps a low profile now, as the northern WI fishing pressure has increased a lot in the last few years.

This is a new book to check out also.
http://www.muskyhuntercatalog.com/index ... uct_id=297

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Re: Pike and Muskie

Postby brkissl82 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:48 pm

Anyone have any tips for catch big northern. I'm kind of just getting into northern fish. I'm gona be fishing a large shallow lake (lake puckaway) just curious how you guys would go about it. The lakes about 7ft deep max wit a river channel running through it. Thanks guys

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