Muskies Dos and Dont's
Tennessee Musky Fishing Guide Steven Paul outlines some Dos and Dont's for The Musky Shop Blog.
When it comes to the dos and don’ts of musky fishing, you might be surprised at the small details that can get you caught in a firestorm. Musky anglers are notoriously easily irritated regarding small mistakes by newcomers or even the newcomers themselves. Many musky enthusiasts like to dole out their contempt online or in fishing forums for the inexperienced novice, so here are a few pitfalls that can help you avoid the mistakes made by those who came before you as you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of the pitchforks.
Don’t ask about eating muskies. We don’t eat them; we preserve them. Musky fishermen are die-hard catch-and-release anglers. These beasts are treasured and deserve to reach their full-size potential to be caught another day. Recommendation: Ask a different question altogether!
Research musky holding techniques. If you manage to catch a musky and photo yourself with this musky, it would be a mistake to be photographed with a lousy hold that might draw friendly fire your way. Take the time to look up a proper musky grip. If you can’t find a forum to explain it, watch a video. An improper hold will get any angler trounced on the web, so get your wits about you before your fishing trip and get a little knowledge under your belt.
Novices should avoid live bait. If you are new to fishing with or rigging suckers, avoid them until you gain experience with some lifetime anglers. Improperly rigged or unmaintained live bait is a surefire way to gut hook a musky. If you don’t fully understand how to manage this type of gear and haphazardly make an attempt, you will end up with a dead musky and far fewer friends. Only use live bait while fishing with skilled musky anglers until you learn the ends and outs.
Do not release a musky without feeling its “kick” energy. If you need to hold a musky a bit longer until it’s ready to swim away, do it. Tossing a musky back or releasing it without allowing it to gain its bearings will lead to catastrophe, maybe even after you’ve driven away. Muskies must acclimate themselves after being above water for even a few seconds. Give them the time they need, and when they are ready, they will kick away.
If you happen to kill a musky, take it with you to your grave. If it was an accident, it doesn’t matter. There will always be questions, regardless of how well you’ve explained yourself. These things happen, and if you follow musky fishing, you may know that you’ll never catch a musky fisherman reminiscing on the times they accidentally fed the crabs. However, they will regale you with their successes, including every picture on their camera roll. Just know that everyone has a loss on their list, but it’s definitely a shame we all bear alone.
Don’t musky fish on an underrated line. This is a no-no for one reason: mortality. I would suggest if you are fishing waters that contain muskies, but you are throwing large bass lures, I would up my line strength to prevent any casualties. Hooking into a musky and allowing them to swim off with your lure is devastating to the fisherman and the fish.
It is best not to reveal the weight or length of a fish, keep this knowledge for yourself. Unless there is drone footage of you with a fish on a scale (which would mean hanging it upright, also a no-no) or of a fully filmed bump, you will never convince anyone but your closest friends. Musky fishing is ultra-competitive. This may sound strange to the multispecies enthusiast or joyful weekender, but odious musky anglers are walking among us with a chip on their shoulders. It’s best to just call it a whopper and enjoy your success alone or with trusted pals.
All jokes aside, skilled musky anglers are usually quite willing and ready to share the knowledge gained over years of fishing for these fantastic fish. It’s understood that people will come and go in the sport and everyone deserves a chance to catch their personal best. Find a group of supportive anglers and pick their brain for knowledge. If can avoid the short list of pitfalls, the rest is easy to learn, despite the fish being difficult to catch.
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