Musky fishermen are a unique breed. It takes a special person to spend hours and hours chucking and winding, forsaking acres of water full of other species in search of that one big bite and trophy musky. Among them, even more dedicated are the true trophy hunters – folks that narrow their focus even further, targeting only a trophy musky over 50 inches.
In general, these trophy chasers all prescribe to the theory of “big fish: big bait”, which means that if you want to catch a giant you need to be throwing a giant bait.
If you’re interested in catching the biggest musky in your local lake, this one’s for you. We spent some time chatting up some of the best “big fish” musky anglers in the country, and produced this list of the top presentations to specifically target giants.
1. Big Bucktails
In recent years one of the hottest big-fish tactics is to “Burn Hair” – or run large, bucktails rapidly over submergent vegetation. Big trophy muskies lying up in the weeds have no choice but to strike when a giant bucktail whips over their heads. Top baits generally run 10 to 16 inches, and commonly have 2 oversized blades to produce insane vibration. Big bucktails are also surprisingly weedless when wound quickly.
2. Big Rubber Baits
The fastest growing musky bait segment is without question rubber baits. From just a few offerings several years ago there are now literally hundreds of soft plastic musky baits on the market. There’s a reason – rubber flat out catches giants. Rubber baits have a super natural action that appeals to the predatory nature of big muskies, can be worked in all depths and cover types, and offer big fish profiles in a package easier to fish. Trophy anglers typically heave rubber baits from 12 to 18 inches long that can weigh as much as a full pound.
3. Oversize Cranks
On big water like Green Bay, Georgian Bay, and Lake St. Clair – some of the biggest muskies each year fall to oversized crankbaits – trolled along offshore structure. Why not? Big muskies eat big baitfish – and the wobble of a 10 to 14 inch plug has serious big-fish drawing power. Most oversized cranks are better trolled than casted – unless you spend more hours in the gym than you do fishing.
4. Live Suckers
Despite the unbelievable advances in musky fishing lure technology developed in recent years – there are still more trophy musky landed each year on live suckers than any artificial presentation. In northern Minnesota and Wisconsin in the fall, you’re hard pressed to find a trophy chaser that doesn’t at least drag a sucker behind the boat while casting. Big muskies eat big suckers – it doesn’t get any simpler.