Check out a new episode of the Back Lash Podcast by clicking --> HERE. This week we talk to veteran and musky angler Chris Piha. Chris is also part owner of Llungen Lures. We dive into a variety of topics including the homework Chris is doing to find new musky water when he makes a move in early 2021.
This week we talk with Jason Hamernick who guides in Minnesota. The conversation is mostly about fall fishing and chasing the biggest fish in the system. We put out new musky related episodes every Wednesday free of charge on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Pod Bean, Tune In Radio, and iHeart Radio. Check out this episode HERE
We are always trying to expand our lineup and give musky anglers what they need and want to help put more and bigger fish in the net. We recently add a few new products and colors from Drifter Tackle to the website. Now available in exclusive Team Rhino Outdoors custom colors are the 10" Straight Believers, 10" Hell Hounds, 12" Super Believers, and 9" Super Believers. We also added new colors in the 20" Squirrely Jake and 12" Super Stalker. Those are all great products to help you have more success musky fishing this fall. Good Luck on the water.
We asked Kevin Pischke with Lay in a Line Guide Service (1) What is something you do off the water to help catch more fish? and (2) When your on the water and not contacting muskies what is 1 change you'll make. Below you'll the answers to these questions.
If you’re not contacting fish on the water what’s the one adjustment you make?
Where are the fish in relationship to the area / structure you are fishing? If it’s a spot that regularly holds and produces fish I’ll change my boat position before I do anything else. Has something like wind, current, sun, clouds, bait location or boat traffic caused them to change their position? Do I need to work the deepest edge off of a weed bed because high blue skis have pushed them deep? Do I need to cast parallel to a weed edge or rock bar because a wind driven current has them positioned in a different direction nosed into the current? Do I need to get up tight in the weeds or on a bar because heavy boat pressure has pushed fish into the areas? Maybe it’s as simple as the fish have seen baits being retrieved in the same manner all day and by working it deep to shallow versus shallow to deep is the simple change that will initiate a strike.
What is something you do off the water to help you succeed
Maintain and organize fishing records.
I keep detailed records of my fishing and on my off time I will compile that data to track day to day fishing and also trends and results drawn out over a season. This can also be taken a step further to compare trends over several seasons. This helps you fine tune your fishing efforts to specific weather, season, and regional patterns. A good example would be tracking a change in fish behavior for a season with slow warming water temperatures that inhibited weed growth on a body of water that fish are heavily weed related because of a lack of other types of structure. A simpler day to day example of records would be how a certain direction wind affects the fish on a specific body of water.
We asked Gregg Thomas with Battle The Beast Guide Service (1) What is something you do off the water to help catch more fish? and (2) When your on the water and not contacting muskies what is 1 change you'll make. Below you'll the answers to these questions.
(1) Off the water preparation can be very important. Making lure alterations can be key to putting more fish in the boat. Adding weight, taking weight out, reshafting spinners or even repairing broken lips all needs to completed off the water. I mess with my baits a lot and after hours is the time for me to do that. One thing that I do is add insert weights to my crankbaits and jerkbaits. By adding weights to lures it is a way to get a certain action deeper where the fish haven’t seen it before. An example would be adding weights to twitch baits. Normally these lures only go down 2 to 4 feet by adding weight you can get these lures to depths in areas where this type of action my not have been seen before.
(2) If I am not contacting fish there are number of things to try. The one go to for me is changing depths. With the electrics that are available now fishing deeper and shallower water is even easier. Depending on conditions making depth adjustments can be the key to boating more fish. If you are experiencing a heat wave or long periods of high pressure moving the boat out and fishing a cast length off the structure may pay off. If the area that you are fishing is a known “Good Area” and no fish are moving then moving off can be key. If it is a strong cold front or low light situation. Going shallower can be good. A sudden drop in water temperature either from a cold front or shade created by sun angle will trigger shallow water migrations. Both of these migrations are something to consider when on the water.
We asked Northern Wisconsin Guide Jeff Van Remortel with WDH Guide Service (1) What is something you do off the water to help catch more fish? and (2) When your on the water and not contacting muskies what is 1 change you'll make. You'll answers to these questions below.
1) With the exception of time spent with family/friends, it is rare for me to be off the water for any significant amount of time during the season. When I do find myself with an afternoon or day off the water, I may spend time on gear or boat/trailer maintaince. Keeping reels spooled and leaders and split rings fresh is something I try to as the issues arise, but from time to time, I do accumulate a "to-do" list.
2) When I am on the water, it is rare that I do not have a good understanding of the structure I am fishing or other key pieces of structure available in the system. That is part of the home work that should be done ahead of time before attempting to catch fish. Having this information at your disposal allows for a fluid change from one type of structure to another as conditions change on the water. The hardest decisions come when you are fishing in good or above average conditions and you have confidence in you bait and spot selection but are failing to produce results. When I know I am presenting to fish and switching baits or techniques does not produce action, I will often switch lakes. A seasoned angler will have that "gut feeling" conditions are good to get bit, but in some cases those good conditions may not be good for the type of water you are on. The reason for this are numerous and there is often no one root cause. The easy solution is to cut your losses and change water/lake type before the next feeding window opens.
