Musky America Magazine April2024 Edition

Musky America Magazine April 2024 Edition Thank you for visiting Musky America Magazine! The Musky show season is winding down, and it is time to start preparing for soft water considerations. This month’s edition has an innovative approach to net control when fishing alone or with a partner. We have also included an approach to get control of your lure inventory using a Plano tackle box. Craig Sandell Owner and Fellow Musky Angler The Icons shown here are at the bottom of the Magazine pages. *All Rights Preserved©*

Implications Of An Early Ice Out By Craig Sandell © 2024 I am pretty sure that most of you have noticed that there is an abundance of ‘soft water’ out there. Indeed, many folks have commented that this is the earliest ice out in recent memory. So, what, if anything, does it mean for Musky fishing? In A Normal Year Normally, the ice will go out in the waning days of April. The water will then begin its warming cycle giving rise to the spawning of a progression of fish species. Musky will spawn after Northern Pike when the water temperature is in the high 40’s to mid-50’s. Also, weed growth will begin as the sun filters its way into the water column. The clearer the water the faster weeds will begin to become apparent. Rain during the period when there is still ice on the water will not be able to penetrate the ice and provides little or no oxygenation. Also, runoff will not have a pronounced effect on the turbidity of the water and the mixing of the water column. Early Ice Out With relatively few instances of early ice out events, there is very little in the way of actual observations and implications of an early ice out. The folks at the DNR will likely have some thoughts on the matter, however such thoughts will either not be backed

up by actual observation or will be mired in long winded technical postulations…in other words, they will be guessing. So what are we likely to see as the calendar plods its way toward the opening of the season? We are likely to get a fair amount of rain this spring and with the ice already out what can we expect? During rainy seasons, oxygen concentrations tend to be higher in the water because the rain interacts with oxygen in the air as it falls. Also, runoff tends to mix the water column as it enters a body of water adding to the overall distribution of oxygen in the water. It should also be noted that the colder the water, the more oxygen can be dissolved in the water. Bottom line here is that the early ice out should give rise to well oxygenated water making the likelihood of a fish kill minimal this year. It also bears noting that because they are cold blooded, fish need less oxygen when the water is cold. Aquatic plants also contribute to oxygen in the water. Since there is likely to be an early weed growth, additional oxygen will be dissolved in the water. Obviously, the effect on a fishery of high oxygen content should support some aggressive early fish activity.

The other side of this coin is water temperature. With the early ice out, water temperatures will begin to rise quickly, especially in darker water. What this means is that, as the water warms, fish and other aquatic life will use more of the oxygen in the water. You can begin to see that there is a tenuous balance between the amount of oxygen in the water and the amount of oxygen needed to support an active fish population. This year, we are likely to see earlier algae blooms and early migrations of Musky into the cooler water of a lake or flowage. This will likely mean that our fishing approach will need to, more than usual, be in tune with the water temperature. Early weed growth will also affect our approach on the water. It may be more difficult to find those areas where weeds are far enough below the surface to be able to pass a lure over them and trigger a strike. Your productivity on the water will require some good scouting of weed growth and dictate an approach that has you fishing the weed edges more often. There are a few lures out there that bill themselves as "weed free" and which could be candidates for fishing in the weeds…but beware the hype. Since the warmer water is likely to encourage Musky to find a cooler water comfort zone where they need less oxygen, the use of deeper diving crank baits and deeper running bucktails and jigging lures may be more effective during the day. Remember however that when the Musky are in the deeper water they are widely distributed and therefore harder to locate.

As in years past, weather will play a large role in our fishing approach. Cooler evenings and moderate daytime temperatures should make early morning a prime time to fish. The evenings may also be a productive time. Whether a night bite will be in effect will likely be unique to a body of water, so talk to as many folks as you can regarding late night productivity. Rain and stormy weather will help to replenish oxygen and mix the water column a bit. Rain, if it is cold rain, will help to cool down the water that is higher in the water column, making it more ‘attractive’ to Musky. A Closing Comment This year, more than in years past, it will be important to ‘keep your finger on the pulse’ of the waters that you plan to fish. Fishing patterns will likely change quickly as water temperature and oxygen levels change. Also, increased weed growth may give rise to abundant growth areas on lakes and flowages that make it almost impossible to fish them. If you are an accomplished Musky angler, it may be worth your time to get a guide for half a day. If you are new to the Musky fishing cult, hire a guide for a whole day and be sure to have him markup your map when the day is done. I am looking forward to an exciting Musky season this year. This year will challenge us Musky anglers to put into practice much of the information that we have acquired from years of Musky fishing. I hope to see you on the water. Tight Lines

