Right now is the time to target the biggest musky in the lake. With the cooling water temperatures big fall muskies are hungry and looking to eat!
The Biggest Musky are Biting Right Now!
In the next few weeks, the largest muskies in North America will become vulnerable to being caught, chiefly by hardcore muskie anglers willing to brave harsh, late-fall elements in exchange for a shot at the fish of a lifetime.
In large, deep, clear, North country lakes supporting suspended populations of cisco and whitefish, the largest muskies usually suspend and feed in open water, right along with these nomadic forage species, throughout much of the open-water season. As such, they live much of their lives outside traditional structure areas that most anglers fish. Until late in the season, that is.
As fall water temperatures dip into the low 40s F, ciscoes shift from roaming midlake basins to the edges of shallow humps and sharp-breaking shorelines with sand and gravel bottoms. As fall spawners, they move atop these areas at night to broadcast their eggs in the shallows, usually sometime in mid-November. When they do, muskies follow right along with them, temporarily abandoning their open-water lifestyle, concentrating on and along shallow structures where ciscoes spawn.
During the fall in rivers, the biggest musky tend to favor slow moving, deep holes. Look for schools of red horse, white suckers, and other baitfish to be close by.
Whether you are fishing a lake, reservoir or river, this is prime time to toss big baits in search of big fish. For years, large wooden jerkbaits, foot-long crankbaits and magnum
bucktails fit the bill. And like most good things, they never go out of style.
Complementing this traditional array are a modern lineup of massive, soft plastic creature baits, both weighted and weighted. Baits that exceed 12 inches in length, and more than a few ounces in weight.
Some are relatively straight in profile, like the BullDawg, featuring bulky bodies and slithering action tails. Others, like the Medussa, come alive with a writhing collection of arms, legs and tails. In general, those with fewer appendages have more subtle actions, and sink a bit faster than equally-weighted appendage baits. The more arms, legs, tails and such, the slower the baits sink, even though they appear to be wriggling like crazy in doing so.
Long, slow sweeps of the rod, followed by dipping the rod tip as the lure sinks on a fairly slack line, are key to working monster soft plastics, allowing them to achieve their maximum lively action on the descent.
One thing’s for sure: they’re real mouthfuls. Which is exactly what you want to fish with at this time of year, when the largest, snaggle-toothed jaws are snapping. Biggest musky prefer big meals, and the bigger the bait, the bigger the bite.