The fabled and ferocious muskie is often stereotyped as an up-north fish. Would you believe that nearly half of the United States has a population, either naturally occurring or stocked? Add in the beast’s Canadian range and muskies are more common than thought.
Summertime is their thing. Muskies are caught year-round, but for your best chance at a hookup, June, July and August are primetime, especially for sheer numbers.
We’ve amassed a shopping list of time-honored, muskie-centric gear to get you going this summer.
Classic styling with premium full-cork handles, top-quality components, outstanding strength and durability, uncompromising performance and exceptional value have made St. Croix’s made-in-the-USA Premier Musky Series a perennial favorite of muskie anglers everywhere. Featuring 15 models ranging from a 6’10” to 9’ in length with medium through extra-heavy powers and fast actions, there’s a handcrafted Premier Musky rod for any muskie presentation or pursuit, backed by a five-year warranty and St. Croix Superstar Service. MSRP $195 to $245
Top St. Croix technologies like IPS, ART and FRS combine with premium-quality components and SCIV carbon to produce extremely light, powerful and sensitive performance in this 17-rod technique-specific musky series. Designed and handcrafted on U.S. soil in Park Falls, Wisconsin, Legend Tournament Musky rods range from 7’6” to 10’ in length with fast and moderate-fast actions in medium-light (Musky Downsizer models) to extra-heavy powers. 15-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. MSRP $370 to $450
Very, very few reels are designed with muskies on the mind. Most are repurposed multispecies models. Others, originally conceived for saltwater use. Opposingly, Daiwa’s Prorex TW was engineered specifically for freshwater sharks. Some of the biggest brains in muskie fishing collaborated with Daiwa’s product development team to produce the category defining reel. Prorex TW is a heavy-duty high-capacity reel with features perfectly suited for the rigors of big baits and big fish. Complete with an aluminum frame and side plate, UTD Drag, adjustable length power handle and a heavy-duty clutch design, the Prorex TW is ready to handle whatever you can throw it’s way. MSPR $319.99
Astute muskie chasers know you can achieve steel-leader strength and durability with premium fluorocarbon line. The benefits being modest stretch, near invisibility in the water, and no kinking problems. Daiwa’s J-Fluoro Leader is manufactured with true 100% fluorocarbon leader material using the finest raw materials available. Made in Japan by the most precise line extruders in the world, the consistency of J- Fluoro leader is impeccable. The clear line is nearly invisible in the water, sensitive, yet abrasion-resistant and tough. Daiwa recommends weights from 60- to 100-lb. From $15.99
The ultimate braid in Daiwa’s J-Braid Family. X8 Grand is strong and resistant to abrasion, yet well-bodied enough to lay smoothly on the spool. J-Braid x8 Grand is spun from high quality 8 carrier braid made of the finest materials from Japan. Spun with Izanas, a state-of-the-art new material utilizing 8 carriers, it’s 4 times as abrasion resistant as a typically tougher 4 carrier. Muskies are no match. Daiwa suggests spooling 50- to 80-lb. strengths. From $19.99
Muskie anglers face every possible wave of weather Mother Nature can whip up… sometimes in a single day. Engineered for the Upper Midwest, the versatile Whitewater Packable Rain Jacket and Pant are staple, technical apparel pieces that provide an optimal balance of 10K water resistance and 10K breathability, so muskie anglers can #bravethewaves, fish longer, make more casts and experience better results. Fully taped seams, waterproof zippers, and adjustable Velcro cuff closures at the wrists and ankles further defy the elements. Each piece stows in its own included stuff bag for easy storage and access anywhere on the boat. MSRP $79.99 and $69.99 per piece
How do you make a muskie larger than life? Boat one at their level out of a kayak. The legendary design that propelled the Outback to fishing supremacy is better than ever. The time-tested hull is an ideal blend of confident stability and smooth maneuverability. Yet quicker and nimbler than ever, thanks to the efficient reversing MirageDrive 180. The deck is freshly redesigned around the Vantage CT seat to maximize stand-up space and storage. Now available in distinctive Camo, the Outback is packed full of fishing features, including the Lowrance Ready System that makes sonar installation a cinch. Pedal into shallow muskie lairs or kayak-troll baits along a weedline for unimaginable battles. MSRP $3,499
Nobody has muskie fishing dialed-in like Northland Fishing Tackle. Although early in the season, now is the time to prepare for when the big boys and girls dip down for the summer. The Rumble Beast is a big, powerful, and deep-running bait engineered to pull them up. It features an extremely durable ABS resin body and super-strong poly-carbonate swimming lip that is uniquely locked into the lures body, making it ideal for bouncing off bottom structure and rocks. Also equipped with heavy-duty hooks and split rings. The designed wobble varies with trolling speed, setting the action for magnum-caliber hits. Available in size #6, 5.25″, 1-1/2oz, 3/0 hook (depth: 15-20ft) and a #8, 8″, 2-1/4oz, 3/0 hook (depth: 20-30ft) and 8 defining patterns. $16.99
The rumbling continues with Northland’s shad/perch-shaped Rumble Monster. Its hand-tuned action elicits magnum strikes. Troll it at varied speeds to achieve a 10- to 20-foot diving range. Run the Rumble Beast at 3- to 4-miles per hour and move parallel along drop-offs, using sonar to stay above hanging fish. For casting, look for weedlines or shorelines with small, timbered bays. Extremely durable ABS resin body and super-strong poly-carbonate swimming lip that is uniquely locked into the lures body and equipped with heavy-duty hooks and split rings. Specs: 5″, 1-1/4oz, 3/0 hook. Goes for $14.99.
