Late Season Tactics

Using Markers Can Make A Difference This September day in 1999 started with the promise of a productive Muskie hunt. The overcast was thick, the West wind had the water just choppy enough and the water temperature had the Muskies prowling the bars in predictable patterns. The early evening light set the fall colors of the trees aglow as my fishing partner, John Dettloff, and I slid quietly onto an extensive bar. The bar was heavily populated with stumps and had water ranging in depth from 7 feet, at the edge of the channel drop-off, to 4 feet in the center of the bar. The deep water on three sides of the bar made this particular piece of structure prime Muskie water. The Muskie had been hitting on surface baits in the evening, so we outfitted our rigs with a globe and a wobbler and proceeded to work the bar. The weight of our lures stripped the 40 pound test white micron line from our reels resulting in long casts into the center of the bar. We were covering a lot of water with our long casts and our expectations were high that we would produce a Muskie. We were not disappointed. About 20 feet from the boat a Muskie rose, snapping at John's wobbler and churning the water into a foam as he rolled in the light chop. The Muskie hit short however, and didn't feel a hook. In an almost automatic action, a marker made its way over the side of the boat to mark the general area of the sighting. We continued to work our way along the edge of the bar toward the deep water drop-off. Ten minutes later it happened again. A Muskie followed my globe arching his dorsal fin out of the water as he lunged for my lure. This Muskie turned out to have the same failing coordination as the previous fish. As with the other Muskie, this fish didn't feel a hook either. Another marker was dispatched over the side to mark this sighting as well. We continued to work the edge of the bar toward the deep channel drop- off.