You ever have a BIG Muskie follow your sucker and not eat it? What do I do?

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Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 10/29/2009 - 7:59pm
You ever have a BIG Muskie follow your sucker and not eat it? What do I do?

Ive had several really nice muskies in the 45+ inch range follow suckers for the last week and they will tail it for over a minute sometimes, and not eat it.  I would just keep at the same speed as I was going and maybe even give the trolling motor a little boost to see if the sucker looking like it is getting a way might make them bite, but no luck. 

Any of you musky gurus have any advice for me?  I use just one single circle hook, so I don't think that the hook size making it look to unrealistic would be a problem.   Any ideas would be much appreciated!

 

Fellow Musky Maniac, Shane Wallen

Pete Maina's picture
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The Next Bite AdminMuskie Maniac
Joined: 01/18/2005 - 12:13pm

Hey dude,

Yeah, I've had it happen hundreds of times over the years. To be honest, there's no good, set solution. Playing keep away (speeding up), jigging 'em and even figure-eighting them ... have all worked for me on occasion. A higher percentage of the time ... if they don't nail 'em right away, most of the time they don't. I've had them follow for over an hour. I have no idea why they'd bother if not gonna eat. I would suggest that you try quickstrike rigs only. Have you used circles before on muskies? There are some cases of fish being gullet hooked (when I tried it that's what happened ... thankfully I'd pinched the barbs)


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Last seen: 2 years 12 months ago
Joined: 01/31/2006 - 9:29am

 90% OF THE TIME THIS HAPPENS IT'S BECAUSE YOU HAVE HIT  LESS THAN IDEAL  FEEDING CONDITIONS,ENCOUNTERED A SOMEWHAT NEUTRAL OR A CONDITIONED AND SHARP  BIG FISH BUT MORE SO IT IS BECAUSE;

1. YOUR BAIT IS LESS THAN PERFECT (POND RAISED INSTEAD OF WILD,TO BIG OR TO SMALL,OR WEAK ,JUST COASTING AND NOT SHOWING FEAR THUS TRIGGERING RESPONSES) go to lengths to find/ pick dark wild suckers and  take extra baits and use only the most lively and strongest baits rotating them so they stay strong and occasionaly pulling on them to make them swim and stay active

2.THERE IS TO MUCH JUNK VISABLE (TO MANY AND OR TO BIG OF HOOKS,TO HEAVY OR SHINY WIRE, SNAPS OR JEWLERY,RUNNING TO CLOSE TO THE BOAT,ETC)TO THE FISH ESPECIALLY IN CLEAR WATER  use as light of wire as you can get away with, use floro any place in the rig not in direct contact with teeth,smallest strongest hooks, darken or camo any shiny components with perm marker or paint to match bait colors,use as light or lack of weight you can depending on size,attitude of bait,and depth being fished,use jewlery only under dark windy conditions or green/dark water,or during  agressive fish movementS

3.LESS THAN PERFECT LIVE BAITING CONDITIONS. IDEAL AND HIGH FEEDING/LIVEBAITING CONDITIONS ARE N,NE,NW WINDS AND A FRONT COMING IN OR DURING IT AND SLOWLY DROPPING WATER TEMPS. TAKE A SUNNY,WARMING TREND,RISING WATER TEMPS ESPECIALLY DURING THAT 48-60 DEGREE RANGE AND YOU NO DOUBT WILL RUN INTO IT AT TIMES REGARDLESS

REMEMBER YOU ARE TRYING TO FOOL A BIG FISH THAT HAS SEEN ALOT OF BAITS,PROBABLY BEEN HOOKED OR CAUGHT NUMEROUS TIMES WITH WHAT IT NATURALLY FEEDS ON AND THATS THE WAY IT SHOULD LOOK AND ACT.

FISH A NUMBERS LAKE AND/OR LAKE WITH A HIGH DENSITY AND COMPETITION LEVELS,HIT A PEAK FEEDING WINDOW REGARDLESS OF WHERE OR COLOR OF WATER AND YOU'LL GET AWAY WITH NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ABOVE MENTIONED THOUGHTS MOST OF THE TIME, UNTILL IT REALLY COUNTS AND THATS WHEN IT IS TOUGHER CONDITIONS AND YOUR POTENTIAL PERSONAL BEST IS SITTING HTWERE BELOW THE BOAT JUST EYEBALLING.

