Giant Muskie Lures
By: Cory Schmidt
A generations-old secret has helped anglers catch large muskie with big lures
Within the cult of talented muskie trollers – veteran guides working Lake St. Clair, Green Bay, the St. Lawrence River, Lake of the Woods and beyond – a generations-old secret has recently played a prominent role in lure design. The results have been nothing short of record-breaking.
The infamous Len Hartman figured it out back in the late 1950s. The magic of Hartman’s Musky Bug – a deep-diving, metal-lipped plug noted for its legendary catches on the St. Lawrence – had a tendency to randomly roll out or “hunt” from side-to-side when trolled at certain speeds. Perhaps inadvertently, Hartman discovered that this shift in direction often proved the key to triggering following muskies, during the era when anglers tended to discard lures they couldn’t tune.
Among anglers pulling plugs across rocks and boulders, the concept isn’t a secret. When a diving bait collides with a solid object, it stops momentarily, backs up, and deflects dramatically to one side or the other before a tight line once again propels it forward. This change in speed and direction has triggered exponentially more muskie strikes than a straight swim. Everyone knows that – it’s why veteran trollers like to live dangerously; to get in tight to shallow rocks, plowing lures across treacherous points and granite ridges. Scary things happen when you risk losing your favorite lure.
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