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  • Writer's pictureSteven Paul

Top Tennessee Musky Lures for Beginners

Top 10 Musky Lures for Beginners


As a musky guide I spend my days on the water fishing with clients of various skill levels. While some guests might have years of musky fishing experience, for others this is their first time on a musky boat. With client’s skill level varying so greatly at times I have to solely rely on lures that catch muskies using the simplest retrieval methods.  It should be noted that muskies don’t require a resume, so you don’t have to be an expert angler to catch one. However, an undeniable prerequisite of catching a muskie is having the right lure, with the proper action. With so many musky lure options this alone can be a daunting task for expert anglers much less someone just getting into the sport of musky fishing. With this in mind let’s look at the top ten musky lures for beginners. These lures require simple retrieves of simply turning the handle on your musky reel to get a great action and if all goes to plan will result in a musky in your net.


1.       Steve’s Meat Grinder

Made by Figure 8 Lure Company

Steve's Meat Grinder Figure 8 Lure Company


Steve’s Meat Grinder is a handmade spinner bait from the Figure 8 Lure company that is a top choice for serious musky anglers but was designed with beginners in mind. Steve’s Meat Grinder features a single extra-large willow leaf blade and assembled to be the least weed fouling musky spinner bait. Steve’s Meat Grinder can be thrown into the thickest weed beds and come out clean which is important when the goal is getting a musky to strike. As per action Steve’s Meat Grinder is a simple as it gets. Throw it out, turn the handle.  While musky baits like buck tails require a small bit of skill to get the blades started and keep them turning, Steve’s Meat Grinder blade will be doing its job as long as it’s in the water. This spinner bait excels at both low and high-speed retrieves and will get hungry muskies to eat year-round.




2.       The Titan

Made by Livingston Lures


Livingston Lures Titan

Jerk-baits are an essential part of musky fishing, with their dive and rise action and erratic float ups it’s no surprise that serious musky anglers turn to them all season long. However properly working jerk baits has until recently have been problematic for even the most experienced musky anglers. Some dive and rise lures require constant tuning while others require precision retrieves to even get them going, needles to say this can be a source of frustration for beginner musky anglers.


Fortunately, the Titan from Livingston Lures solved all of the above-mentioned issues making jerk bait fishing accessible to musky anglers of all skill levels. The Titan can be work in a highly effective manner with a simple reel and stop method. While you are reeling the lure dives down and when you stop the lure floats up, the trick with the Titian is its unique design makes this lure act in an erratic manner which is enticing to hungry muskies even with this simple retrieve. While the Titan can be retrieved like a tradition jerk bait its ability to work just as well in a reel-stop-method makes it the most accessible dive and rise jerk bait for beginner musky anglers.



3.       Top Raider

Made by Joe Bucher Outdoors

Joe Bucher Top Raider


If the thought of catching a musky on top-water lure doesn’t get your heart racing and your hands shaking then this is not the sport for you. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a muskie pushing a wall of water behind your lure before crushing it in dramatic fashion.  While some musky top water lures require a smidge of finesse the Top Raider is as easy as it gets. A simple straight retrieve which requires just turning the handle will have you fishing top water muskies like a pro with the Joe Bucher Top Raider.   The Top Raider is hands down the most popular musky top water lure of all times in part to the fact that anyone can use it effectively.


4.       Giant Killer

Made by Mepps

Mepps Giant Killer


The Mepps Giant Kill has been around before the dawn of time, muskies had not even formed from the primordial soup and cavemen where already geared up with Giant Killers. All joking aside this lure has been mainstay in musky fishing for a very, very long time largely due to its effectiveness at catching muskies both large and small but also due to its ease of use.  Throw out a Mepps Giant Killer turn the handle and it will do its job. The Giant Killer is effective at both low and high speeds and requires only a straight retrieve.  Owning a Mepps Giant Killer is a prerequisite of calling yourself a musky angler, they are simple to use, inexpensive and that catch anything that swims.


