Trolling for Muskellunge
The kind of tackle to use for muskellunge depends on the way you want to fish for them. There are several ways of fishing, such as trolling with both hand line and rod, and casting, with live or artificial bait. Trolling is the method most often used, though there is more sport in bait-casting.
For trolling with a hand line, strong tackle must be employed. A line tested to the pull of forty pounds should be used. An excellent line for this purpose is the No. 21 Cuttyhunk, or No. 24 of the same brand, one hundred or more yards long. It should have a steel wire leader with a swivel or two on the end and a spoon bait of most any kind, large and strong. This is simply trailed behind the boat and when a musky strikes he is simply hauled in by main strength. It is productive of fish all right, but lacking in sport when compared with the use of a rod.
For trolling with a rod, a short heavy bait-casting rod should be used. A steel bait-casting rod with trolling tip to use in place of the ordinary tip is all right, and the Bristol people 'make an excellent muskellunge rod, 6 feet, 6 inches long, weighing thirteen ounces. The latter is preferable if you want to try casting, and it is best if fitted with agate lined first guide and tip. The advantage of a steel rod for trolling is that the continued strain does not warp the tip. A large casting reel, the kind used for surf casting, is best. It should hold several hundred yards of line. It should be fitted with a leather brake or handle drag. The line mentioned above will do for trolling but is no good for casting and if you want to do any of this kind of fishing get a raw braided silk line, tested to a pull of thirty or forty pounds E. J. Martin's Sons make a fine line especially for muskies, tested to stand a strain of forty pounds. The longer your line the better as you can give that much more to the fish if need be and the more nearly full the spool of the reel provided it is not crowded, the better you can reel in a slack line. The same wire swivel and spoon are used as for hand-line fishing.
Trolling should be done over water from eight to twelve feet deep, and you should not go too fast. The rod should not be stuck out over the side of the boat, as the strain is too severe; it should stand straight out behind. You must have a boatman to row and help you land your fish if you want to be sure of him. A good sized sharp gaff hook is a necessity and a revolver or small rifle to shoot the fish before gaffing is a good thing to have.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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