Late Season Tactics

Hangin' Jerk Baits Most of the time when fishing for Muskies our lure speed ranges from moderate to fast. Yet slower presentations are often more effective, especially in the fall. But most lures simply won't function well at slow speeds. A slow presentation will sometimes produce fish in the cold waters of late fall when nothing else seems to work. How slow is "slow"? I mean so slow it would drive the normal "run and gun" fisherman crazy. A slow lure retrieve has produced some big Muskies for me when all else fails. But. . . let me get a bit more specific. BIG JERKBAITS = BIG FISH Jerkbaits specifically can produce big fish action in the fall. But many popular jerkbaits are too buoyant and therefore need to be retrieved too quickly. Less buoyant models that "hang" during the pause between jerks are usually much more effective. The very best jerkbait will rise very slowly after being jerked down to depth. You can slow down the rise of these buoyant baits by either adding lead weight or soaking them in water. When adding weight to your lures, take into consideration the fact that they often take on water as you fish them and will get heavier. This natural water logging decreases the overall buoyancy and rise of the bait. Baits should be weighted so they rise slowly in a slightly nose down attitude. Usually, if you drill a hole just in front or back of the front hook hanger and add the weight, your modification will be successful. Some anglers simply pound in or glue a large egg sinker into the drilled hole. Others pour melted lead into the spot. When melting lead, heat it just to its melting temperature, and no more. Drip the lead slowly but evenly into the hole. This prevents wood burning. When the hole is filled with molten lead, lightly tap it just as it hardens with the round end of a