In this article we’re going to help you select the proper Musky tackle for Musky fishing. As you are aware you’ll need a specific musky rod, musky reel, line, leader, and musky lures. So let’s take a look at the rod itself first.
Musky Tackle: The Musky Rod
When talking about musky tackle, we most certainly need to discuss the muskie rod. Most fishing rods for everyday use are anywhere between 6 to 7 feet in length. They usually have five or six “line guides” that are affixed to the shaft. The handle itself might have many different handle styles. One might be where the reel is center mounted by twist rings and cork handles, where others might be a simple handle with an index finger hook for holding the rod while casting or reeling. The guides on a spinning rod will be small at the tip of the rod, and then get larger as the guides get closer to the handle. A Musky rod is often shorter, at about five and a half feet long, and a much stiffer rod. Because of the power of the fish, the stiffness adds to help provide resistance when the fish is fighting the line. Because the line of a level wind reel (bait casting reel) is peeled off of the spool by the weight of the musky lures as they are cast out, the guide rings are not as large at the handle end as they are with a spinning rod.
So if you are using a spinning reel, you’ll need one type of rod, and if you are using a bait casting reel, you’ll need a rod designed for that application. A good example of a widely used bait casting rod for everyday fishing is called the “Ugly Stick®” made by Shakespeare. They come in many different models for both bait casting and spinning reel applications. However, we recommend when using bait casting reels that you consider the Shakespeare Ugly Stick® either model USCA561M or the USCA562M. These two models will accept muskie lures adequately up to 5/8 of an ounce. Which is great for smaller crank bait type lures as we talked about in “How to Catch Muskie” before. The difference between the two is the handle style. But they are both medium action and 5.6 foot musky rods that are ideally suited for Musky fishing, and are reasonably priced.
Another tiger musky rod that is excellent for Musky fishing is from the St. Croix fishing rod company in St. Croix, Wisconsin. These rods are very high end rods and without a doubt some of the best muskie rods for sale. They have many different models to choose from. When you buy one of these rods to add to your musky tackle you have many handle styles to choose from. They also make a specific model for Musky fishing called the Legend Tournament® Musky Rod. We can’t say enough good things about this musky rod. It should be a part of every musky hunter’s musky tackle. This rod is much longer at six foot nine inches and is for jerk bait fishing. Those muskie lures can weigh as much as three to eight ounces. The extra length of this rod allows those musky lures to be “whipped” to their target destination. They will also accommodate fishing line between fifty to eighty pound line test strength. These are just a few of the musky rod choices that are out there, as there are many more. You will have to shop around and see what best fits your style, comfort, and your budget. It’s a wise idea to have a couple of the different types of muskie rods included in your musky tackle. Check out the top 3 Best St. Croix Musky Rods For Sale.
Musky Tackle: Musky Reels
Nothing can ruin your fishing experience more than a bad, low quality musky reel. Low quality reels tend to break easily, are not able to withstand the vigorous wear and tear of musky fishing, and have a tendency to lead to knotted fishing line.
While they can be expensive, the good musky reels are worth their higher price. They tend to function smoothly, can last a lifetime with proper care, and lend themselves to trouble free muskie fishing. Check out our Top 5 Musky Reels that we highly recommend for all muskie fishermen. No matter which you choose, you can’t go wrong with a Shimano Calcutta reel.
Musky Tackle: Musky Net
It is vitally important that you invest in a good, high quality musky net. You want a net that is sturdy, durable, and will do minimal damage to the musky. Some nets will entagle either your lure and/or the fish, and those cheap musky nets should be avoided.
Just like a solid musky reel, a good muskie net can be expensive. However, this piece of your musky tackle should last you a lifetime with proper use and care. A Beckman, Frabill, or StowMaster musky landing net are all great choices.
Musky Tackle: Fishing Line
Fishing line choice is another thing we will look at in regards to musky tackle. Should you use monofilament, braided, wire or something else? Each fishing line that you decide to implement as part of your musky tackle has different positive and negative characteristics. Deciding which musky fishing line to use depends mainly on which reel you are using. Not all musky reels were designed for using braided line, for example, and their winding mechanisms are not ‘braided line friendly’. Again, this depends 100% on the chosen reel. Some spinning reels do great with braided line.
