The Muskellunge is unquestionably the number one apex predator when it comes to North America’s lakes and rivers.
Yes, fish like Sturgeon are much bigger and stronger (sometimes), giant Lake Trout have been documented eating eight-pounders of their own species, Northern Pike school up and slash anything in their way; however, there’s no comparison to the all-round nastiness when it comes to the muskie. When you hear stories of someone’s little pet dog Fluffy being engulfed from the lake’s surface, that pretty much sums it up.
Muskie fishermen are also a breed on their own. They take fishing to the next level: multiple rod-and-reel combos at about a thousand to fifteen-hundred bucks a pop (don’t let the wives read this); trolling speeds in and around (and sometimes over) fives miles per hour; weather conditions that would put the average angler in the cottage beside the fire; and, finally, throwing lures and baits all day long that only England’s strongman Eddie Hall should be able to handle.
We asked two of our favourite muskie fishing experts (Gord Pyzer and John Anderson) what they throw with the most confidence when stalking “the fish of 10,000 casts.”
Here are the Top 5 Muskie Baits they recommend:
Top 5 Muskie Baits
Gord “The Doc” Pyzer lives in Kenora, Ontario, home of “Husky the Muskie” and, more importantly, in the heart of muskie country. He’s a multi-species expert but has an extreme fondness for the Muskellunge. Lately, Gord has been accompanied by his grandson Liam who is genuinely turning into one of the best all-round young anglers in the country.
Here are three—yup, you heard it right, THREE—of Gord’s Top Muskie Baits (as written by Gord):
Mepps Muskie Killer
This one might surprise you because it is so old school, but the original Mepps Muskie Killer is lethal when the season first opens. Muskie anglers will tell you the big toothy critters prefer smaller lures early in the season because they’re eating smaller bait. Nonsense. The reason smaller lures work so well is that you can retrieve them much faster and keep them moving just under the surface. Oh yes, all the colour combinations work well, so long as it has a silver blade and white bucktail.
The best day of muskie fishing I have ever enjoyed was on the Detroit River with guide Jon Bondy. We caught fifteen muskies in as many hours, including four Incredible Hulks in the forty-pound-plus fish-of-a-lifetime category. Even most of the “smaller” fish tipped the scales at more than thirty pounds. And every one of them fell to a vertically jigged Bondy Bait. I never leave home without at least one rod rigged with one.
Water Wolf Lures Shadzilla
The Shadzilla is one of my key “go-to” muskie baits when I am fishing shallow structures (underwater points, saddles and rock piles) that lie adjacent to deep water. I love the way you can cast it up shallow and swim it back to the boat while banging it through the rocks, but then let it flutter and fall when it reaches the transition zone between deep and shallow. That is also when so many of the big fish hit. I think they follow it out and then smack it when it makes the desperate directional change. I’ve gotta confess, too, the paddle tail and side-to-side wobble make it an excellent bait for converting follows.
Ang’s Opinion On Gord’s Choices
When “the Doc” speaks, people need to listen. I absolutely love Gord’s above choices as they cover a really nice range of muskie bait types. The smaller inline spinner is an absolute beast in the early season. We’ve caught lots of big Esox on these (all year long, in fact). The Bondy bait may look a little strange (okay, a lot strange), but its success in fish production is not at all strange. It’s’sIt’s’s a fantastic river bait that I can’t wait to try on Lake St. Francis (St. Lawrence River). Finally, the Shadzilla. If you have used one, you’ll know exactly what Gord is talking about when referring to the side-to-side wobble. If you haven’t tried one, do it!
Note – Outdoor Canada Magazine Fishing Editor Gord Pyzer is widely regarded as Canada’s most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer, he worked for 30 years as a senior manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources before devoting all his energies to fishing. A member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, the award-winning writer is also an internationally sought out speaker, tournament angler and field editor with In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you’re in southern Ontario, tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit www.fan590.com and listen live online.
CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 FOR MUSKIE EXPERT JOHN ANDERSON’S TOP PICKS.