Utilizing dwell bait for muskie (aka sucker fishing) is a fall custom that spans generations of angling. Though methods and tools have developed, one truth stays: muskies eat dwell suckers.

I discovered the best way to fish suckers from good friend and fellow muskie nut on Eagle Lake in northwestern Ontario. Making use of the technique and rigging for my house water of Lac Seul was a straightforward transition.

Solely suckers

The star of the present is the dwell bait itself, the sucker. I’ve by no means seen or heard of anybody utilizing something aside from suckers. Sometimes, the place there’s a muskie fishery, there’s a bait store close by that has suckers within the fall. Not simply any suckers — large ones.

Sport plan

The largest factor is presenting the sucker in a pure approach. That basically meaning swimming freely. If the boat is transferring too quick and dragging the sucker, it’ll by no means get hit. Sucker fishing means slowly and methodically overlaying key spots. Most boat velocity is 0.5 mph. Mainly crawling.

Shifting slowly limits how a lot water you cowl. This truth drives my technique of solely fishing the most effective components of the most effective spots. I’d solely cowl a 50-yard stretch of a reef or neckdown space, however I’ll cowl it slowly and completely. I exploit the trolling motor to pause proper over spot-on-spot positions.

Floats or no floats?

There are two methods to current dwell bait, one is underneath a slip-float and the opposite is ‘free-range’ and not using a float. Free-range suckers may be considerably managed with the quantity of line out, however it may well nonetheless be onerous to maintain monitor of the place they’re precisely.

If two or extra suckers are out, I want utilizing slip floats. The float acts as a strike indicator. It helps you to see the place your suckers are, and it helps you to set bait depth.

Some suckers are swimmers and like to roam round. The float makes it simple to maneuver rods round within the rod holders to keep away from strains getting tangled when a sucker decides to go for a swim. Staggering the quantity of line out on every rod helps forestall tangles, too.

When a float goes down, or a clicker goes off, get on the rod straight away. I fish with the clicker on and the reel on free spool. Have interaction the reel and set the hook when the muskie is swimming or going through away from you. Appearing quick ensures the muskie doesn’t swallow the sucker and the rig. 

I’ve seen ‘powerful’ sucker journeys, too. When muskies usually are not biting and are troublesome to entice with or with out dwell bait. However including sucker fishing to your autumn muskie repertoire is certainly definitely worth the effort.

Forged when you sucker-soak

One multi-angler technique combines dwell bait fishing with casting. The idea is that casting in direction of construction will entice a observe, thereby drawing a muskie to your sucker. Take into accout Ontario’s one line per individual regulation.

Initially revealed within the August 2022 problem of Ontario OUT of DOORS

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