By Craig Sandell © 2024 For some time now the WDNR, the Lac Du Flambeau Tribe and some notables in the Musky Community have tried to hang the label of "tabloid" or "vigilante" on Musky America. As the editor and owner of Musky America, I have let these untrue characterizations pass without comment, however, I believe that the time has come to put the record straight. Musky America was established in 1996 and now ranks within the top 5 search results for the keyword "Musky" on Google, Yahoo and Bing. It is self-funded and receives No Income from advertising. My mission statement is: It is my belief that Muskie anglers deserve to have a meaningful publication that provides frank, concise, timely and accurate information about Muskie fishing without the hype that comes with slick advertising and the quest for the dollars in your wallet. Unlike some printed periodicals, this Internet site provides you with timely tips about Musky fishing and also gives you a powerful research tool by which to enhance your Musky knowledge. Best of all, unlike printed periodicals, the information is FREE of forced advertising and FREE to view. Musky America has over 400 articles that deal with a wide range of information about the sport of Musky angling. There is also a knowledge base search engine to make it easy for visitors

to find articles using a keyword search. In addition, Musky America has established this information website to provide Musky anglers with reviews of lures and tackle items that I consider worthy of consideration. You will be hard pressed to find another family of websites that provides this level of information without someone trying to shove advertising down your throat and/or pick your pocket. So why do some Musky notables, the Lac Du Flambeau Tribe and the WDNR, try to attach a tabloid or vigilante label to Musky America? Well, Musky America does have articles that some may consider controversial. It bears notice that other Musky information outlets like Musky Hunter Magazine and Muskies, Inc., do not cover articles that may be controversial. Articles related to the World Record garner complaints due to their frank discussion of the lack of journalistic quality employed by writers who are "Musky Notables" as do articles exposing the WDNR for the political stagnation that has ruined the Musky fisheries of Northern Wisconsin. Other articles like, "Hall of Fame Rejects Pete Maina's Assertions", "Cal Johnson's Grandson's Rebuff Of Larry Ramsell" and "Hayward Guides Banned at The Landing", are factual representations of news and events that are relevant to the Musky angling community. In all cases, the individuals identified in these articles were provided with every opportunity to have their comments posted word for word, without the fear of any editorializing.

It is easy to understand, after reading these articles, why these Musky notables and the WDNR try to discredit Musky America for publishing such information…it is the age-old story of someone of notoriety or political power "shooting the messenger when information they did not want known is disclosed." I would personally like to thank all of the thousands of Musky anglers who, over the past years, have sent Emails thanking Musky America for providing straight forward and useful information about the sport of Musky angling. I would also like to acknowledge the thousands of monthly visitors to Musky America Magazine. To those Musky anglers with opinions about the sport and politics of Musky fishing, I welcome your perspective...To those few who are unable to express themselves without resorting to childish tantrums and abusive language and who feel that Musky America is an affront to their sensibilities…don’t visit the site. Tight Lines

The Musky Fisherman’s Net Dilemma Written By Craig Sandell With Input From Ron Heidenreich And Joel Wick © 2023 The fact is that many Musky anglers, at one time or another, fish alone. When you tie into a Musky in the mid-30s or greater while fishing alone, a cornucopia of problems presents themselves…not the least of which is landing the Musky. Netting a Musky by yourself will have you trying to get your catch under enough control to handle the rod with one hand while manipulating the net with the other. I refer to this critical procedure as “doing the Musky dance”. Once you net your Musky, the boat chaos is just beginning. The rambunctious netted Musky raises concerns of keeping the net under control while you get the tools you need to safely remove hooks from your catch. In addition, you have to deploy your bump board or other measuring device. Then there is getting your camera ready to snap a photo before you release the Musky. Ron Heidenreich And Joel Wick have come up with an innovative solution to addressing the chaos of the catch. This video link will give you an idea of how a simple addition to your boat can help to reduce the boat chaos once the Musky is in the net: This addition to your boat is even more important when you are fishing alone.

Ron fishes out of a Ranger. The pictures below will show you how Ron attached the net straps after sweating the ends of the luggage straps together. The Ranger has convenient mounting areas where net straps can be easily attached. During our conversation, Ron mentioned that he would have added some additional length to the net straps, so make sure

that you have enough of a loop in the net straps to easily insert the net handle into one or both of the net straps. With our conversation in mind, I set out to add net straps to my Tuffy. I first had to find Velcro straps. I was able to find some adjustable Velcro straps at the ACE Hardware store. The mounting holes were a bit too large, but the addition of washers that would accommodate the 1½ inch mounting screws solved the problem. You will have to drill a starting hole to accept the mounting hardware before you attach the Velcro strap. You should leave some room, so the straps are free to swivel, as shown below.

Once you have installed the net straps, they should look something like the above picture. Once the straps are installed, you will need to check that the net strap can easily fit onto the net handle. NOTE: The Velcro strap can be adjusted to secure the net.

The picture above shows the net handle secured to the Velcro strap with the net bag resting on the gunnel of the boat. The net can be adjusted by sliding the net handle back to keep the Musky from jumping out of the net. This is an easy way to keep the net secure, so your hands are free to get landing tools and get the bump board or other measuring device ready to measure your Musky as well as a camera to take a photo. My sincere thanks to Ron and Joel for sharing this innovative approach to making landing and releasing a Musky catch a bit easier. Tight Lines!