Some of the benefits of braided fishing line include: longer casting, more fishing line capacity, increased sensitivity, and less line stretch. When using a braided line, however, you need to be aware of potential chafing against your fingers. There are ways to prevent this, however.
You may be concerned that the Musky will see the line. However, the fish will not be concentrating on the line. He’ll be concentrating on the musky bait you put in front of him, always thinking that if he does not go after it he’ll certainly miss a meal.
If you choose to use monofilament line in your muskie tackle, you will have some advantages. Monofilament line also comes in different colors of choice. But when that line hits the water, while you are retrieving it, it becomes more transparent than a braided line. Monofilament lines also stretch. This is especially important if you are dealing with any kind of reel back lash. Ultra Violet (UV) rays from the sun can affect the longevity of your line. The UV rays can make the line brittle, it can make the line less resistant to abrasion, and can cause it to break with much less force than what it was designed for. This is true for all types of material used in the manufacture of fishing line.
A third kind of fishing line known as PDVF, or Polyvinylidene Fluoride, or more commonly known as Fluorocarbon line, is one of the new modern man-made filaments used in fishing line today. This fishing line is very popular because of its refractive index, i.e. being less visible in the water. However, much like most monofilament lines it stretches when put under a load. This makes the action between man and fish less one on one. Meaning when an angler sets the hook, the fishing line stretches due to the force and the action felt by the angler has an ever so slight delay. Because of that the industry has come up with a completely new fishing line known as a “Superline”, which is a co-filament and thermally fused line. This new construction and material will allow the line diameter to be much smaller, reduces line stretch and provide great strength.
Regardless of which muskie fishing line you choose, be sure to keep a good amount of spare line in your musky tackle box.
Musky Tackle: The Leader
It is highly recommended that you use a leader between the fishing line and musky lures. There are many different types of leaders for you to consider. They could be Dacron, Titanium, Stainless Steel, coated wire, or many other materials and diameters. Leaders are also rated by tensile strength. The smaller diameter of a straight wire leader, the more likely you will be dealing with kinks and twists. The wire leaders that are braided will less likely have this problem as they are very thin pieces of wire, meaning individually they are more flexible, and when they are braided together they provide added strength and flexibility. Some of these braided leaders come with a protective plastic coating, while others do not. They may come in different lengths pre made with a snap swivel at one end and a loop at the other for affixing your line. They also come on rolls where you will have the ability to make your own leader in varying lengths according to personal choice. A good length for a leader is somewhere between nine and twelve inches long. Everyone should have multiple leader choices as part of their muskie tackle.
Musky Tackle: A Proper Knot
This now brings us to the subject of fishing knots. While not technically musky tackle, it is important that you learn how to tie the correct fishing knots to affix all of your connections to the line. This means the swivels, leaders, musky lures, hooks etc. There are many different thoughts on what knot is the right knot to tie on a line. For expediency here we will talk about the few that you need to get started. Over time you will search and explore different concepts and chose your personal favorite fishing knot.
The first one is the Snell knot. This fishing knot is used to tie a line directly to a hook. It is especially a good choice because it does not have a tail and it is fixed in such a fashion that it keeps the hook straight in line with the fishing line it is tied too. It is not meant to be tied to a lure, leader, or swivel. For that type of knot you should use the Improved Clinch Knot.
We are not recommending the simple Clinch Knot here because you are fishing for very large fish, like Tiger Muskie. The simple clinch knot has been known to slip and become undone, and you do not need that when you hook into one of these monster musky. One of the advantages of the Improved Clinch knot is that as pressure is applied it tightens itself around itself. This ensures that it will not pull free.
And last, but certainly not least, is the Palomar Knot. This fishing knot is a combination of the Snell Knot and the Clinch knot in that when it is tied correctly it will keep the line straight in line with the device it is being tied too.
Follow these tips and suggestions for your musky tackle and you’ll certainly improve your chances of catching that next trophy Tiger Musky. Be sure to also check out this video for more tips on selecting the best musky tackle.
Now that you’ve got all of this great tackle, it’s time to check out the best musky tackle box reviews.