Jeremy Smith has refined his live bait rigging methods over the years when using suckers for musky. The best rig he has used is the rubber band method. It kept your bait lively and has a great hook up percentage.
Rigging Suckers for Musky: Rubber Band Method
Live bait muskie fishing has been an obsession of mine for a long time and building the best mousetrap has just been a perpetual exercise. I have been constantly trying to figure out the best way to fish suckers for musky.
The real secret to successful live bait muskie fishing is having really active bait and there’s a couple ways to do that. The first one is taking really good care of your bait and getting the freshest bait possible.
The second is not stressing out your bait.
One of the biggest stressors to bait is actually putting hooks into the sucker minnows you are fishing with.
When using suckers for musky, I have created a live bait system were you don’t actually hook your minnow. By doing this your sucker is going to be very active and your hook up percentage is going to be much higher. It’s a bridle system which most live bait muskie fishermen are familiar with.
You’ll need a bait needle, and a small rubber band, and a larger rubber band about the width of the sucker you will be using for bait.
You start by sliding the larger rubber band up on my main line. Next you’ll go ahead and run a bridle with the smaller rubber band attached through the nose of the of the sucker minnow.
Use the bait needle to get it through and then pull it snug and tight (if you have to wrap the rubber band around a few times to make it snug do that).
Once you’ve done that clip it onto the main line.
For live bait rigging I like using a 30 pound titanium leader. This is a much lighter system than most guys use.
I know a lot of guys are using really heavy stuff with heavy sticks, but I prefer to fish for Muskies with live bait just like you would fish for for walleyes with a live bait rig. I use a longer, softer rod.
Now that you got that rigged this is where the larger rubber band around the mainline comes into play. I’ll drop this rubber band down and this goes over the sucker. Then I’ll clip on my VMC 96 17 to the leader and I’ll run that with a 3/0, 4/0, or 5/0 size hook depending on bait size. Then I use the rubber band to secure my hook.
Then when I go to set the hook, it gets set into the musky and I’m not having to rip it out of my bait to set the hook.
Using the rubber band method is a great way to fish suckers for musky during the fall bite!