What Do You Do With All This Stuff! By: Craig Sandell In Collaboration With Mark Nurczyk © 2021 If you have been Musky fishing for a few years, you are likely to have an arsenal of lures similar to those pictured at the left. Having lots of lures, presents the Musky angler with a dilemma…“How do I get all these lures in the boat and still have room to fight a reluctant Musky”? Simple…you don’t! There is no way you are going to use more than a few lures for any Musky outing. However, limited lure inventory also means limited lure choice options. Musky anglers are typically inventive, and Mark Nurczyk is no exception. After reading one of our articles about lure storage boat options, Mark came up with a very unique approach to getting more lure choices in the boat. Like many of you, Mark has a Plano 7915 and like many of you, his tackle box was stuffed with lures. Doubtless, this box configuration leaves a lot to be desired regarding accessibility. There is no place in the box for all the little bits and pieces of equipment that we use when we are on the water. Many of you have additional boxes that contain:

Leaders Hooks Tools as well as any number of additional items that one might feel are necessary for success on the water. Mark decided that there had to be a better way and so, he started from scratch with an empty Plano 7915. Mark also when on a search for containers that would fit inside the Plano box but would provide storage but also visibility for the lures, leaders, tools and his miscellaneous items. It turns out that Plano also offers small storage boxes of various sizes that that can be used for all of his stuff. Mark was able to find small Plano boxes that were available at Menards. These box model numbers are: 3700 (deep) 3700 (standard) 3707 (no partitions) 3630 (deep) 3620 (standard) 3600 (narrow).

Mark then went on to label each of the boxes: Once the boxes were labeled, the process of installing them into the Plano 7915 box was easy. With all of the boxes installed into the Plano 7915, Mark had a tackle box that had his lures and his miscellaneous fishing items all in a single tackle box.

Certainly, you may have a different approach to keeping the boat clutter down to a minimum, but Mark's approach is clearly a thoughtful and efficient use of his existing Plano tackle box. As the off season progresses and the Musky show season approaches, hopefully Mark's approach will provide some "food for thought". Tight Lines

THE RIGHT STUFF By: Rob Meusec © 2010 A good test of your Musky fishing ability is: Can you successfully catch, land and release a decent size Musky when fishing alone? After a successful three days of walleye fishing in Northern Wisconsin during the 1998 opening weekend, I decided to fish for pike on my last morning before returning home. While walleye fishing, I noticed that the northern pike were quite active, as evidenced by accidentally catching a few during my walleye pursuits. I snapped on a small Reef Hawg and began drifting across a river mouth with hopes that a decent pike would give me some action. Well, action came quick but it wasn't a pike. It was a pretty good sized Musky. As I brought the fish toward the boat I realized I had no net, just my TOOL KIT. (which I carry alwayseven if I'm crappie fishing). At boat side I realized that this 37 inch fish was really hooked bad. Two trebles were on the outside of his face and one treble was firmly in the corner of his mouth.

I put the rod between my legs and loosed the drag almost all the way while I opened my tool kit. I took out a glove and my hook cutters. I reached under the fishes jaw with my left-gloved hand while he was still in the water and began CUTTING the hooks free. The rear treble of the Reef Hawg was in his gills. That was the first hook I cut completely oft. Then, he coiled his body and twisted out of my grip and oft he went. With the drag almost off, he was free to move about without a monster backlash and without the loss of my rod. I brought him back to the boat, CUT off the rest of the hooks, measured him at 37 inches and released him totally unharmed. (not a drop of his blood, a few drops of mine but that's another story).

Can you imagine what condition that fish would have been in if I didn't have THE RIGHT STUFF? IF I would have tried to remove those hooks with pliers or a hook out, his gills would have been destroyed. If you think side-cutters or the wire cutter on your needle nose pliers will do this job, you had better check. Try it in your workshop and see if you can cut through a Musky treble easily and quickly with one hand. This experience was a good lesson for me. I realized that you can never learn enough. We spend hours and hours researching how to catch Muskies. We spend hundreds of dollars on lures, reels and trips. Do we spend enough time and money to try to be a real sportsman and release these fish unharmed? YOU BE YOUR OWN JUDGE!

Muskie Fishing Line Craig Sandell © 2010 One of the most vital links in the "tackle chain" is the line you use. Over the years, there have been many different lines used by Muskie anglers. I will focus this review on the new line that accomplished Muskie anglers will come to rely upon. Dave Burch: He brought braided line to the fishing industry. April of this year will mark the thirtieth year Dave Burch, The Braidman, has been centrally involved in the development of modern Superline braids. Dave and his brother Lee had an extensive background in industrial braiding, both began summer jobs at 16 working for a braid manufacturer where 5 of their uncles worked. Dave continued to work at the braiding company whenever possible until graduating from college, after which he pursued other opportunities. Dave’s brother Lee continued to work at the Braid factory after college and became

president of the company, and also a member of the YPO, a global leadership community of extraordinary chief executives. Another member of the YPO, Safariland CEO Scott O’Brien, became aware that the Spectra fibers used in producing Safariland’s ballistic vests could be used to create a new style of fishing line. Safariland showed their new Spiderwire for the first time at the Shot Show in 1993, where it was a great success. Safariland lacking braid production capability needed to find a reliable source for this new opportunity. Lee had moved on from the braiding company and now had his own composites company, but Lee and Dave Burch with the help of a financial backer, and the guarantee of business from Safariland started BBS to be the sole producer of Spiderwire. Dave became the operating partner of this new enterprise and in 6 short months BBS was up and running with the production capability of 3 million plus yards of braid weekly. BBS had an advantage in that from the inception of the plant the goal was to produce small dimension braids utilizing multifilament UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight) fibers which are delicate yarns until braided. The advantage was that all the braiding and post braiding equipment was tailored to producing “clean” flawless raw braids. Over the last 3 decades BBS has developed numerous post-braiding systems to enhance the performance of its braided fishing line products. Dave has worked closely with many of the fishing industry’s leading companies, as BBS has provided over 30 turn-key OEM braids. Dave has had the opportunity to be on the inside planning of numerous brands and as such has garnered extensive knowledge of this segment of the industry. Dave was not an avid

