Who's The Fish Here???
By: Craig Sandell 20

Whether it is the middle of Muskie season or we are 'ice bound', Muskie Fever can still really take hold of us all. We find ourselves dreaming of open expanses of water where monster Muskie are snapping at our lures and providing us the thrill of a lifetime. We find ourselves looking longingly at our tackle boxes and the lures that are in our arsenal and wondering if, perhaps, we should add a lure or two.
Throughout the year, we find ourselves inundated by advertisements for lures that are "guaranteed" to catch a Muskie "just like the one" pictured in the ad. But before we start digging too deep into our wallets, perhaps its time for a reality check.
No lure is guaranteed to catch Muskie. They may be guaranteed to perform in a certain way when used but they are not guaranteed to put a Muskie in the boat. Just because someone "supposedly" caught a monster Muskie using XYZ lure, there is no assurance that you will be able to duplicate that feat if you use XYZ lure.

The same thing goes for rods, reels, electronics, line, boats and motors. Before you chuck that hard earned money onto the counter, you might consider the following:

  • How many lures do you have and how often do you use them?
    Be honest with yourself !!]

  • How many of the lures that you use have actually caught fish?

  • Did you select the lure type and/or color because it caught your eye or was it part of your attack plan?

  • Did you buy your lures based solely upon an advertisement?

Most Muskie anglers are strongly influenced by lure advertisements or Muskie fishing videos. Take for example the Poes brand of lures. These lures are the main focus of a particular fishing personality who also has a vested interest in the sale of these lures. The fishing video programs for this person demonstrates the effectiveness of these lures by showing Muskie being caught using them. The video presentation is excellently edited and the motivation to go out and buy these lures is compelling.

Remember, however, that most videos are shot on the same body of water meaning that the fisherman has a unique knowledge of the structure being fished and the emerging patterns for the Muskie as the season progresses. It is also highly likely that the fish appearing on videos have been previously scouted so that only high percentage locations are fished for the video production. Lastly, remember that ONLY one brand of lure is typically used. (We all know that if you only throw one lure you are likely to catch Muskie on only one lure.)

Another example can be found in the lure catalogs where pictures of Muskie personages holding a big fish are associated with a 'Signature Series' of rod & reel or with a particular lure. Was the pictured fish actually caught using that 'Signature Series' or is this just a slick marketing approach as the result of a "money-for-name" agreement?

All Muskie lures catch fish....given the right weather conditions, the right seasonal pattern, the right time of day and some good luck. Lures should not be bought without first considering where and when they will be used. So how does one decide where to spend his money? Not an easy question to answer.

First of all, if you are a member of a Muskie club, talk to your club mates. Ask them what type of lures they have had success with and what are the lures with which they have NEVER had success.

Develop a plan of attack for your fishing trip. The plan should take into account the time of the season, the color of the water and the success of other fishermen on that body of water.

Lastly, check out the local Muskie haunts and see what lures are actually catching Muskie. Many resorts keep Muskie charts and many Muskie anglers will, although reluctantly, give you some sense of the lures that are working.

We all work hard to plan an intelligent approach to our Muskie outings. Apply that same attitude to deciding what lures to buy (if any) as you move into the next Muskie season.

Tight Lines.