Someone once said “preparation is key” and the same advice rings true for the sport of fishing. Experienced anglers would agree that an organized fishing tackle box setup can make for a more productive and enjoyable day on the water. To illustrate, imagine that you’ve […]
Month: August 2019
While many folks frequent Austin, Texas, for the music, food, and entertainment scene, there’s also fantastic fishing opportunities in the area. The state’s capital is 274 square miles in area, making it the 11th largest city in the U.S., and has over 7 square miles […]
Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake made quite the splash this spring (2019) when biologists for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe found a potential world-record muskie during a fish survey.
Fisheries crews were doing a routine walleye assessment when a 61 ½-inch muskie was struck by electrofishing shockwaves and rose to the surface. The fish was immediately netted, measured, photographed and successfully released. It was not weighed because biologists didn’t have a scale large enough to weigh it.
The world record for a hooked muskie is 60-1/4 inches caught near Hayward, Wis., in 1949.
Minnesota is well known as one of the nation’s top muskie fishing destinations. Those who would like to try to catch that potential world record fish or others in the state’s many muskie lakes should know:
- Minnesota’s statewide muskellunge season opens in early June and closes in early December. Season dates vary on waters bordering other states so check the fishing regulations based on where you want to fish.
- Typically, muskellunge fishing doesn’t “heat up” until middle or late summer, which is when water temperatures are warmer and this species is more active. Autumn is also prime fishing time. That’s when muskellunge tend to feed on larger prey in advance of the long winter and next spring’s spawning season. Many of the largest muskellunge are caught in October and November.
- The most popular technique for catching muskellunge is casting large artificial lures that are typically five to 10 inches long, or longer. This is typically done while standing in a boat that is motoring slowly or drifting along preferred habitat. This technique allows anglers to cover a lot of water in short time. It is best to stay back from prime muskellunge holding areas when fishing shallow water. Instead, make long casts into these areas because that is less likely to spook the fish.
- Trolling is another popular way to fish for muskellunge. Typically, this is done with large diving crankbaits that have a lot of wobble to them. They are trolled along weed lines, rocky points, underwater reefs and other preferred habitat.
- Common gear includes a stout rod with a bait-casting reel and heavy braided line of 50-pound test or more. Many muskellunge anglers prefer reels that have a fast gear ratio so their lure can be retrieved rapidly. You will also want a foot-long steel or fluorocarbon leader between your line and your lure as muskellunge have razor sharp teeth that can easily slice through your line.
- Other things you’ll want while muskellunge fish include a large net, needle-nose pliers for removing hooks and even a small bolt cutter to break-off a stubborn hook. Polarized sunglasses will help you see fish beneath the surface.
- Muskellunge and northern pike look similar. A reliable method to tell the two apart is to count the number of sensory pores on the underside of the jaw. A muskellunge will have six or more per side. The northern pike will have five or fewer per side.
Do you want to start fishing for muskellunge? Get your fishing license in Minnesota today!
If you’ve been studying up on knots to use when fly fishing, you may have heard about the Turle knot and the double Turle knot. The Turle knot and double Turle knot are fly fishing knots that are used to attach flies to tippet. According […]
When driving, you have to follow the rules of the road. But what if there is no road and it looks like you can go anywhere? If there are any signs and you are driving any means of transportations such as a boat, pay attention to the information they provide.
Signs on the water are in the form of navigation buoys and markers. Before hitting the water, learn the answer to “what color are safe water markers,” to keep you and others from well, hitting the water in an unexpected manner. For information about buoys not covered here, study the United States Coast Guard’s publication of official navigation rules.
Safety should always remain a priority for you, your passengers, and other boaters. So, when you see a buoy, any buoy, pay close attention to what it means because there is information there that can affect everyone’s safety. In particular, diamond-shaped navigation buoys and markers are signaling dangerous conditions. This could be due to dams, rapids, rocks, or even to warn of swimming areas.
When answering “what color are safe water markers” boaters also must follow information provided by channel markers. According to my Pennsylvania boating handbook, for green channel markers, put the buoy on port side when facing upstream. For red channel markers, keeps the buoy on starboard side facing upstream. So, which is port again? Left. That means starboard is right. The handbook shared the handy phrase of “Red, right, return” to help keep it straight.
Even the white buoy with blue band, which is the mooring buoy, says “watch out” for a vessel anchoring chain nearby. A no wake buoy or even fishing habitat structure buoys can affect other boat movements and traffic patterns.
Pay attention to all of the signs floating on the water. Someone has been there before you and discovered, perhaps the hard way, that it was important to warn about this water area or condition. Pay attention to every buoy to avoid an accident and saying “phooey.” Or worse!
In addition to learning about navigation buoys and markers, make sure that you have valid boat registration paperwork aboard before you head off.
Fishing without a license in New Jersey is as big a law enforcement issue here as it is elsewhere. In other words, fishing without a license is the number one freshwater fishing law violation. The story is a little different in saltwater, however, so let’s […]
Have you been trying to figure out where to fish without a boat, but aren’t sure how to find the best spots? If this is the case, you should know that there are helpful tips you can use when you’re looking for “fishing spots near […]
Surf fishing is a time-honored method of fishing that’s been enjoyed by landlubbers for decades. While gear and tackle have seen significant advancements since the days of the cane pole, much of the technique and strategy remain the same. This post will cover surf casting basics for beginners who are ready to hit the suds.
First, let’s make sure you’re properly geared up before we dive into surf casting techniques. You’ll need a 10 to 12-foot surf casting rod with a medium-fast action, designed to throw heavy plugs and jigs long distances. It’s outfitted with a high-capacity reel with a smooth drag and 40-pound braided line or 20-pound monofilament, of course, laddered with a substantial monofilament or fluorocarbon line.
Surf Casting Basics
Surf casting is similar to your standard casting style, but with an emphasis on distance. Some anglers wade into the water to reduce their casting distance, but this isn’t completely necessary when it comes to surf casting techniques. The goal is to land your bait in, or past, the surf where the waves break.
The best method to achieve distance is a general overhead cast. Open your bail and place your finger on the line against the rod. Hold the rod in both hands, with your dominant hand supporting most weight and your secondary hand for support. Bend your arms to bring the rod tip slightly over your shoulder and behind you. Flick the pole forward quickly, releasing your finger off the line and launching the bait or jig forward.
Throw a few test casts to evaluate your distance. Adjust the speed and power of your cast to increase or decrease distance as needed. Your bait or tackle will add weight to the end of your line, assisting in achieving far distances. Let the rod and reel do the work. If you have a quality setup designed specifically for surf fishing, the casting will come easier.
Landing your bait in the surf where the fish await requires an accurate cast. This generally develops with time and experience. Keep your eyes on the spot where you want your bait to land and launch your cast.
For more surf casting tips, check out this complete guide to surf fishing basics that includes tackle and where to find fish. Happy casting!
If you’re new to boating, you might be wondering where is it legal to tie up your boat when it’s not at the dock? The answer to this question is a mooring buoy. Mooring buoys float on the water and are attached to the bottom […]