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 fresh water 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 6 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

5500-C3You 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 water proof, 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 $30.00. 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 hand held 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, water proof 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 $1157.00

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 $1557.00

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 sun glasses, a net large enough for Muskie, etc…As a budgetary number lets use $350.00.

Our running total is $1,907.00


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.