Early season musky fishing requires long casts with slow retrieves. Cold-water means musky are lethargic and in the shallows where they find warmer water. Keeping your distance is necessary as these shallow-water fish spook easily. Mepps Musky Killers or the Mepps Marabou will trigger strikes. Muskies will also hit smaller lures at this time. Mepps Aglias and Aglia longs are good choices for early-season musky fishing.
Try fishing either a #3 or a #4 Aglia with a silver or gold blade. A dressed or even a plain #4 Aglia Long with a goldbo or rainbow scale blade can also be very effective at this time. Fishing with down-sized spinners is common among seasoned musky fishermen during early season, but fishing plain spinners is not that common and it’s smaller profile just could be your ticket to success.
Use top-quality light-weight leaders with ball-bearing swivels. Ten-14-pound-test line is best. The heavier line used later in the season is okay for fishing Mepps Giant Killers but a poor choice for smaller lures. Take the time to play the fish. With the spring oxygen levels high you’ll have no problem releasing your catch safely.
End of June and throughout July – Use Mepps Musky Killers and the Mepps Marabou to work weed bed edges adjacent to deep water, especially weeds growing on under water points and sunken islands. The best times to fish are sunup to 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. until dark. This should have you fishing when the lake isn’t “busy,” and the fish are on the feed.
Whenever possible, do not use your boat motor. If the area you’re going to fish is within rowing distance, then row. If not use an electric trolling motor. If you must run your outboard shut it off two hundred yards from the area you want to fish, drifting into the area, rowing or using your trolling motor. You could be the only fisherman on the water so remaining as quiet as possible is the key to being undetected by active prowling fish.
White bucktails with silver blades fished in the first hour of morning daylight and last hour in the evening can be deadly. The genuine silver plating on Mepps blades will flash bright white even in low light. The second hour after daylight in the morning and two hours before dark try hot colors. At mid-day, fish gold blade with a black or brown tail, they provide a good silhouette for the fish to see in both direct and indirect sun light.
During the summer, on shallow lakes with an algae bloom, water clarity is reduced. Under these conditions use bright blades with black tails. Hot colored blades can be extremely effective.
Late summer and early fall, when the heaviest fish are most active, it’s time to break out the “big guns.” This is the time for fishing large tandem bucktails, the Mepps Magnum Musky Killer and the Musky Marabou. It’s time to fish deep lakes that develop a thermocline in July or August. The thermocline forms during summer when three layers of water with different temperatures and oxygen contents develop. The top layer is formed by warm surface water, the middle layer is cooler with the most oxygen (thermocline), while the bottom layer accommodates the least oxygen and is the coolest.
Its the oxygen-abundant middle layer that holds active fish from late summer to early fall. However, reaching even this middle layer can require a deep presentation. Tandem Giant Killers, Magnum Musky Killers or the Mepps Musky Marabou are perfect for these waters. A good color combination for deep, clear-water fishing is a silver or hot chartreuse blade with a dark tail. Hot firetiger is also an excellent choice.
September and early October means a progressive lowering of overnight temperatures creating lake turnover. One week prior to this turn over, action can be furious. Once the three layers have blended fishing can become tough. Continue fishing tandem Giant Killers, Magnum Musky Killers and Mepps Musky Marabou’s. Work weed bed edges, shallow rock &gravel bars, break lines, and point drop offs. These areas hold active fish. Finding green weeds in October can be the key to your success.
November is a time many musky anglers switch to fishing live bait… large 12-20″ suckers. These trophy fish, however, are also quick to chase down a Mepps Giant Killer Tandem, Magnum Musky Killer or Mepps Musky Marabou, as these large-profile spinners are very easily seen.
Vary your Retrieve – No matter what the season, when you see a fish following your lure, slowly speed up your retrieve and work the rod tip to alter the lure’s direction. Try taking it away from the fish. Modify your retrieve. Give three fast cranks on the reel, then one or two slower cranks. The pulsing retrieve will cause the shape of the bucktail or marabou tail to change. The tail will be more filled out during the slow retrieve stage and narrowed down on the fast cranks. This tactic repeatedly triggers fish to strike, and is usually more effective than figure eights. Besides, it is always better the have a fish hit your lure away from the boat rather than next to it.
Terminal Tackle – Always fish with top quality terminal tackle, especially line and leaders. Premium ball bearing swivels are a must. 7-Strand wire leader works well. Long leaders are not necessary. Ten-to-twelve inch leaders will do the trick. Keep your hooks sharp, but be careful sharpening them. Never file them below the barb. Filing a hook below the barb can weaken weaken it, causing it to break when stressed. The best way to sharpen any hook is with a Mister Twister Cone Hone hook sharpener.
After 20 to 30 minutes of casting cut off about two feet of line and re-tie your lure. The casting of any heavy lure creates abrasion. These tips can help you connect with the fish of a lifetime. When you do, remember to practice catch and release.
For more information on Mepps Musky lures check out the following:
- Mepps Musky Killer
- Mepps Magnum Musky Killer
- Mepps Giant Killer
- Mepps Marabou
- Mepps Musky Marabou