Musky Casting VS Trolling

Perhaps the title of this article should be “Deep vs Shallow”.  Indeed, that is what it pretty much amounts too. Just to make it clear again, there is no one method that is known to man that will allow anyone to catch muskies on a regular basis. I really think that ” time on the water”, is the most important aspect concerning musky fishing. Better yet “time, at the right depth, on the water,” is more like it! This is why I believe trolling is more productive than casting. It is the best method to keep a lure where the bigger muskies hang out , which is in deeper water. Certainly, we all know that some fantastic trophies have been taken in shallow water, and even on the surface. I have witnessed both!  If your obsession is to catch a musky over 30 pounds, I suggest that trolling should be your primary method. If you just want to catch a legal sized musky, I suggest casting should be your primary method. In my case, I  do both! Casting is good at certain times and places, and so is trolling.  In addition, trolling will allow you to fish for bigger muskies on the lakes that allow it. Also, what better way could there be to take a break from casting when your arms are about to fall off!

The myth that motor trolling for Muskies is depleting or hurting the musky population is not only stupid, but is wrong as well!  This myth is more than likely being perpetuated by some walleye clubs that do most of their fishing on lake St.Clair, Michigan, and by the un-informed media!

Another myth that is a bunch of B.S. is that trolling makes it too easy to catch a musky! This myth is spread by the media, and by some that have never even spent enough time on the water to even open their stupid mouths!

There is no shortage of articles written about trolling for Muskies. Their are  gobs written about the use of planer boards, leadcore, downriggers and flat lines. Just Google ‘trolling for Musky’ on the web, and you will see for yourself.  The how is probably not as important as the where when we talk about trolling for Musky…..Lake St. Clair is my first choice, although there are some super lakes up north in Wisconsin,  Minnesota, and  in Canada that allow motor trolling. If I have learned nothing else, I do know this:  There is no one method that can be used to catch Muskies consistently, and anyone that says there is, is full of it! I don’t just make a statement like that without some proof ! Over my many years fishing for the fish,  I have used every method known to the human race to capture a trophy large enough to mount! (30 lbs +) ish  It doesn’t take a mental giant to know that you can cover more water, with more rods,  much easier by trolling. However, that is where any advantage ends!  Musky hunters that cast can use some tricks that trollers can’t. They can cast where the big girls hang out, like drop offs next to weed beds, or openings  and pockets in a large weed bed. They can use figure eights, or change quickly to another rod with a different lure. Casters can work shorelines, small bays, inlets, shallower fish holding boulders and rock bars etc. How about those stumpy areas? 

This is what the great Len Hartman  (a well known musky fishing expert) had to say about trolling vs casting:

Trolling may not be the most exciting way to spend your time on the water, but it can be the most productive. Make sure that your line is far enough, that the drag is properly set: then point the rod back towards the lure, and wait. It is easy when you get used to it!

  • Deep water trolling caught many more fish for us in the plus-40 pound class than we were able to get by casting.
  • If you are on a body of water where there are deep holes or channels, the prize fish you are looking for is more apt to be down there than cruising near the surface with his younger relatives.
  • Trolling along a reef, or making big circles around it, will bring a musky faster to your lure than casting will.
  • Since there is less slack in your line when you troll, as opposed to casting, your hook-up changes are greatly improved.
  • Bait fish which inhabit deeper water are slow movers, and never in a hurry. Muskies down at those depths don’t require speedily-retrived lures to draw them into action. So be patient, and expect a miracle! It has happened to most of those whose names you most often whenever big catches are being discussed.
  • If you continue to fish in shallow lakes and rivers, trolling will not change your luck. It will only serve to spook the fish away from your good spots. Casting is probably the way to go…..However, don’t expect to come home with a trophy musky over 30 pounds. Records show that your bigger, deeper lakes produce the bigger muskies.

Len Hartman also says that you should troll about 3 mph and never fast!

I personally like to do both on the lakes that allow trolling!  I set up two rods, one with my choice of a dependable trolling lure, and the other rod with my chosen casting lure of the lake I’m fishing. I like to troll between the spots that I normally  cast, and I will troll as a break when I get tired from casting my ass off. I suggest that is the best of both worlds and has paid off for me. The only method that is totally objectionable to me is using live bait, like suckers, to fish with. It has been proven, over and over again that sucker fishing does kill trophy muskies. As far as I am concerned, it should be banned!