Musky fishing is becoming a popular part of fishing. The price of equipment forces many anglers to pass on the sport. The casual musky angler does not want to spend $400 or more on one set-up. Instead they need tackle that gets the job done at a reasonable cost. People will ask for recommendations and be overwhelmed. The rods and reels exceed their budget. A rod and reel for about $200 make it affordable for anyone.
There is some tackle in an affordable range for casual or beginners wanting to try out musky fishing. The lower cost tackle will have the power and other elements needed for musky. The downside is quality. The lower cost tackle will not perform as well. The rods weigh more and reels lack some features. Fishing 20 or so times a year is fine. Going after musky more means upgrading to better tackle.
Casual Musky Angler Rods
A musky rod must have a good backbone or A.K.A. power. The lure weight is heavier for musky lures. A heavy bass rod will throw small musky lures up to 2 ounces. The bigger lures need a different rod. Rods with a lure rating of 2-8 ounces or higher is needed. Many musky lures fall into the 2-8 ounce range.
Also, longer is usually better, an 8 1/2 foot rod is normal. Some anglers use a foot shorter or longer. A casual musky angler will be served well with an 8 1/2 foot rod. While a heavy bass rod will land a musky, the lure rating is too low. The rod is not designed for musky lures. This will lead to fatigue when casting a few hours. Plus the rod is getting over-stressed also.
The St Croix Triumph is a good rod for musky. The medium-heavy rod will handle lures up to 3 ounces. The heavy power is for 2-6 ounce lures. An extra heavy will handle 3-8 ounce lures. The casual angler can be well served by the rod. It will handle many lures of all types. Also, these are one-piece rods and long. The one-piece rod is stronger but may cause problems transporting without a suitable vehicle.
|Item Code||Length||Lure Rating||Line Rating||Power|
Although limited in lengths the rods perform better than other lower cost rods. These rods are close to the high-end rods in quality and performance. A good choice for anglers throwing baits up to 8 ounces. This only eliminates the larger rubber lures weighing 12-16 ounces. Few people use lures that heavy since casting is tiresome.
The predator is a good choice for fishermen seeking a rod for specific lures. These rods come in more powers, actions, and lengths than other lower-priced offerings for musky. The only limitation is they are one-piece only. They are 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 feet so a car cannot carry one without some type of system on the roof.
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Angler wanting to be serious without spending a lot will like the predator. These rods allow anglers to target musky without breaking the bank. The actions and powers fit any lure and presentation, even throwing one pound BullDawgs. A rod that will fit your needs even after upgrading in the future.
The Predator provides performance for less money. The strong yet flexible tTec micro-weave carbon fiber blanks are ready to go up against the raging power of a muskie. Outfitted with friction-reducing tTec Musky guides and ultra-strong tTec reel seats. The rod includes a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
A low price rod anyone can afford. The rod can throw 2-8 ounces depending on the exact models. There are few to choose from and different lengths. The rod does perform well for casual or beginners trying out musky fishing. This rod is the lowest cost rod suitable for musky.
There are a few Musky rods in the Sojourn family. They range from medium- heavy to 2X-heavy model. All the rods use a graphite blank, aluminum oxide guides, and Shimano reel seat. The cork handle has a nicer feel than foam.
Check the chart for the rod you need for your choice in lures.
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These models of the sojourner musky rod will cover any lure or presentation. Choose the one that best fits your lures and style of fishing. A longer rod cast farther and shorter rods are better for trolling. The Sojourner is low-cost with many options.
Casual Musky Angler Reels
Reels suggestions are made from a personal view by others. They like a brand or read about it. They believe these are the only suitable reels for musky. A musky reel needs a high drag, line capacity, and the right gear ratio. Large baits are harder to crank so a lower ratio is needed. Buck-tail spinners need a fast ratio. The lure determines the ratio but all need a strong drag and large line capacity.
Those specifications limit choices in reels below the $300 range. The following reels are below $200. They have the needed drag, line capacity, and ratios for musky fishing. They will do the job and allow you to keep a low budget.
This reel paired with one of the above rods will cost the same as a better reel alone. The reel is adequate with line capacity and a 24 lb drag. Some of the higher cost reels have less drag. It also has a carbon matrix drag system preferred over a few other types. This reel is a workhorse low-profile reel.
- X2-Cräftic alloy frame and sideplate
- Smooth-flowing Infini II spool design
- D2 Gear Design
- Duragear heavy-duty brass gearing
- 8-bearing system
- 7 stainless steel HPCR ball bearings
- 1 roller bearing
- DuraClutch design
- MagTrax brake system 24 lbs max
- Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System
- Extended bent handle
- Lube port
The reel has a metal frame and side plate to add strength. Musky reels cannot be plastics. The stress of casting and retrieving large fish puts demands on the reel. The extended handle adds torque when reeling. A requirement for large lures. The big lures feel like a fish with the wrong tackle.
The Alijos is a surprising reel for the money. It has a lot of drag, line capacity, and options in the handles. The Shimano Tranx is 3-4 times the price. This is becoming a reel musky fishermen are choosing to save money. The reel starts off a little noisy and stiff but loosens up after a few outings. The reel is a great value for casual musky fishing. Plus is the lowest in cost.
- 33 lb drag
- Hamai cut hardened brass gears
- 8 double shielded stainless steel bearings
- One instant anti reverse bearing
- 5.9:1 and 8.1:1 gear ratios
- Double handle or strong power handle
Anglers throwing bucktails a lot will find the 8.1:1 ratio great for the fast retrieve. The slower retrieve is better for other lures but will do bucktail spinners also. You will have to reel faster though. Pairing this reel with a rod will keep the price at $200 or lower allowing more money for lures.
The C3 is long known for its durability. These reels will handle a musky with the drag and line capacity. An Abu C3 will excel in casting also. The centrifugal system uses six pins to control spool speed. Anglers can set the cast control based on ability.
- The smoothest-casting C3 ever!
- Lightweight spool design (25% lighter)
- Aluminum line guide ( 65% lighter)
- New bent star and handle
- Carbon Matrix Drag™ System
- New sideplate design
- 6-pin centrifugal brake
- Smooth 3-bearing system
- Instant Anti-Reverse™
- Synchronized levelwind
- Duragear brass gear
- 5.3:1 gear ratio
The ratio is lower than the other reels. The C3 is not recommended for bucktails for that reason. It will be hard to get the blades spinning. The reel does fine with large rubber, crankbaits, and jerks. There is not a one size fits all musky reel. This reel makes a good combo with the rods above at an affordable price. The reel can do double duty for catfish as a plus.
Lures for the Casual Musky Angler
There are a lot of musky lures available. Everyone has their favorites but the time of year has an influence. The lures for musky work best in different conditions or seasons. In cooler water slow baits are better and in warm water, speed is the way to go. This means a musky angler needs a few types of lures or they limit fishing to a short time of the year.
As an angler starting musky fishing the lures should be known by type and when to use them. The Dawgs are an all-year bait. The bucktails, crankbaits, and topwater are summer lures. A jerkbait or glider is the cool water or cold front lure for musky. The following lures are the ones proven to catch muskies. Choose a couple to start and add more as needed.
Jerk, Gliders or Crank Baits
Top Water Lures
Bucktails and Spinner Baits
Musky fishing is more expensive. Yet an angler can buy tackle in a lower budget then many suggest. A casual musky angler does not need to spend $500 to enjoy the sport. You can get started for a little over $200 and still have a suitable set-up. Add in line and a few lures and be under $300 to start. This gives everyone a chance to target muskies.