5.       Bondy Bait

Made by Bondy Bait Co.

Bondy Bait


The Bondy Bait from the Bondy Bait Co. is the most popular musky vertical jig. While a beginner muskie angler will need learn the places and times that these lures are most effective using them couldn’t be any simpler. Drop them to the bottom of your lake or river and jig them off the bottom. If you are a new musky convert from walleye fishing jigging is nothing new to you and the Bondy bait just enlarges and amplifies some of the same concepts. Drop your Bondy Bait to the bottom then lift it slightly off the bottom followed by lowering it back down. This technique is incredibly simple and catches muskies all year long.


6.       Slammer Fatty

Made by Slammer Lure Company

Slammer Fatty Minnow


There are so many musky crank baits available that even the most experienced musky anglers feel overwhelmed at times. The huge array is due in part to so many variations such as shallow, mid and depth crank-baits as well as trolling specific musky lures. Obviously, this can be a bit too much to maul over for a beginner musky angler. But fear not Slammer Tackle has you covered with an easy-to-use musky catching crank bait the Fatty Minnow. The Fatty minnow runs roughly between two to four feet under the waters surface and has a ton of vibration. This lure requires yet again simply turning the handle to get hungry muskies interested. While you can effectively twitch, rip and pull off more advanced tactics with the Fatty Minnow it shines with just a simple straight retrieve.


7.       Kraken

Made by Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures Kraken


The Kraken is the largest lure on this list coming in at ten inches in total, but you probably know the old saying, big baits equal big fish. The Kraken is a hybrid pull pause jerk bait featuring a heard front half and a soft plastic replaceable rear section. Working the Kraken effectively can be done in a simple reel and stop method. This is best done with quick burst of turning the handle quickly three to four times followed by a two second pause. Using this retrieve methodology the Kraken will surge up when reeling and fall erratically when you pause which is often the key to triggering musky strikes. While absolute beginner musky anglers might feel odd throwing a ten-inch lure all doubts are gone after the first bone jarring strike.


8.       Shallow Invader

Made by Musky Innovation

Shallow Invader


The Shallow Invader is a staple in the majority of musky guides arsenals. This eight inch hybrid crank bait looks hyper realistic in the water and is another great lure choice for beginner musky anglers. The Shallow Invader falls in some where slight in the middle of crank-baits regarding size making it highly effective all season long. This lure checks the box for great musky triggering action while using only a straight retrieve utilizing simply turning your reels handle.



9.       Bio-Shad

Made by Fish Lab



The Fish Lab Bio-Shad is a six-inch swim bait that is best used with a straight forward retrieve. This lure has a wavy swimming look in the water that can coax muskies into action.  This musky swim bait is best used in a reel stop manner with very short pauses in your straight retrieve giving this lure an even more injured and struggling look. The Bio-Shad is a top pick for beginners as it works flawlessly at both high and low speeds.



10.   Hell Puppy

Made by Drifter Tackle

Hell Puppy Musky Lure


While the other nine entries on this best lures for beginners list all can be worked with a straight retrieve the Hell Puppy from Drifter tackle requires a different approach. To get a good side to side action out of the Hell Puppy requires anglers to tap their rods in a downward motion under a semi-tight line to get this lure to dart to the left and right. While this is slightly elevated from straight retrieving it only takes a few minutes of practice with a Hell Puppy to achieve a retrieve that a musky would lock in on.  The Hell Puppy was assuredly designed with ease of use in mind and is simply the easiest side to side jerk bait to get you going in the right direction. A key to triggers strikes from muskies with glide baits is to allow for some pauses in your retrieve, so once you get this lure waling side to side be sure to pause and hold on tight.


Steven Paul


Tennessee Musky Fishing, Tennessee Musky, Tennessee Musky Charter, Tennessee Musky Lakes, Tennessee Musky Rivers, Tennessee Musky Record. Tennessee Musky Guide, Tennessee Muskie, Melton Hill Musky, Melton Hill Musky Guide.





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