STEVE HERBECK

ANDY MYERS LODGE

 

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Great info there. I have had it happen on fish that see almost zero pressure and never livebait. On the other hand I`ve had some fish that just wouldn`t let go. Netted two fish that were not hooked just hanging onto the bait. Those crazy fish. Isn`t that what makes this sport great? I think Steve made a great point about the fish being used to chaseing paniced bait in it`s natural state. Gear does matter too. I remeber when I first heard about flouro from a Tuna captain. He swore the Tuna wouldn`t touch bait on hard mono but would take bait on flouro. That was the day started useing flouro.

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I get pretty well slammed every time I make a comment like this...but I have pretty tough skin.....and if Herbie ever tried to find anything like a wild sucker here in the Milwaukee area he'd probably give up in disgust pretty darn quick. So, I have this formula that I will call "Musky-Chicken." It goes like this.....the worser the bite and the worser the suckers.....the smaller pound test floro I use. It's clearly a game of "chicken" because you continue to trade a higher chance of a bite for a higher chance of a bite-off. You could start off by saying that there is no way 130 pound floro is going to be invisible on a sucker harness like a "Herbie Rig" and that 6 pound floro is going to be ripped apart by even a sub-legal fish. Then you play the game and see where your fear of loss is bigger than your fear of not having been found. It's sort of whether you believe that crap about it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. My guess is that I will use lighter gear than almost everybody out there and NEVER use a second trebble on the rig. I have also had really good luck with an acceptable level of bite-off compared to what I belive to be a higher bite ratio. Naturally, we had water temps pass 60 degrees this week here, so I am done with suckers until September. Marty Forman

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marty,

i play alot of "chicken" in many ways but ain't got enough guts to use mono or floro on the hook leads mainly because i may only get that one or 2 chances a season at the fish of the year or a lifetime cause i got em' here and i've lost enough sleep over the years because of  preventable loses.

i don't think mono or floro tough ( 130# + is all i would begin to trust) enough to take the chance with inevitable and certain direct contact with slashing head shaking  teeth is not fairly visable.i have gone to 45# brown stranded wire(very thin and blends in well with the bait) from the hooks to the clip and i replace after a fish or 2 ( 3x-4x gamagatsu #2-3 round bends (small,dark grey,incredibly sharp and penetrate unbeivably well even through the top roof plate with even weak  hook sets),a short 3-4" length of 45-60# wire with a very small black 60-90# swivel (in case of a head hunter and also to attach rubber cores when needed cause thats were rock and abrasion contact will come ) connected to 80-100# floro leader of 4', uni knoted to a mainline of 40# floro. the floro mainline has enough stretch for forgiveness at boatside yet will set hooks good at the usual distances of 15-30' when setting the hook. also unlike braids that float  it is heavier and sinks so especially on my long line free swimming  search and destroy presentations (which is far and away the steathiest of presentations)  i need less weight,it also is much more abrasion and nick resistant and with the little bit of stretch probably has as  high a break point as 80# braid.

i am going to play a bit with a lead core segment to a 6-8'  leader to eliminate direct and close to the bait sinker/weght fatigue thus a lively and longer bait ;life,  fewer snags,etc.

believe me there is so much more to live baiting and so many diff presentations for diff situations and structures than most realize and a higher form of art than just  coasting or "dragging" a bait stuck full of big hooks below a float .

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I got a funny story. My freind insists on useing half inflated ballons for bobbers.  He feels they give the leaste resistance. So one day we get out on the lake and the ballons are all dry rotten from being in the boat. Whats he do? Pulls a condom out of his wallet and uses it for a bobber. Man we got funny looks that day. Hovever he also broke off a fish on 60# flouro. I use 20# or 30# wire on the stinger. 80# flouro on the lead and 20# flouro main line. I also love gamakatsu but no 2x or 3x for me just standard hooks if i can find them. The only reason my buddy broke off was he got directly over the fish and set the hook like he was tring to break the rod. A quick snap would have done the trick. If your gunna slam em like that wire is better.  I`m not fishing Eagle lake either. If i get a 30# fish thats pretty good.

