Lure Selection...

A Monthly Profile

By: Craig Sandell 2017


Before we get too deep into this, remember, the month of May is a truncated fishing month and the month of November is typically cold weather musky fishing using live bait.

The table shown below is the basis for the graphs that display a picture of lure production over the seasonal months.

May

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Bucktail

12

128

77

124

107

16

Surface

2

93

102

188

153

4

Crank

16

16

13

17

19

18

Jerk

1

7

11

16

37

25

Live

7

2

4

3

28

74

The chart shown below provides a more detailed perspective on what lures worked well for each of the months of the season. As you can see, there are some predictable lure patterns in the chart presentation. One of the interesting patterns, though, is related to crank baits.

Lures By Month

The interesting thing is not the number of Musky caught on crank baits. What is interesting is that even though the crank bait catch quantities for each month are generally low, the productivity of the crank bait was consistent over 6 of the 7 months of the season. Although trolling is allowed on the Chippewa Flowage, the crank bait does not get a lot of use because of the relatively shallow water and the abundance of sub-surface clutter even in the deeper river channels. This study would seem to indicate that a crank bait is a good lure choice for almost any time, assuming you are fishing the type of cover and depth of water most conducive to the crank bait.

Not surprisingly, bucktails and surface baits account for the majority of the Musky caught over the Musky season. The study shows that bucktails and surface baits are producers, however, you MUST keep in mind that these are classic Musky bait categories. The high numbers of Musky caught on them could be related to the fact that more people are fishing with these types of lures than with other lure types. The jerk bait also shows some productivity over 6 of the 7 months of the season although September and October have higher catch totals than the other months for the jerk baits. Once again, this could be related to the fact that not as many people fish jerk baits as other lure types.

Personally, I didn't get confidence in the use of the jerk bait until relatively recently. Once I started using the jerk bait, I found that it produced Musky and was useable in almost any condition of weather and structure. The live bait catch information is not a surprise either. Late in the season is live bait time, however, many people swear by the technique of hanging a sucker over the side, while casting other lure types, throughout the Musky season or what is referred to as "Suckering Musky".

Well, are bucktails and surface baits the most productive lures? The catch statistics would appear to tell us that, however, we need to be sure that we are not "short changing" other lure types.

What is the best approach to lure selection? When I fish I have 3 rods set up with different line weights, different reels with different retrieve ratios and different lure types. I try to balance the use of each of the artificial lure types, depending, of course, on the condition and depth of the water and the prevailing weather.

Checking The Weather