Musky Fishing Myths


How would you like to go to a weed bed with this one?

  There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process! 


There are as many myths about fishing for Musky as there are Muskies ! Woops….. The biggest myth of all, is the one I have been hearing for over forty years:  It’s the one that says it takes 10,000 casts to catch a legal Musky!  This myth has been perpetuated by novice fisherman, and by the Media for many years! If it even came close to being true, do you think there would be anyone left fishing for Musky? I would have given up a long time ago!  How about the guys that have caught a legal on their first cast?  Think that there would be an average somewhere along the line? I suppose it’s more fun to talk about 10,000 casts.  However, there is some truth to the idea that Muskies are more difficult to catch than other large game, although no way near as difficult as reported. It is also true that most wanna-be novice Musky fisherman do not know the first thing about how, where or when to fish for Musky. These novices travel thousands of miles, and spend a zillion bucks every year only to come home to brag about a few follows! Yes, I did say follows!  It makes me laugh to hear them actually talking about seeing a fish! Well, I guess it’s human nature! I was in the same boat (no pun intended) at one time…..and don’t get me wrong, it is exciting to see a five foot creature watching  and following your lure. It does usually indicate that the Muskies are some what active….. Your better die hard Musky hunters know how to take advantage of this, using some tactics, like figure eights. I will give the mighty Musky a good amount of credit for their ability to get off the hook when connected. The real big muskies I have had on have always figured out a way to get off! Your more experienced Musky hunters say pretty much the same thing. I think it’s because of their extra hard mouths and sharp gill plates.

Here is a true story just to help prove my point:

Back in the day (October 1939) John Coleman, a  Chicago residence  fisherman made a trip up to Eagle Lake Ontario.  John had never caught a Musky in his life, and did not even know what they looked like. As luck would have it, he hooked and landed a 60 lb 8 oz beast that was a new worlds record at the time!

If you catch a ten pound  Musky you are a lucky person. If you catch a 20 pounder, consider yourself  to be most fortunate. If you ever land one over thirty pounds , you belong to one of the most exclusive fraternities in the sports world!

Another flat out Myth is that Muskies are the best fighters of all fresh water game fish in America. Well, that is not true! Sorry, all you die hard Musky hunters! A Musky does not compare to the “King”!  I’m talking about Chinook Salmon…..For those of you that are reading this article and  that are thinking that i’m nuts, I’ll explain why the Musky is over rated…..

The largest Musky I have ever caught was a thirty-two lb. 52 inch beast I nailed back in 1983 at Lake Of The Woods, Canada.  The total fight lasted about five minutes. It was really hard to believe that it gave up so easy! It made two short runs, tried to get under my boat and into my net it went!  The largest “King,” I got in my boat was just over twenty-eight pounds, I caught puppy up in Door County Wisconsin on Sister Bay. I had to follow it in my boat for fear it would take out all my line, like many big Kings do.  The fight lasted about an hour! After many long runs, including one that almost took out all of my line, the giant jumped a few times along side my boat and tried to wrap around my motor.  It almost got off close to the boat, but I was lucky enough to land it. That is not the only time I have to compare the two fish.  There have been many times big kings have taken out all of my line. This has never happened to me while fishing for Musky, and  I have had some real hawgs on. The Muskies I have caught in the twenty pound range did not even compare to some king salmon I got in the teens! I believe Muskies do not have nearly the stamina as salmons.   The two fish don’t even come close when it comes to fighting power. It burns me up to hear and read all the hype about how great Muskies are…..It makes me wonder if any one of the writers have ever fished for the “King?”

One thing is true! Some Musky fisherman do get hooked on the pursuit of a trophy Musky, and at times it becomes a compulsion! This relentless pursuit is sometimes called “Musky Fever”. (see my article called Musky Fever) Many years ago I had the sickness my self! I was cured when I started fishing for Chinook Salmon (The King) on Lake Michigan back in 1967.

Here are some more myths!

Muskies destroy smaller game fish populations:
Not true! Most lakes do not have that many Muskies to  destroy anything!  Northern Pike on the other hand can obliterate  game fish population because of their tendency towards a larger population density.

Muskies do not feed in Summer months because they lose their teeth and have sore mouths:
WOW! What a bunch of BS!  I have caught my biggest Musky in the Summer. Record show that most trophy Muskies are caught in July.

Muskies always hang out around weeds:
They do like weed beds, although that is where the smaller ones hang out. The big girls are in the deeper cooler waters, often suspended in open water or hanging out by the rocks (especially in waters that have walleye)

Muskies do not bite at night:
This one is just false!  I for one have caught many Muskies in the dark, and have seen some real beasts caught on surface lures.

Muskies are loners: (seeing is believing) 

Nope! I have seen muskies travelling in pairs. I have also witnessed groups of them in weed beds, and some sandy shallow areas, as well.

Muskies over 100 lbs have been netted by the authorities and by the natives:

There has never been a documented 100 lb muskie anywhere. This has been proven by many authorities  over and over again. This one is just  a fish story and Media hype!

Suspended Muskies  are sick:
Anyone that believes this horse shit is the sick one!

Big lures, big Muskies:

Another Myth!   Big Muskies will hit any size lure…..Many big Muskies are caught  on small lures every year!

Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish for Muskies:

 Documented proof shows that more Muskies are caught between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

You will catch more Muskies using Fluorocarbon than with steel leaders:

Here is what one Great Lakes troller had to say:

Tested fluorocarbon for number of seasons and honestly did not notice any significant difference in hookups.At 10 times the price of Big Game mono I wonder if it even makes sense for trolling.

Knot strength is a problem with fluoro where some say line rating gets cut 50% at the knot. I have used easy but bulky Double San Diego Jam Knot with success but fluoro still has its weak points at the loop knot and some chaffing and splitting after time. lost some nice lures and fish due to fluoro failure when using double Palomar.

Most rigged lures come with regular mono and I used such with great success and getting to the conclusion that fluoro for trolling can be just plain O waste of money. It is not like line is suspended to the bottom where fish swim around as in case of trolling fish usually follow the bait and line takes more of a horizontal path thru the water.

What do you think, is fluoro leader truly worth the cost just to feel better about the business end of things?

 Now this one is my own opinion and might not be shared by others. Nothing has even been proven that using steel leaders are not as good as any of your plastic leaders. Fact is:  More world record Muskies have been caught when there was no such things as “Fluorocarbon leaders!”  I think that if a Musky wants a bait, it will hit regardless of what it is tied too!  The records will prove this to be true.  Another reason I like steel leaders, is that they can not be cut by a Muskies gill plate…A hawg Musky can and will cut through any type of plastic leader!

Here is a typical hyped up article written back in the day….. I would be willing to bet that it was written by someone  that has never caught a Musky, and maybe never even fished for one!  It’s articles like this that helped build the myth of 10,000 casts…..give me a break! I would rather catch a 10 lb steelhead any day of the week! Here it is word for word:

The open mouth of even a 10 pound Musky is a real attention getter. The powerful jaws, stacked with hundreds of needle-like teeth, can cut heavy line with a single chomp. Fishermen will try anything to coax a strike. When a strike does come, most agree it’s worth the wait. Sudden impact and powerful, high speed runs describe the action……1987 Fishing Guide

 building…..more to come!