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Trust me, I will not just be reading Steve's comments above, I will have them printed and kept in a safe place. No question there is a library there. For me, I have to admit my home lake is nothing like where Andy Meyer's Lodge sits on Eagle Lake however. Sure, I wait and dream of the big water trips and the lurking monsters that wait for someone who is careful to follow the advice of those who literally "own" the water up there. I live near Pewaukee Lake, probably not all that different than the Lake Webster area, Madison Chain, or even the Fox Chain and some of the numbers waters up near Eagle River. There are 50's in Pewaukee Lake. I have seen them, even had one on for a while once. But....there are (if we are honest about it) maybe four or five caught in a YEAR. I fish that lake a lot and most of what you catch is either sub-legal or just legal. If you catch 100 muskies there in a season, ten will be in the forties and maybe only five will be over forty-five. Obviously, I am not on the Chamber of Commerce, giving the honest 411 here. Now, add to that the fact that you will NEVER, NEVER, EVER be alone out there. You will fish every good spot only minutes behind the guy who just fished before you did. You will be cut off more than a call on T-Mobile, and be cussing out twenty guys a day who don't even live in the state of Illonois. Get the picture....it's tough out there. Catch a fish on a suicide bite on a certain moonset or sunrise...sure you can......but most of the time it's tough and the suckers you can buy are a sorry lot. So, am I going to get bit off with a 40 pound floro-leader on anything like a major-league fish,,,sure I am a lot of the time. But, the truth of the matter is that I am mostly going to catch a 35 inch fish, most of them will stay hooked into the net, and whether this is a sorry statement or not, "I am happy to catch that fish, on that lake, with that pressure, and those crappy suckers, and with a better percentage than most of the other guys who are loaded for bear out there with a yard of seven-strand and two 7-0 extra heavy trebbles. Marty

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I would agree that it`s ok to take more chances on heavily stocked water with no or little natural reproduction. I just don`t think (Alot of the time) is what people want to hear. You still should be responsible with the resource. As you said lots of people use it. Imagin everybody was breaking of alot of the time. I mean if your breaking off more than ten percent thats a problem. Andy

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The Next Bite AdminMuskie Maniac
Joined: 01/18/2005 - 12:13pm

Good stuff here. THanks for input Herbie ... good to have input from the best live baiter in the game (everything's arguable, but IMO). I hear you on the issue of things being tough on Pewaukee (any very heavily pressured water). I'm sure the lighter and cleaner the better. The problem with bite-off though, isn't so much the loss or missing of the fish, it's that the rig goes with it would be the concern.


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Joined: 01/29/2007 - 6:26pm

Just one more reply and I will let this beaten to death horse go to heaven. As always, there are items that fall through the cracks. There is no way I was taking any sort of light rig on a trip to big water. I also was not using anything but what is really a quick-strike (also known as a Herbie Rig) type of outfit with a single trebble that was not likely to become injested. Believe me, my hookset will never ever see the rubberband or the sucker ever again. Last, and I left this off in order to maintain some small modesty...I am not losing fish doing this or I would not be doing it. The last really trophy fish I lost on a bait rig was from a broken inferior snap (not on a Stealth product which is all I use these days) not on the line. And, again "downsizing" equipment in a neutral to negative bite is clearly nothing Marty Forman thought up all by himself. It is virtually the single most tried and true method of gaining a bite where there is none, and why virtually every FLW or BASS Elite Series Pro has half their rod locker filled with spinning gear and 6 pound floro. There it is just referred to as FINESSES fishing, but the lesson still appies to fish that have teeth. Anyway, I am not selling anything, don't claim anything, and don't need to convince anybody. I just want to catch fish, and one approach is being willing to lighten up on the line sometimes. Marty

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Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 01/29/2007 - 6:26pm

Just one more reply and I will let this beaten to death horse go to heaven. As always, there are items that fall through the cracks. There is no way I was taking any sort of light rig on a trip to big water. I also was not using anything but what is really a quick-strike (also known as a Herbie Rig) type of outfit with a single trebble that was not likely to become injested. Believe me, my hookset will never ever see the rubberband or the sucker ever again. Last, and I left this off in order to maintain some small modesty...I am not losing fish doing this or I would not be doing it. The last really trophy fish I lost on a bait rig was from a broken inferior snap (not on a Stealth product which is all I use these days) not on the line. And, again "downsizing" equipment in a neutral to negative bite is clearly nothing Marty Forman thought up all by himself. It is virtually the single most tried and true method of gaining a bite where there is none, and why virtually every FLW or BASS Elite Series Pro has half their rod locker filled with spinning gear and 6 pound floro. There it is just referred to as FINESSES fishing, but the lesson still appies to fish that have teeth. Anyway, I am not selling anything, don't claim anything, and don't need to convince anybody. I just want to catch fish, and one approach is being willing to lighten up on the line sometimes. Marty

Dustin Carlson's picture
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Last seen: 11 months 5 days ago
Joined: 04/09/2008 - 5:10pm

Guys,

 

I agree with much of what Herbie stated, if you can see that big girl chasing your sucker, chances is she is not going to go very far, try some of the things Herbie stated and keep going back to that area when conditions change or just every few hrs if you are out on the water for a full day.  Many muskies i have caught in the fall we have had followed and went back later only to catch them.  Usually when conditions change.

 

Good luck

Dustin Carlson
Northland Muskie Adventures Guide Serive
www.northlandmuskieadventures.com
218-464-2379

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