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  • Steven Paul

Deep Water Musky Tactics

Tennessee musky anglers generally focus their efforts on areas that are classic musky holding locations of 15 feet or less. It is undeniable that these shallow water zones are highly productive but when conditions are less that optimal for targeting Tennessee muskies its important to have a deep water game plan in place. Below are a few concepts to help you start dialing in on muskies holding deeper water.




1. Deep equals Slow

As we delve deeper in the water column temperatures plummet as we approach the bottom of a typical Tennessee Musky lake. While the surface temperatures may be in the 70's the bottom of these waterways is generally in the 40's. With this in mind it is imperative to slow down deep presentations. These colder subsurface temps can slow musky metabolism leaving them less likely to chase high speed presentations.


2. Deep is Relative

When muskies seek deep water refuge during sub prime conditions they do not travel far.

Unless conditions are catastrophic they simply seek out the deep water that is adjacent to their current holding location. For example is if Tennessee musky have been feeding in 4-8 feet of water over timber and weeds and a severe cold front moves in the most likely movement will be to the closest area of 12-20 feet of water available to them.


3. Cast Deep to Shallow

When targeting Tennessee musky that are using deep water holding areas it is imperative to position your boat allowing casts to be worked deep to shallow. This concept allows your presentations to gain depth and contact structure during later stages of your retrieve.


4. Contact

Regardless of lure style making contact with cover and structure is important when targeting Tennessee musky that have neutral or negative activity levels. Bull Dawgs and other bog rubber presentations should be counted down to achieve maximum depth and then bounced off the bottom to trigger deeper holding muskies. Crank baits should make regular contact with bottom and cover.


5. Suspension

Lures like the Livingston Lures Titan and Pounder can be tweaked to have extremely slow rise times or even suspended. Making contact with deep lake bottom and then allowing extended hang time can trigger strikes on even the toughest days of Tennessee Musky Fishing.


6. Deep 8's

Tennessee musky that are holding in deep water can be hard to coax to the surface even if they are interested in your presentation. Muskies that are "hot" might follow your lure just a few feet subsurface the majority of these fish will follow low and slow behind your lures.

Every figure eight should be started and kept deep for at least one complete revolution.

While this can become tedious during an all day trip its effectiveness is worth the effort.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to see that majority of these deep water muskies.


7. Set the Hook on Every thing

Deep water strikes can be bone jarring but in my experience the majority of the strikes are simply slack line or a tick. It seems that these deep water Tennessee muskies will lightly pick the bait up and stop. With this in mind anything that feels out of place should be treated as a strike. Small ticks, bumps as well as unexpected slack line should be met with a powerful hook set.


8 . Vertical Fight

Once you have hooked a deep water fish they will generally bull dog towards bottom making the fight a much more vertical affair. Attention should be paid to how mush pressure you apply on your leads, knots and rod while the muskie is deep. Take your time and work the fish up slowly until it is higher in the water putting the fight back on familiar territory.


Tennessee musky fishing for deep water muskies is a great solution for tough days and cold conditions. While the methodology might differ the results are the same, trophy Tennessee muskies. When conditions are at there worst deep water fishing is at it's best.


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