Opening day is getting closer and musky fanatics are drooling at the thoughts of big, feisty fish, bent rods and starring in new “hero” pictures. Of course you’re ready?
But are you sure? Take a read of the following to double check.
1. Your Water Ride
If you haven’t had your boat serviced and prepped for the opener, get cracking. Marinas tend to be busy at this time of year. If you need a new motor or boat part, attend to that immediately or you may be in dry dock when the rest of us are chasing muskies. Don’t neglect to have your trailer serviced. Forgetting to get new bearing buddies or to replace a ratty, worn winch rope may find you on the side of the road or hand wrestling your boat onto the trailer at the launch. Neither is a whole lotta fun. Oh yeah, water test your rig before the opener. If your bilge doesn’t work or your motor’s running rough, it’s way less aggravating to find out before the game starts than after the kick-off of the season.
2. Lure Launching Technology
This is nothing more than snazzy lingo for rods and reels. Now, no one could be stupid enough to wait until the last minute to have reels serviced, right? Uh, wrong. Friends of mine who own tackle stores have countless stories about guys (never gals – face it….women are smarter than us at a lot of things) who show up two days before the opener with wonky reels that need repairs. And these bozos are the ones who go ballistic when told that parts are back ordered or that it will take two weeks to repair a reel. Duh….
3. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Most musky anglers I know use braid 90 percent of the time. There are places where fluoro or even mono, is a better bet but that’s for another post. The real smart musky anglers chose Power Pro, simply the best braided line on the market. And, if you haven’t tried Power Pro’s new MaxCuatro, treat yourself. MaxCuarto is the new frontier in thinner, more castable, stronger braid.
Braid is expensive, especially if you use 5 or 6 rods. To save money and to guarantee that your line is up to the job of hurling big baits and fighting big fish, simply reverse your braid every two years. All you need is a tree or a telephone pole and enough room to back away from where your line is tied to it until you reach the backing. Here’s a hint, learned the hard way from personal experience I might add. Pick a non-windy day to reverse your braid. Unless of course, you are w-a-y more skilled than I am at tieing uni-to-uni knots in a gale. People who saw me trying to do this on the soccer field across from my house on a breezy day are likely still laughing.
4. Sharpen Up
Every outdoor writer that pens musky material has said this a hundred times. Keep your hooks sharp enough to perform open heart surgery. No lecture, no rationale as to why this is important. And with apologies to Nike, just do it.
5. Shape Up
Musky fishing is hard work, especially if you’re a caster. You don’t have to be in the physical condition of an Olympic athlete but you do need to tune up your body. You will tire less quickly and you’ll avoid tweaking your back or shoulder, common injuries for the musky addicted angler. This is even more important for the older angler. Like me. And undoubtedly some of you.
If you don’t already work out, start. No need to buy colourful gym togs or be able to bench press 300 pounds but work your legs, back and upper body, especially your shoulders. Don’t overlook your core. Bouncing around in rough water while casting takes its toll and is a common cause of back issues. Same with standing on one foot all day as you cast and use your trolling motor. A half hour a day of select exercises will get you in musky shape quickly. It’s also wise to learn from athletes and develop a pre-game stretching ritual before spending 8 or 9 hours chucking BullDawgs. You’ll feel better and save money on Advil.
Now, as for you trollers, I guess you could work on, well, sitting……
6. Coke Up
No, No, NO!!! I am not referring to the that coke. Keep a couple of bottles of Coca Cola on board. They’re not for you or your partner. They’re for badly hooked fish. Fish, even jumbo muskies, don’t have a lot of blood and can bleed out quickly. If a fish is bleeding, simply pour Coke on the wound. It will cauterize it immediately and a musky will be saved. On the downside, although it hasn’t been scientifically proven, it’s possible that Coke use will lead to obesity in muskies. But, there is not one single person reading this who doesn’t want fatter, heavier muskies.
7. Represent Well
Our water resources and everything that lives in them, (even pike), are precious. Don’t take them for granted. Be a good steward when on the water and handle every fish with care. Also keep in mind that an anti-fishing lobby exists and while not as strong (yet) as the anti-hunting crowd, there are people who don’t like angling or anglers. Please don’t give these crazies more ammunition. Be respectful of other boaters. Leave the launch site in as good or better condition that when you showed up. Keep a trash bag in your vehicle and pick up litter that others have discarded. And remember, voices carry a long way over water. It’s maddening to lose a 50 inch fish at boat side but unless you’re in the middle of LOTW, miles from the closest set of ears, don’t describe the fish as “a %*%# giant!”!
Have a fantastic season and catch a beast – see you on the water.
John M. Anderson
We produce BIG fish!!
be good, do good, live well
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