Late Season Tactics

Catching Those Uncatchable Musky How many times have you been on the water chasing the elusive Musky only to draw follows and no strikes? If you’re like me, you enjoy follows as they get your heart pumping and your concentration rising, but they are inherently disappointing. They don’t result in a landed fish. The lake that I most often fish seems to draw a follow rate of about 4-5 followers for every hooked fish. A technique I like to call "suckering" the Musky can greatly improve your hookup to follow ratio, if you don’t mind the added effort of carrying 5-10 live suckers on board with you. "Suckering" is deadly and extremely simple to execute. Here’s how it’s done. Simply float a sucker with a "quick-strike" rig. Leave out no more than five feet of line from the boat. Set the drag on your reel extremely light or leave it in free spool with a rubber band or some other device to keep the line from paying out. If you prefer, you can add a spinner blade to the tail of the sucker for added attraction. Keep your sucker as deep as possible but it is important that you are able to see the sucker. One friend of mine swears by large goldfish because he says both he and the fish can see them better. This is a photo of a 42 inch, 23 pound Musky that I "suckered". This fish never hesitated, he came right off of my bucktail and in one motion devoured my 10 inch sucker. Whichever bait you choose, don’t change your fishing strategies, i.e. keep casting whichever baits you think will produce during the particular conditions you are fishing. I like this technique best when bulging bucktails in the fall. I seem to draw an inordinate amount of follows with this technique at this time of the year. I know those fish are hungry and are trying to fatten up for the long winter ahead, but until I began "suckering fish", I often couldn’t get them to strike. You must be alert at all times when using this technique. It is critical that you see the following fish as early in the retrieve as possible because you want to run your lure right past the sucker. You literally want the following Musky to bump its head right into the sucker. You will be amazed how well this technique works. Oftentimes, the Musky will veer right off of your lure and head straight for the