Synonymous with muskie madness, oversized spinnerbaits are the easiest offerings to operate. The full-bodied spinnerbait is virtually weedless, and deadly around weeds, reeds, rocks, brush and timber. Features a premium Ultra-Point hook, 2 Limber-Legs® silicone skirts, leader-ready “twist bend”, throbbing “willowleaf” blades and a deadly trailing sting’r hook. Cast or troll over, around and through weeds, reeds, rocks, brush and timber. Vary speed, slow-roll and helicopter down into open pockets in cover. Attach a burly fluorocarbon leader to “twist bend” attachment point. Fish plain or with a soft-plastic trailer. Available in 9 colors. $15.49
Anything cooler than a topwater toilet flush? No. The Walkin’ Raider is a uniquely designed topwater lure with a pronounced zig-zag action commonly referred to as “walkin’ the dog”. When worked properly this lure will zig-zag back and forth at both fast or slow speeds enabling you to trigger fish in a wide range of water temperatures and weather conditions. Point the rod tip low and slightly off to one side while working the Walkin’ Raider with short jerks while simultaneously picking up slack with your retrieve. Speed or slow down your cadence until you find an action the muskies like best on any given day. MSRP $28.99
Muskie fishing without premium pliers is like handling glass without gloves. Daiwa’s CAM Needle Nose Pliers are constructed from an alloy that is 10% harder on the Rockwell C Scale than a traditional carbon steel tool. The 8-inchers utilize a unique cam design that applies 80% more leverage to gripping and cutting power. The grip is improved with a durable semi-soft grip. MSRP $24.99
Designed and crafted to make landing trophy muskies safer for fish and anglers alike, the Frabill 9998 Pro-Tech Musky Cradle features a 16″ x 60″ cradle hoop with special cushion-coated mesh netting. The Musky Cradle has heavy duty tubular aluminum handles with rugged nylon sleeves and also includes a handy built-in ruler that is graded in 1/8″ increments up to 60″. MSRP $139.99
There’s a reason this durable and utilitarian box is a considered a classic among musky anglers. It stores 50 to 100 musky lures vertically in 50 grid compartments and includes two grip panels infused with Zerust®, a proven material that protects your valuable tackle from rust and corrosion. Molded into the Tuff Tainer dividers, the patented polymer emits a harmless vapor, forming a protective layer around metallic surfaces. The Flambeau Maximizer measures a manageable 27.5″ L x 13.75″ W x 14″ D and is the perfect solution for hassle-free long-lasting protection, storage and transport of your valuable muskie arsenal. Proudly made in the USA. MSRP $143.99
Touted as the strongest nets available and designed for the largest, toughest freshwater gamefish in the world, Drifter Predator Series Musky Nets are available in two sizes. The XL model features a true 37″ x 35″ hoop with a 36″ deep coated net bag and is rated to lift up to 60 pounds. The XXL model features a true 44″ x 40″ hoop with a 42″ deep coated net bag and is rated to lift up to 70 pounds. The 48″ handles (available in four custom colors) are reinforced anodized aluminum and feature an exclusive T-Grip design for extra control. Net bags are rubber coated in a specially formulated mixture that assures the softest, most durable net bag you can purchase. MSRP $184.99 to $224.99
Perfect for sight-fishing muskies, the astonishingly affordable Hobie El Matador is underscored by its integrated sliding side shields that provide maximum sun protection while eliminating glare from the sides. Hydro 360° polycarbonate lenses repel water, sweat and sunscreen. All 8 base polycarbonate lens options offer 100% UV A, B, C protection. Frames feature durable integrated hinges and co-molded megol rubber temples prevent slippage. All this for only $99.99