Musky lures for beginners cover the types of lures you will need. There are many brands and most work well. The key is using the right lure at the right time. Some lures are for all year, while others are specific to a season. Knowing which lure to use is more important than who makes the lure.
Lure makers try to sell their lures as the best ones. It is the type that matters. A buck-tail is unproductive in colder weather but great for summer use. The Bulldawgs and Medussas are great at any time of the year. They are productive depending on the situation. Trolling is productive with certain lures whereas some are not intended for trolling.
Also, any musky lure needs strong and sharp hooks. A weak or dull hook accounts for most muskies lost after the strike. Some lures have low-quality hooks so change the hooks. All lures have dull hooks by musky standards. So they need to be sharpened before fishing. The hook is sharp enough when it sticks to your fingernail when hung on the nail. If not, you must sharpen the hook. Losing a fish to a dull hook is depressing.
Soft Plastics Musky Lures
Beginners buying musky lures need to have a couple of big rubber baits. These lures are versatile. You can retrieve them fast or slow with jerks, pauses, or a steady retrieve. Changes in a retrieve cause fish to strike a musky is no different. A musky hit on figure eights because the lure’s retrieve has changed. This triggers a response in the musky. The fish thinks the prey is trying to evade.
The big soft plastics are the easiest bait to have to mimic prey behaviors. Besides the figure eight, they can be made to dip or dive looking like an injured baitfish. Using different sizes and retrieves the lures can work shallow or deep. In other words, you can put the lure where the fish and their prey are located.
Bulldawgs come in a range of colors and sizes. The 6-inch model is best in spring then go to the 9-inch when it warms up. The hook sizes are matched to the lure size with 1/0 on the 6-inch and 3/0 on the 9-inch model. A bigger model of 12 inches is available and has 7/0 hooks for the big one.
Medussas are another good soft lure for musky fishing. They come in 8, 12, and 15-inch lengths. The Medussas are larger and weigh more so a heavy rod is needed. Always check the weight on a lure before buying. The rod needs enough backbone to handle the lure.
Jerk Baits for Musky
Although intended to be used by jerking and pausing. These lures are also trolled or reeled in with steady retrieves except a Suick. They allow a lot of options in the presentations. They range in size from 5 – 10 inches although some are bigger. If casting, go with a smaller size and for trolling any size. A 5-7 inch lure does catch more fish. While a 12-inch lure is for the big ones.
Knowing the population and size of muskies in the waters you fish is important. Some waters have a lot of 30-inch class fish and a few have 40-50 inch fish. Choosing a lure depends on the size of the fish with jerk-baits. This affects other lures but seems to matter more with a jerk-bait. A lure 9 inches or longer tends to be hit by fish around 40 inches or longer. A good rule to follow is 25-30 % of the muskie’s length.
Musky Mania, Phantom Lures, and Joe Bucher make easy-to-use jerk baits. A Suick takes fine-tuning and practice for the best success. Beginners are better off with an easier-to-use lure. The shallow raider or phantom soft-tail are both great choices. They cast well and produce a good action that gets results.
Glide Bait Musky Lures
Glide baits work well all year but are the best to use in late fall and winter. These are large profile lures that can be worked slowly. A musky slows down in colder water. They still have to eat because of their body size. Using a slow presentation gives a musky time to strike the bait. Fish do not waste energy on fast lures in cold water. Besides, the larger profile appeals to a musky since it looks like a bigger meal.
Glide baits will require some practice to use. Twitching the rod tip while retrieving creates a swimming motion in the lure. Once learned it is a productive technique. A bait swimming back and forth at a slow rate is what a musky seeks at times. The rate can be changed and pauses added in to make it appear as an injured or confused baitfish.
The Livingston Viper comes in two sizes of 6 or 8 inches with 6 color patterns. You can match the food source with the colors. These lures have weight adjustments built in to have the lure float, suspend or sink. This makes it a great option by reducing the number of glide baits an angler needs. They are worth checking out for slow presentations in the suspending setting.
Buck-Tails for Musky
A summertime favorite for many musky anglers. A buck-tail covers water fast. After the spawn musky will spread out over larger areas. A bait is needed to fit this scenario. Single blade and double blade lures both works but spinner-baits are an option also. Choose a few spinners of each type since each works a little differently. Also, get different blade sizes and thicknesses.
The blades create vibrations and flash based on size and thickness. Bigger blades and double blades create more flash, and smaller blades rely more on vibration. A thinner blade vibrates faster and thicker blades make more of a thump. The wire size has the same effect. Thinner wire increases the vibration so a .052 wire is desirable on a couple. Single blade lures likely have .052 wire and doubles have the .062 wire diameters.
The Musky Mayhem, Mepps, Joe Bucher, and Blue Fox are all good buck-tails spinners. They offer the sizes and colors proven to be productive. Buck-tails do not cast as well as other lures so get the heavier models for more distance. This will also keep them down in the water during fast retrieves. A 3/4 ounce is good for slower retrieves, also 1 or two are good at times. In general, a 1 1/2 ounce is an all-around weight. Bucktails are one of the best musky lures for beginners.
Tip for Beginners; sometimes the blades will not spin easily or quickly. Bend the shaft as in the photo at the beginning of the article. It solves the problem.
Crank Baits for Musky
Crankbaits are designed to get to a medium depth or deeper when retrieved. A musky will seek deeper stable water during changing weather patterns. These are the lures for the job. Anglers troll crankbaits more than casting but casting is an option. Trolling keeps the bait at depth and casting you to have to work it down. Then after a short time at depth, it starts coming up. Muskies will follow lures a long time.
It needs to stay at the right depth longer. Long casts are a must when doing a cast and retrieve presentation. Also, medium-depth lures are preferable. You will be doing a lot of casting and reeling. This leads to fatigue cranking a lure to keep it deep. Consider trolling over other methods with crankbaits if possible. It is more productive and is not going to wear you out.
The Grandmas and Believers are the time-tested classics of crankbaits. Both lures are great trolling baits and have success casting. The other lures are effective also. Choose the size you need in your preferred colors. If casting look for the 5-6 inch models to avoid fatigue.
Top Water Musky Lures
Beginners to musky fishing will love a topwater strike. I had fish come several feet out of the water on a strike many times. Although limited mainly to summer and early fall, topwater lures are productive in the shallows. These lures make noise drawing the musky in to check out what is happening. In the early morning, evening, and at night are the best times.
The retrieve is medium to fast but sometimes a slow retrieve is best. Muskies will tell you what they want in speed. Try different rates until they start to follow or strike the lure. At times a musky will follow or nose bump a lure. Change the speed a little on the following casts. If they hit great and if they do not move on and come back. Do not overwork the lure, giving an area a break is what it takes sometimes.
Beginners need to buy noise-making topwater lures for musky. There are walk the dog lures that require some skill. The Top-raider, Pacemaker, and Jitterbug are good choices. They all produce splashing and slapping sounds to entice a musky. The first two are for fast retrieves and a Jitterbug is a medium speed retrieve. The con of the Jitterbug is the hooks. They will need replacing but it is a productive lure.
Beginners to musky fishing need the right lures. Using the wrong lure at a given time is unproductive. Start off buying a few for when you fish. Buck-tails for summer or soft plastics at other times of the year. Then add to the lures to expand your options. This will keep beginners from overspending on lures they may not use. You can always buy more later. Choose a lure type or two and get a few colors in each type.
Also in musky fishing hooks are a key item. Prepare to change hooks due to damage or cutting when releasing a fish.