angler when he began his career at BBS and felt the need to understand firsthand from anglers what made a braid perform well in various fishing applications. Dave therefore has spent literally thousands of hours talking to anglers at consumer trade shows all over the US, from the Florida Keys to Alaska. FINS Braids is a natural extension of Dave’s experience. FINS offers the angler numerous styles of high-performance braids each possessing unique properties designed to fit different needs or preferences. Dave and his partners sold BBS in 2001 but Dave continues to work for the new owners, still very much involved in continuing to keep FINS on the cutting edge of fishing line technology.

The First Time Out Submitted by Michele Poletes © 1997 I have always loved to fish, but mostly, it is the casting that I love! As long as I can remember, someone would be screaming at me " Keep your line in the water!" or " you'll never catch a fish if you don't leave your line in the water!". When I saw a T.V. program on Musky fishing, I knew this was for me! Fish or no fish, I could cast till I was blue in the face, and I would be doing just what I was supposed to be doing! I have a friend who really knows his stuff when it comes to fishing for the big guys. He took me to a little pond and taught me how to use a bait caster and the different retrieves and, of course, how to untangle a bird’s nest! Finally, I was ready to hit the water! We decided to meet at one of the metro lakes (Lake Owasseo) after work. I was as happy as I could be, casting over & over again without anyone yelling at me! I was pretty much in my own world, catching a fish wasn't really a concern, when this HUGE thing took my lure! Still, no-one yelled! Mike talked me through it, while Paul took pictures. The fish hit as soon as the lure hit the water, so it took a good long time to get him in the boat. After a few pictures, Mike took him, measured him, and put him back in the lake. No doubt, that fish was as tired as I was! I didn't really realize what I had caught until the next day when I grabbed a tape measurer and saw that he was as long as my

love seat, as tall as my girlfriend’s daughter, the oven, my desk, etc....47 inches, less than 1 hour in the boat, my first time out, just casting! I love this!

What Price Muskie??? Craig Sandell © 2015 So you want to fish Muskie. Are you ready to pay the price? What price? The price to re-outfit your tackle to handle the most tenacious freshwater sport fish. That bass tackle you’ve got just doesn’t have the guts…so you will need to invest in some new tackle. Rods Lets start with rods. You are going to need at least two rods. One should have medium action for casting bucktails and crank baits. The other should have some good back bone to allow you to cast the heavier surface lures and jerk baits that are commonly used for Muskie fishing. Both rods should be at least 6½ feet with fore grip and an 18 inch handle. I have my rods made for me. I have always been disappointed by rods "Off-The-Rack". My custom made rods cost me $195.00 each and I will use this figure as part of the ‘cost-to-Muskie-fish’ calculation…you may find something you like for less. (Two rods times $195.00 = $390.00) Two Rods = $390.00. Reels You are going to need bait casting reels. The reason for this is because of the tactics associated with Muskie fishing as much as with the Muskie itself. Part of the formula for good Muskie fishing is being able to cast with reasonable precision. You will want to

place a lure precisely along weed lines and in heavy wood. In order to do that consistently, you will discover the need to control the line as your lure strips it from the reel. This is accomplished by a method called thumbing. That is…using your thumb to apply pressure to the line as your eye gauges the trajectory of the lure in relationship to the casting target. Also, Muskie have a habit of following a lure up to the boat and striking as a figure eight is executed. Once again, thumbing is a required tactic. When a fish hits short (by the boat) you will need to give it some line so that it can’t use the boat as a banging stake to dislodge the lure. You will also need line to play the fish in order to be able to land it safely. Hitting the ‘free spool’ as you apply thumb pressure to the line will accomplish that goal. You can’t do that with a spinning reel. The main staple of the average Muskie angler is the Abu Garcia 5500, 5600, 6500 or 6600 models of reels. There are other reels from other manufacturers that will also do the job. You will need one for each of your two rods and you will need a backup reel just in case. The average price for these is around $140.00 each. (Three reels times $140.00 = $420.00) Our running total is $810.00. Line You are going to need some Muskie line. I am partial to 80 or 100 LB. TUF Line Spectra. You may have a different choice, however, consider that the line should be reasonably fray resistant, with low stretch, reasonably waterproof, while possessing good casting characteristics. For the purposes of this discussion, 600 yards of 80 lb. TUF Line is around $120.00. Our running total is $930.00.

