Suick Thrillers-The Quintessential musky jerkbait.
When most people think of top places to catch musky, they most likely think of Minnesota, Wisconsin or somewhere in Canada. New Jersey has not historically been high on this list and I doubt you'll see many musky enthusiasts taking vacations to the Garden State to tangle with these toothy giants. However, through the efforts of the state and a handful of local organizations, we now officially have a viable population of muskellunge for the catching. The first musky stocking in New Jersey waters occurred nearly 30 years ago, and we're now starting to see the fruits of this program as more fish over the magic 50-inch mark are being pulled from our waters.
This past year, I've begun to turn my attention and my resources to producing more encounters with these fabled fish. I've had a few near misses over the years and have actually landed three musky since January. Although only one of them even came close to 30 inches, I think it's a good start for just beginning to target a fish most will go their whole lives without catching.
The first two of my fish came through the ice, and as fall (musky time) approaches, I wanted to be prepared with the right tackle to better my chances of catching one. I knew a little bit about musky lures, but after taking a look on Rollie and Helen's (http://www.muskyshop.com/) and The Thorne Bros. (www.thornebros.com/), I could tell there was a whole lot more that I needed to know.
So, like any good, insane fisherman and lure junky, I did some research. And lots of it.
Although the following is by no means an extensive or complete list of musky baits, it's enough to get you started, and without breaking the bank. Because of their size and quality construction, musky lures are typically more expensive than your average Bomber or Rapala. I've broken these handful of examples down into 4 categories: bucktails, topwaters, jerkbaits and crankbaits.
A Mepp's "Giant Killer" and a Vince Bianchi "Glitter Bitch."
Bucktails are one of the most popular, if not the most popular, styles of musky baits. They're also one of the easiest to use. Although there are factors to be considered such as weight, blade style and size, maribou or bucktail skirts and single or tandem blades, the basic principle behind these baits is to cast it out and reel it in. The blade gives off flash and vibration, triggering a musky to strike. For starters, try retrieving these baits at a speed that will keep them above weed beds or cast them next to structure, drop-offs and logs.
The Suick "Nitewalker" and the Drifter-Musky Mania "Doc."
It is without question that the most exciting way to catch a musky, or any fish for that matter, is on a topwater. Seeing a fish explode on a surface lures can be one of the most heart-stopping moments in fishing. A good surface lure makes noise and displaces a lot of water. Because of this, these are great lures to use at night as well. The lure on top is the "Nitewalker" made by Suick. It's a revolutionary bait designed by Northwoods fishing guide Paul Hansen. The compact body design and rotating tail section create a loud churning in the water, drawing the attention of any musky in the vicinity. These lures, like all other Suick baits, are hand-made with super-high quality craftsmanship right here in the USA. Check them out at www.suick.com/ or by clicking the Suick logo to the right of the screen.
The other bait in the picture is "The Doc" made by Drifter-Musky Mania Tackle. Any musky tackle box is incomplete without a "walk the dog" style bait, and "The Doc" offers a quality lure at an affordable price. I'm not going to go into a tutorial on how to work these baits, but do some YouTubing and you'll find what you need. You can check out "The Doc" and all of Drifter, Musky Mania, ERC and Loke baits at www.driftertackle.com/.
From top to bottom: The Suick "Thriller," The Drifter-Musky Mania "Jake," The Suick "Cisco Kid" and the Drifter-Musky Mania "Burt."
You can probably write a book on musky jerkbaits. There are dive and rise jerkbaits, gliding jerkbaits, twitchbaits and the like, but the handful of lures make up a well-rounded selection. The Suick Thriller the quintessential musky jerkbait, and just may have claimed more muskies than any other out there. This is a dive and rise jerkbait that once again, has been handcrafted here in the USA. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better quality lure. The Drifter-Mania "Jake" is another solid jerkbait that, in addition, makes a fine trolling lure. Having a "Cisco Kid" and a "Burt" on hand as well should provide you with enough options to get rolling.
Fall is widely considered to be the best time to use a jerkbait. Musky are getting full for the long winter and baits with a large profile will often get the best results.
The Drifter "Believer."
As far as crankbaits and trolling lures for musky go, not many have a reputation like the Drifter "Believer." It is one of the most versatile musky baits available and can trigger strikes while it is being twitched, cranked or trolled. All baits have a shallow and a deep eyelet which gives the assortment of lures the ability to be worked just below the surface to depth down to 20 feet.
So, this is a start. I just want to reiterate that this blog has been compiled from tons of information I have found online about what guides are using, what the most popular styles of musky lures are, what baits work well under what conditions and of course, who makes them. Although there are hundreds of companies that make musky lures, I realized that one could put together a solid collection of baits between the selections offered from Suick and Drifter Tackle. It doesn't hurt that these companies are here in the states and can proudly stamp their baits with "Made in the USA."
Now, it's time to give these baits a workout. I have a full schedule of musky trips for October and November and I'm ready to put these to the test. I'm fairly confident that the solid base of information and the right equipment have put a few musky in my future. I was pretty daunted by the number of different baits available for musky fishing, which is why I wanted to boil it down and hopefully help someone out who doesn't have the time to spend online. I hope that you find this information useful, even though I'm no musky pro.....yet.