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Delong Lures Blog

How To Catch a Muskie with a Bucktail

Muskie with angler and bucktail. how to catch a muskie with a bucktail

Catching a muskie, particularly for those new to the sport, can be a thrilling yet challenging experience. Below is a step-by-step guide designed to help novice muskie anglers navigate the complexities of targeting these elusive predators with a bucktail lure. follow this step by step guide and we will show you how to catch a muskie with a bucktail.

  1. Choosing the Right Bucktail

    Lure Selection: Select bucktail lures, such as the DeLong Berserker or Barbarian, that match the local forage in size and color. Small-bladed, heavy-weighted bucktails are effective for precise casts in shallow waters, especially around reed beds and weed lines​.

    Versatility: Have a range of bucktail sizes and colors to adapt to different conditions and muskie preferences. Changing weather and water clarity can significantly affect lure visibility and attractiveness.

  2. Gear and Tackle Setup

    Rod and Reel: Choose a heavy-duty rod and reel capable of handling the size and fight of a muskie. A fast-action rod around 7 to 9 feet long, paired with a high-capacity baitcasting reel, is ideal.

    Line and Leader: Use a durable, heavy-test braided line and a strong leader to prevent break-offs. Muskie teeth can easily slice through regular fishing line.

  3. Understanding Muskie Behavior and Habitat

    Seasonal Movements: Start by researching muskie behaviors during different seasons. In late summer and early fall, muskies often move to shallow waters as temperatures drop. Recognize the importance of water temperature and how it affects muskie location​.

    Preferred Habitats: Identify key habitats such as sand flats, rocky points, and weed beds where muskies are likely to hunt. Depth changes and vegetation can create ideal ambush points for muskies.​

  4. Casting Techniques

    Location Targeting: Focus on casting near the structures identified in step 1. Use a variety of retrieves, from slow and steady to more erratic, to mimic injured prey.

    Precision and Patience: Practice making precise casts to target pockets, edges of weed beds, or just beyond rocky points. Patience is key; muskies are known as the “fish of ten thousand casts” for a reason.

  5. The Retrieve

    Speed and Action: Vary your retrieve speed and include pauses to make your bucktail more enticing. Muskie can be triggered by changes in speed or direction, simulating vulnerable prey.

    Figure-8 Technique: At the end of each retrieve, perform a “figure-8” motion with your rod tip in the water. This can provoke following muskies to strike, especially in clear water where they might closely inspect the lure before attacking.

  6. Handling and Release

    Safe Handling: If you catch a muskie, handle it with care to ensure its safety and yours. Use a large net, wet your hands before handling, and use proper tools like hook removers and gloves.

    Catch and Release: Practice catch and release to help maintain the muskie population. Hold the muskie horizontally and support its weight evenly. Revive the muskie in the water until it swims away strongly.

  7. Conclusion

    For a new muskie angler, the journey from preparing for your first trip to successfully catching and releasing a muskie can be as rewarding as it is challenging. By understanding muskie behavior, properly setting up your gear, selecting the right bucktails, mastering effective casting and retrieval techniques, and practicing ethical handling and release, you’ll set the stage for a successful muskie fishing adventure. Remember, each outing is a learning experience, bringing you closer to becoming a proficient muskie angler. Now you know how to catch a muskie with a bucktail.