Tackle/Tools You are going to need a different tackle box to hold the larger lures. Typically, you can figure on a nominal cost of $60.00. You will need solid wire steel leaders. Figure $10.00 for a good assortment of quality leaders. You will need to get some tools for Muskie fishing as well. Foremost is a handheld compound bolt cutter…about $52.00. You will also need a hookout, hook sharpening file, long nose pliers, spilt ring pliers, long handled channel lock pliers, mouth spreaders, waterproof flashlight, heavy duty nail clippers for your line, and a small tool kit in which to keep them so that they don’t get mixed up with your lures in your tackle box. All together this will likely run you another $135.00. Our running total is $1187.00. Lures You are going to need a reasonable assortment of lures. Figure at least 5 bucktails, 5 variations of crank bait, 4 types of surface lure and 4 types of jerk bait. Around $400.00 ought to do it. Our running total is $1587.00.

Miscellaneous Stuff How to put a price tag on this? Everyone will end up with a different amount. Consider, however, the cost for extra hooks, split rings, impulse items you buy on a whim, some better rain gear, some better polarized sunglasses, a net large enough for Muskie, etc…As a budgetary number let’s use $350.00. Our running total is $1,937.00. There you are…outfitted and ready and $1,907.00 poorer. Of course, you still have to pay for food, lodging, gas, oil, maybe boat rental, license and of course there is always the bar bill over and above your initial investment in equipment. Everyone says that Muskie fishing isn’t easy. You will spend long hours on the water. You will spend many hours casting. You will spend countless hours preparing your tackle and researching the Muskie. The operative word here is SPEND. As a Muskie angler, you will pay a high price in time, frustration and money to be able to successfully match yourself against this fresh water denizen of the deep. If this article has caused you to think twice about getting involved in Muskie angling…GOOD. It is only the angler that is dedicated enough to be willing to pay the price who will eventually succeed. Oh, yes. There is one other thing. LUCK!!!…For that there is no price tag.

Making Sure Your Drag Works By Craig Sandell © 2014 Probably the most important tool of Musky fishing is your reel and the most important function of your reel is the drag system. When you are in the heat of a confrontation with a Musky, you must be able to “play” the fish. That means that you must be able to give it line to prevent straightening a hook and keep pressure on the Musky to prevent it from throwing a hook. Your reel’s drag system is an indispensible element to successfully boating a Musky. Musky anglers all have their own approach to using their reel to help them “play” a Musky. After a hook set, some anglers will back off the drag to allow the fish to take line while using the drag to keep pressure on the fish. Of course, using the reel in this manner requires that the reel drag system is “predictable”. The other approach to playing a Musky is to depress the free spool bar or button and thumb the reel to give the Musky line and keep the pressure on the fish Each approach has its benefits and draw backs. It should be noted that many Musky anglers use both approaches while fighting a Musky. A simple trick to assuring that your line does not slip on the reel arbor during a battle is to wrap the arbor with a backing material. I have seen folks use first aid adhesive tape and electrical tape. Either seems to do the job.

For those of you who are “old hands” at Musky fishing, you probably already know this. For those of you who are new to Musky angling, this is something that you may wish to incorporate when next you spool your reel with new line. Of course, if the drag on your reel is inconsistent or unreliable, no amount tape backing with help. Make sure that your reel is in good working order before you head out on the water.

Tackle Management: Inventory Time By Rob Meusec © 2020 Soon the dust will clear from all the musky shows, your taxes are done and you learned all those new techniques and spent a ton of money, it’s time to look at what we have in our arsenal. It’s time to inventory all the baits that we have in order to make our time on the water productive. You are probably thinking that this is almost an impossible task. I thought that at first too. If you are like the average musky fisherman (If there is such a creature), you have many weapons, some call them tools, in your cherished collection. As a retired teacher, I’ve learned to chunk down larger tasks into more manageable pieces, in order to accomplish what needs to be done. Here is a system that I use every year to inventory what I have and it works pretty well. It begins with, of course, all your baits. Bring all the boxes, bags or whatever you store them in into a room where you will not be disturbed for a while. Yes, all your baits! Next, pick up some cheap plastic crates (they look like milk crates) at a building supply store. I happened to use 6 this year. Next, I drill 3/16 holes along the outside lip spaced one inch apart all around the perimeter of each crate. So now you have 4-5 crates on one side of the room, and all your baits on the other side.

Now it is time to divide and hopefully conquer. Designate one crate for example, Jerk baits. Go through you tackle and pick out all your jerk baits. Begin hanging them on the inside and outside of the crate, putting one barb of the treble into the holes you drilled. When all your jerk baits are accounted for, then do the same with Topwaters and so on and so on. The number of crates depends on how many baits you have. As you look at what you have accomplished, here are few things you can do with this visual inventory:

• You can see what you have, what you don’t, what you need and what to get rid of. • What baits need maintenance, hooks, split rings, paint etc. • A great opportunity to take some photos for insurance purposes. • Determine tackle box and storage options. • These crates can be used as permanent storage or an extra bait hanger in your boat.

