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The Boatless Angler - Chapter 4 - Muskie Fishing From Shore

As any angler would know, muskie are a challenging fish to locate, to hook and to land; to make it even more challenging, try doing it all from shore!

The Boatless angler Part 4: Muskie fishing from Shore

As any angler would know, muskie are a challenging fish to locate, to hook and to land; to make it even more challenging, try doing it all from shore!

Finding those muskie

Here’s my 29lb Muskie,
caught from shore of course!


To locate areas to catch muskie from shore can be rather difficult, but there are a few key features to look for.

An angler’s best bet is to fish in river systems for muskie as they provide weedless deep holes and flowing water that muskie love! Clearer rivers or tea stained rivers are the better water types in which huge Muskies will hold and live.

If the river system you’re fishing in is relatively small and shallow, try to find the deepest holes. Below water falls or the outside of a meander are naturally deeper areas or you can find man made deep holes such as above and below dams, as well as along cement walls.

These are all hot spots for muskie. If your river is large and uniformly deep, try to look for areas that hold baitfish, and if there is plenty of current, fish a spot where the current is lesser than the average flow. The slower moving water will be where these Muskie live.

If your river is extremely wide and you’re thinking that the muskie are too far out to cast to, fish at night as muskie will come closer to shore during the night to feed on near shore baitfish.

Hooking the muskie

Once you’ve located a prime Muskie spot, the question is what do I use for bait? Muskie are not very picky on the type of bait, whether it’s a crankbait, buzz bait or spoon they will hit anything, but the most important thing is how you present these baits. When fishing with these artificial baits be as variable as you possibly can.

I’m not talking variable in the type of bait you use, but the variability in speed, direction and depth of your bait in every cast. This variability is applied to your retrieve, so when you cast your lure out, reel in fast and slow to change speeds and depth and point your rod left and right to change the direction of your traveling lure. The more variable you are the more likely to get a strike.

Don’t be afraid to really whip your rod around, and don’t be afraid to crank in very fast, these variability’s will change a follow into a strike!

The most common place to get a strike is extremely close to shore. Muskie tend to follow lures to shore before striking, the most common mistake an angler makes is the fact that they don’t assume a fish is following.

Always assume you have a muskie following your bait, and before lifting you lure out of the water when you’re close to shore, try and do the figure 8 motion with your rod, keeping your lure moving right next to the shore. This may be difficult to do if you don’t have the correct depth, so instead of the figure 8 you can slow your retrieve down and keep your rod tip up when you’re close to shore, this will give your lure more time in the water near shore and will trigger a strike.

Landing your catch

Once you’ve battled your fish and it’s ready to come in, make sure you have a net! If you try and land your fish by hand you’re in for a treat. Muskie will make short work of your hands so make sure you have yourself a net. You’re going to need a large enough net for the whole fish to fit in.

If your net is too small and doesn’t fit the whole muskie you will most often lose your fish as well as harming the fish preventing a successful release. A large net will guarantee a smooth landing for both you and the fish.

So get out there and get yourself a monster muskie from shore, I did!


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