Live Bait Muskies !
Musky are moving into the shallow waters, and they are hungry
March and April are prime months for trophy musky fishing across Ohio’s lakes and rivers. Musky can be caught this time of year using big spinners and plugs, but live bait fishing can add an exciting twist to what you might be used to.
Live bait musky fishing is probably the most thrilling way to go after these rod-busting bruisers. The setup you will need should emulate a smaller scale version of what was used in the movie “Jaws.” Big heavy rod, heavy line with wire leader, and big bait-clicking reel is the rig you should have, because when fishing for musky, you need to use musky equipment. You may be able to land a baby with a smaller rig, but if you hook into a 30+ pounder with a catfish setup, you will not stand a chance.
The hard work for this type of fishing actually begins the day before you head out. The bait you will need to go after trophy musky is difficult to find in local bait shops, and if you can find it, it will cost you a pretty penny. If you want quality bait, you need to get it yourself, and this means a long day in your waders seining undercuts for big suckers and chubs. A good day of live bait musky fishing will require at least a dozen suckers and chubs 8-12 inches long. A 12 inch sucker 3-wayed to a one ounce sinker on a wire leader is all that you need to go after that wall hanger musky.
When your clicker starts singing do not panic! Live bait fishing for musky requires that you let the fish run, stop, then run again before you set the hook or you will loose over 50% of your strikes. A musky will grab the sucker horizontally in his mouth and thrash around to kill the bait. If you set the hook at this time, the musky will let go of the bait, and you just lost your fish. By waiting until the musky stops and begins to turn the fish into his mouth, you will ensure a better chance at a solid hook set. Waiting too long however can allow the musky to actually swallow the bait and do possible harm to the fish. Using heavy duty circle hooks and being able to read what the fish is doing before you set the hook will go a long way to ensuring that you land your fish and release him free of harm.