Is It Party Time? Or Is It Musky Time? Rob Meusec © 2020 We have all been there. You know what I mean. Your boat partner can't get up in the morning…. Your day of fishing has been cut short…You are embarrassed by your partners boat etiquette…. This may sound familiar to you. It's all too familiar to me. I was fishing in a musky tournament. It was Sunday morning and our 2-man team was 4 inches short of first place going into the last day. My partner was out late the night before and was partying pretty hard and stumbled into our cabin about about 2:30AM. The tournament hours for the last day were 7:00AM to 12:30 PM. I was up and ready to go at 5:30AM and started getting my buddy up. It was his boat we were using. I tried and tried to get him going but nothing would work. He was trashed and down for the count. We never got out on the water that day…Bummer! I was fishing with two guys on a new lake in late July and we were scouting out some water to hit hard after lunch. We went into this bar on the lake for a burger and then planned to fish the spots we knew would hold some good Muskies. Well, 3 hours later, they decided it was time to go fishing. Well, as you can imagine, the rest of the day was not really fishing, just cruising through the water with about 20 minutes of actually having baits in the water…Bummer!

When you don't have your own boat and are at the mercy of your partner to fish and fish hard, your trip can end with bad feelings. Friendships can be at stake and/or tournaments can be lost and worst of all your personal safety can be in jeopardy. I have lost a great fishing partner due to drinking. He turned me on to my first 20 pounder. I thought he was my mentor. Alcohol took its toll on our friendship and our fishing. There is a time and a place for everything. When you only have a few weeks a year to pursue your passion, you want to make the best of it. Please don't ruin it for the people who really care about you. Think about the big picture. If you like to party, that's ok. Be responsible and think of your friends. They chose you as a fishing buddy for a reason. You both share the passion to fish for Muskies. Some of the discussions that occur in a boat during a day of Muskie fishing are priceless. You know what I mean. You have been there. Don't jeopardize that camaraderie. It's a bond that could last a lifetime.

Hooking Up With The Manta Jerk Bait By Craig Sandell © 2010 Jerk baits have a reputation for making the Muskie angler work. Most manufacturers recommend a rod with a good backbone and line with a test of at least 40 pounds. The 8" Manta is an exception to the rule of heavier tackle and it is extremely easy to use. The Manta is working on the first pull of your retrieve and it keeps working until you pull it from the water. The really neat thing is that it takes only a gentle pull to give it the side to side action that makes it a potentially productive lure (I recommended a 9" solid leader). Many anglers have expressed a concern regarding the "Hook Up" percentage associated with the Manta. The Manta, as is the case with other glide baits, is an erratic moving target. Musky will usually lunge at the lure and, as luck would have it, that is the time when the angler pulls on the bait and, in essence, pulling it away from the attacking Musky. There is no way to completely solve this presentation problem but you can do the following: Slow down your retrieve action. Make less exaggerated jerks during the retrieve. Pause your retrieve for a few seconds and then jerk the lure only slightly. These three approaches will have the lure in the 'strike zone' of the Musky longer and will also make it easier for the Musky to zero in for the typical 'side slashing attack' that is used by the Musky to overcome the blind spot at the end of its snout.

Dressing A Treble With A Twister By Craig Sandell © 2010 My good friend Rob Meusec informed me about a little item he saw at one of the fishing shows…treble hooks dressed with a twister tail. The concept was intriguing and goes hand-inhand another shown later in this edition. I decided to try adding a twister tail to a bare treble hook. It turned out to be easier than I imagined...So I decided to share the procedure. First, you will need a bare treble hook, a 2/0 is pictured along with a twister tail. I am using a black twister tail mainly for photographic contrast. You can use whatever color you think will excite the Musky.

Next, you need to measure the twister tail against the shaft of the treble to see where you will have to cut the twister tail body to fit it onto the treble shaft. When measuring, be sure that the tail will cleanly trail behind the treble hooks. Now that you have the twister measured, use a household scissors to trim the front of the body of the twister tail. The next step is the tricky part…while holding the twister tail body firmly, insert the treble hook shaft into the twister tail body. You must be careful not to stab yourself with the hooks should your hand slip. A protective glove of some type is recommended until you master the process. The soft plastic will resist being pierced by the blunt treble hook shaft, but it will succumb with steady pressure.

With the treble hook shaft now piercing the twister tail body, you need to simply thread the treble hook shaft through the twister tail body until the eye of the treble hook shaft is visible. The last step in the process is to add a split ring to the treble hook assembly to make it ready to add to any bucktail or surface bait. Tight Lines

Craig Sandell © 2010 As Muskie fishermen, we all tend to go through periods when we are not catching fish. This is especially true if you are unable to 'butterfly' from lake to lake. Before the 2001 season opened, I was sitting around the kitchen table with John Dettloff. I mentioned to John that the Chippewa Flowage had not been as kind to me in recent years as it had been in the mid-1990s. John listened to my lament and then jumped right in the middle of my chest with some hard reality..."You've changed the way you fish from the way you used to fish", he said. "Remember that the Chippewa Flowage is not a 'run and gun' body of water. You can't fish it as though you were in Canada, and you have to pay attention to what the water is telling you about the prospects for fishing success". I came away from that kitchen conservation with John intent on recapturing the methods that had produced fish for me in the past. My good friend Rob Meusec and I exchanged ideas on strategy for the Chippewa Flowage. Rob observed that many times we tend to overlook the potential that is no further than the dock at which the boat is moored. He reminded me that Fred Hirsch, one of the trailer residents at Indian Trail Resort and owner of former Ghosttails lures, starts an early morning fishing adventure by sneaking