Musky season is in full swing and hopefully you’ve been having a successful year. When we put out a newsletter we try to give you something to help you become a better musky angler. In this issue we asked six musky guides 2 questions.
- What is something you do off the water to have success on the water?
- If your not contacting fish what is one adjustment you make?
With six guides you can bet we got a few different answers. If you visit the blog section of our website we will put the whole response from some of the guides we talked with. The six guides were Steve Genson with Genson’s Fish Hunts, Phil Schweik with Hooksetters Guide Service, Kevin Pischke with Lay in a Line Service, Gregg Thomas with Battle The Beast Guide Service, Jeff Van Remortel with WDH Guide Service, and Pete Rich with Pete Rich Guide Service.
When asked “What is something you do off the water to have success on the water” many of them agreed that making sure your tackle is organized, including keeping hooks sharp was a top priority. Gregg Thomas said that he spends lots of time playing with weighting of baits when he’s not in the boat. Adding weight to crankbaits and jerkbaits can help get baits deeper to fish that haven’t seen them before. Captain Kevin Pischke likes to keep detailed catch logs and use them to help develop patterns over the course of the season. Kevin said if you keep good records you can go one step further and compare fish location based on seasons where you’ve seen similar weather develop. Phil Schweik spends a good amount of time reading in addition to talking with a network of guys about water temperature, current flow, and water level so when he hits the water he has a well thought out plan. Based on the information we gathered from these guys they all made it seem that time spent preparing for a musky hunt off the water can definitely influence their success.
So now the question that most people want to know, “When your not contacting fish what is one adjustment you make”? Pete Rich said that if he’s on a good bite that suddenly isn’t producing he will make a move in if he had been fishing open water and will make some trolling passes closer to open water if he’d been casting shoreline structure. His thought is that the muskies won’t abandon the area they’ve been in overnight. Those fish will just slide in or out based on conditions. Steve Genson will take a 2-fold approach. His first change is lure style. If he’s been throwing blades and not seeing fish, he would then make a change to a top water bait or glide bait. Once he contacts a fish it’s now a matter of what TRO custom color will trigger those fish. Gregg Thomas has a similar approach to Pete when working a “Good Area”. Making a depth change is his first move. If Gregg runs into a heat wave or prolonged periods of high pressure he will move a cast length off structure. If a cold front blows in or shade is created by the sun, Gregg will move shallower to take advantage of the drop in water temperature. Guide Jeff Van Remortel will take change to a whole new level. Jeff runs his guide business in Northern WI and moving to different water or lake type that might be “on” is well within reason. When Phil Schweik is on the water he knows the fish are biting somewhere, so his first move is to change locations and “run and gun” until he finds active fish. His second move is to change up presentation type and either slow down or speed up depending on what he had been previously doing. Kevin Pischke makes a similar change to Gregg and Pete and usually analyzes boat position. If he’s working a spot he knows has produced he will slide in or out first. Sometimes he will also flip and throw shallow to deep to retrieve baits in a manner they haven’t seen recently.
Clearly we’ve seen some similarities and differences among the 6 guides. Hopefully you’ve read something you can do when you’re on and off the water to help put more muskies in the net this late summer/fall period. Good Luck with the chase.
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We'll we've made it to the end of July and hopefully you've been able to put a few muskies in the net. Along with the success there is usually some failure in musky fishing. For us in the Northern range for muskies we are close to the mid point of our season. Water temps are just about ticking that 80 degree mark which means it's time to think about putting the musky rods down for a few weeks and take stock of what lies ahead these next few months and wait for the next cold front. As the page turns to August and September there is usually a movement of muskies back up to the shallows and these fish are susceptible to a burned bucktail or topwater. Our selection of both products has never been better. A Genson Series Showgirl or Jack Rabbit can certainly fill this niche. While a #8 Toothy Saber can also show the muskies something they don't always see. Sometimes adding a small grub tail can be enough to trigger a stubborn musky. As for topwater The Weagle from Suick Lures has certainly been overlooked because of the popularity of the tail rotating topwater. The Weagle was and is known as a big fish magnet and musky anglers will sometimes get caught up in chasing what's hot and new and forget about baits that are battle tested.
So as we push forward to Fall and what many musky anglers dream about think about your season thus far and if it's not what you'd like it be ask yourself if you need to make a change. Maybe you've spent too much time searching shallow when the muskies have pushed out a little deeper. It's possible you've spent too much time relying on things that have worked in the past and now it's time to examine a new weed bed or find a different spot that bait fish have congregated. One thing is certain in musky fishing, nothing stays the same. Most of all Enjoy the Chase.