Buckle up, because we’re talking all about Musky Mastery in this week’s show. No doubt about it, muskies are at the top of the list for many anglers, and it’s because of their attitude and their trophy potential. The bite is definitely hot right now, so if you like big fish and big bites, you’re gonna love this show. Today’s guest host is musky guru Jeremy Smith, who’s here to help us get one step closer to musky mastery.
Troy Lindner: Jeremy, what’s happening right now in the musky world?
Jeremy Smith: I am definitely going to love this show, Troy, because muskies are right up my alley. We’re in the heat of battle right now when it comes to summertime muskies. The water is warm and that means fish are hot and active now. There’s a lot of peak periods that happen throughout the year for catching big muskies, but this one happens to be one of my favorites because speed is such a big trigger for catching fish this time of year. Doing things like burning bucktails really fast is so fun, because you can see how fast these critters can really move and how wild they go when you hook them.
Troy Lindner: If you’re gonna go out right now and chase muskie what’s the program?
Jeremy Smith: Muskies are really like any other fish – food is key to finding muskies right now. This is a great time of year to find fish in weed beds. The weeds look really good and that’s where a lot of fish will be. We’re also starting to see a number of fish showing up on the main lake rock piles, but you need to pay attention to where you see food. If you’re seeing a lot of bait in the weeds or you happen to roll across a reef that has a lot of food on it, chances are, that’s where the fish are going to be. For presentation right now, it’s really hard to beat the inline spinner, a classic bucktail. That has caught more muskies than anything else. It’s insanely efficient at covering water and right now, it’s the time of year when muskies really love them. The other player that’s in the game right now is of course topwater prop style baits. When you’ve got that burning bucktail with the prop topwater on behind it, that’s a great program to cover water and find active fish.
Troy Lindner: I know muskies are very difficult to catch from personal experience, so what do you do if you’re throwing topwater and bucktails for hours on end and you’re not even seeing a fish?
Jeremy Smith: Yeah, muskies are tough and that is a really good question. The natural answer would be “change presentations”. Personally, I quit fishing, so to speak. I start driving around and looking at structure. If the conditions are slick and sunny and it doesn’t feel really fishy out, this is when you get to know the water really well. You can see in the water with your eyes, use your electronics to see what’s happening. Find the densest clumps of weed, go out to rock piles and see where the biggest boulders are. Muskies love to sit on the most prime piece of cover on any particular structure. See where the food is at. That way when the conditions improve, (wind, overcast, dawn, dust), you can be positioning your baits and your boat on the best spots to catch muskies.
Troy Lindner: That’s some great information on musky mastery. I have one more question regarding presentations: You’re talking about topwater, you’re talking about bucktails, so what size and kind of baits are you using?
Jeremy Smith: For bucktails, I end up fishing a lot smaller baits than a lot of guys do. For me, it’s smaller double bladed baits. The other bait that’s forgotten by a lot of people is the classic Vibrax in a size 5 or a size 6 French. You can put a lot of speed on these baits and muskies don’t see them as much anymore. They’re far less fatiguing than throwing blades in the size 9 or size 13 category. This is the time of year when they really work. On the topwater side of things, the prop bait is just a great deal for covering water, but if you’re seeing fish and they’re not biting, I still love coming back on fish at low light or when you think they’re gonna bite with a classic presentation like the old school Hog Wobbler, a Creeper, or even jump baits.
Another presentation that of course is great for muskies is jerkbaits. Jerkbaits are often thought of as fishing slow but you can fish them really fast, too. One of my favorite ways to catch muskies if they want speed but they’re not biting something in line is using the classic X-Rap in a size 12 or 14. You can make this thing dart and jump all over the place. You can put a lot of speed and action into the bait, but it’s not moving a great distance. Doing things like that end up putting a lot more fish in the boat over the course of the season for me.
That’s your masterclass on musky mastery – check our musky section for musky fishing content!