away from the boat slip without starting his motor and fishing the resort shoreline before he motors to other locations. We decided to take a more methodical and relaxed approach to our Muskie hunt in the 2001 Muskie season; fishing the area leading up to the 'prime water' and after the 'prime water' so that we truly were fishing the spot clean. On June 7th Rob and I hit the water of the Chippewa Flowage armed with our plan for success. We knew that the water temperature being in the mid to low 60s would bring the Muskie closer to the shoreline and we knew that the high water in the Chippewa Flowage would likely contribute to keeping the Muskie in close to the shoreline. There is a shoreline and a shoreline connected bar called Miten's Bar not more than 2 minutes away from Indian Trail Resort that had all of the elements in our fishing plan. It has a deep water drop (18 feet) adjacent to a shoreline shelf (6 feet) with good vegetation and a reputation for Muskie. The mid-morning weather was overcast with a light drizzle with the air temperature around 70 degrees and water temperature around 63 degrees. I cut the motor around 20 feet from the target water and positioned the boat using the trolling motor to accomplish a very slow path parallel to the shoreline. The boat was in roughly 16 feet of water as we began our troll, and we were casting up at the shoreline into 5 to 6 feet of water. Rob was using a bucktail and I was using a surface lure, a Tornado Globe. I positioned the boat during the troll to maximize the shoreline coverage of our casts, moving the boat away from the shoreline

on our casts and toward our lures during the retrieve. (The wind being calm afforded me this boat position luxury.) We were settling into the routine of cleaning out the shoreline prior to the 'prime water' of Miten's Bar when a Muskie came up from an isolated weed bed in 6 feet of water and attacked my globe from beneath the surface. I felt the fish...I set the hook with a firm tug and kept the line tight as the Muskie rocketed toward the deeper water under the boat. Anyone who has had a Muskie at the end of his line knows that there is a moment of truth in the battle when the fish either gets off or is sufficiently hooked to give you a fighting chance at successfully boating the Muskie. As the fish came up from under the boat, I could see that it was hooked reasonably well and that it was up to me to 'do the right thing' to get this fish in the boat. Since I was using some of the super strength line on my reel, the drag was not set as tightly as it would have been if I had been using braided Micron or Dacron line. I also depressed the free spool button so I could thumb line to the fish and prevent him from using the leverage of line and rod to straighten or dislodge a hook. Since the water was a bit cool, the Muskie put up a good scrap. Five to seven minutes after the fight began, Rob netted the fish as I led it boat side...Once in the net, the hooks were dislodged, and my Muskie opponent thrashed in the net as we kept him in the water to keep its time out of the water to a minimum. I cut the hooks from the globe to easily free it from the net...making it safe for me to firmly grip the fish and remove it

from the net once we were ready to take pictures and make a length measurement. As I pulled the fish from the net, I commented to Rob that it was a beefy beast. It measured 38 inches, but it had a lot of body to it and was probably in the area of 19 pounds...A couple of pictures and it was on its way. It was a heck of a way to start the day and Rob and I set off to visit some similar shoreline structures. The rest of the day did not produce any fish in the boat but did produce swirls and fish hitting short. We took a break for lunch and again for dinner, after which we started out for an evening adventure...We continued to use the methodical approach that had produced the early fish and the day's other action as we hit the water around 7:30pm. Following our philosophy that the 'grass is not greener elsewhere', we concentrated on areas close to Indian Trail Resort that had a good reputation for fish and shoreline connected shelves adjacent to deeper water. Although the overcast was still with us, the drizzle had been replaced by enough wind to make boat control more difficult than it had been earlier. As 9:00pm approached, we motored up to the back side of Pine Island, a piece of structure that was less than 1 minute from Indian Trail Resort. We started with the submerged finger bar adjacent to the East side of the island and zig zagged the boat toward the 'prime water' along the back side of the island to maximize the coverage of our lures. As was the case earlier in the day, Rob was tossing a bucktail and I was tossing the a Tornado Globe.

Sometimes the wind will take hold of a boat so that your cast is not in the perfect position for a hook set during a retrieve. This was the case for me as my globe passed over an isolated weed bed in 4 feet of water and was assaulted by a Muskie. It hit a good 20 feet from the boat, and it was fortunate for me that he didn't come out of the water. I set the hook as best I could, announced to Rob that I had a fish and began to wrestle with this Muskie hoping that the Muskie spirits would favor me and not the fish. This fish put up a good battle, but he had hooked himself pretty well and I managed to keep my wits about me as I played him boat side for another perfect net job from my fishing partner Rob Meusec. Once again, the fish became unhooked in the net, making it relatively easy for me to neuter the lure to prevent damage to fish and fisherman and extract the Muskie from the net for a measurement and a photo. This fish measured 39.5 inches and, given the bulk of the body, was easily 19 or 20 pounds. As I placed the fish in the water to release it, I supported its belly and held it upright grasping it near the tail. The fight was not that long but this Muskie seemed to be a bit more lethargic than the fish earlier in the day. I moved the fish in the water and after a time it seemed that he was almost in a trance. I gave him a light tap on the head with my fingertips and he exploded from my grasp. I was numb. It had been a very good day for fishing. The two boated fish and the other action during the day were as the result of that methodical 'fish the spot clean and fish the whole spot' approach. That approach may not have the excitement of

slicing through the water with wind in your face and the power of your boat throbbing under your feet, but it produced the excitement of two nice fish in the boat for a time investment of about 8 hours of fishing. Tight Lines

The Underwater Seasons Craig Sandell © 2010 During the course of the Musky season, everybody of water undergoes changes in its water temperature as well as changes in the oxygen that is dissolved in the water. As the underwater seasons change, the Musky react to those changes driven by their need to eat and their need to breathe. The successful Musky angler must tune into these changes. He/she must be prepared to be flexible with regard to lure selection as well as conducting a better evaluation of water and weather conditions. Late season fishing can be marked by drastic weather changes and dramatic changes in the condition of the water. As the water begins to warm after the long winter months and as emergent vegetation adds oxygen to the water, Musky become more active and settle into their seasonal patterns. For the greater part of the Musky season, most bodies of water are locked into the characteristic thermal distribution commonly referred to as the "summer thermal water pattern". The graphic shown here at the left demonstrates this summer thermal pattern. Water at the surface tends to change gradually in water temperature and tends to have higher levels of oxygen than the water layers beneath it. The thermocline is sort of like a buffer area between the warmer surface water and the cooler deeper water. The

cooler deeper water tends to have the lowest level of oxygen during this period of time. Musky tends to populate the upper water levels when they are active and the lower water levels when they are inactive. The hotter the top layer of water, the more likely Musky are to seek a comfortable temperature at greater depths. At these greater depths, they are less likely to be aggressively active. As summer transitions to fall and the water loses its heat to the longer cooler evenings, the temperature difference between the thermal layers of the lake becomes less distinct. Most of the oxygen is still located in the surface layer of the water and Musky tends to be more active during this time. Typically, this time is associated with late August and early September. Temperatures will vary depending upon the geographic location and the depth of the body of water so you should keep a close watch upon the water that you plan to regularly fish. The graphic at the right will provide you some perspective regarding this gradual shift in water temperatures. Relentlessly, the seasons move on toward fall. The nights get cooler robbing the water of heat as the warming effect of the sun diminishes due to its lower position in the sky. The water temperature tends to equalize the temperature between the upper warmer and

more oxygen rich layer and the cooler less oxygen rich lower layer. The thermocline is still in place but as you can see from the graphic at the left the water is on the verge of homogenizing into a uniform temperature distribution. This time is a prime Musky activity window, but the window is very short lived. It is very difficult to accurately predict the exact time of this water temperature circumstance. You'll just have to trust "luck" if you are trying to hit this period on the head. NOTE: One should also remember that, depending on the spring warm up, presummer and Imminent turnover are relatively the same water conditions.Finally, the water succumbs to the persistence of the changing season and "turnover" takes place. The thermocline barrier disappears as the water temperature becomes uniform throughout the body of water. This is typically a very slow period for Musky activity. The blending of the oxygen rich upper water and the oxygen poor lower water causes the overall oxygen level to be less than what the Musky are used to having. The Musky require time to adjust to the new oxygen level as well as to the fact that they are "stuck" with a uniform lower water temperature. As you might suspect, this is not a good time to catch Musky. Everybody of water will experience turnover on its own timetable so it is very hard to predict. If you plan to fish late in the season, you must "keep your finger on the pulse" of the body of water that you plan

to fish.The Musky soon acclimatizes to the changes in the water oxygen levels and the temperature. Around late September or early October the Musky put on their winter feed bag and take advantage of the seasonal movement of forage fish. This is typically the time when you have a better than average chance to tie into a 25 to 45 pound fish. This time of year, however, is not for the "fair weather" Musky angler. You can plan on the weather being wet, cold, snowy and generally miserable.Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the mystery of turnover and its effect upon your chances to have a Musky encounter. As has been said in other articles posted on this website, Musky fishing has a large element of luck associated with any angler success. The best thing you can do is be prepared with as much information as you can muster about the water you are fishing and then trust in the "Musky Spirts" to favor your efforts.

Best Barometric Pressure For Fishing By Sean Ward Re-printed with permission There are all kinds of things that you must keep track of when you’re going fishing. From the type of bait you use, to the rod that works best for a given species of fish, the list of things you have to remember can feel overwhelming. However, knowing the best barometric pressure for fishing is something you absolutely cannot overlook. When you’re considering the best times of day to fish, barometric pressure is one of those daily and seasonal fluctuations that will play a huge role in how many fish you catch – if any. Here’s a quick guide to understanding barometric pressure as it relates to your fishing. What Is Barometric Pressure? Barometric pressure is also referred to as “atmospheric pressure.” It is simply the force that is created by the weight of the air...But wait – isn’t air weightless? To a certain extent, yes. However, the combination of water vapor, gas atoms, and an assortment of other particles all produce a light force on the surface of the earth. At the top of a mountain, you are going to have less air above you than if you were at sea level. Therefore, a location at altitude has a lower barometric pressure than one at sea level.