Throw Back Thoughts for Boat Lazy Muskies

Throw Back Thoughts for Boat Lazy Muskies

Jodie Paul July 24, 2023

Now that musky season is in full swing in the Northwoods, finding a fish that hasn’t seen the gamut of presentations might be difficult.  Underneath the surface of every lake, a musky might be lurking on a reef or in the shallows, but they’ve seen so much to entice them and turned up their nose, leaving a lot of anglers empty-handed.  It’s times like these that we can shed some helpful advice to those anglers experiencing a net zero this summer.  It all boils down to your throwback baits.

If you are fishing prime hours, morning through night, and moon phases in between, it’s a good time to point your finger at your tackle box and see what needs fixing.  A lot of heat happens in our Northern waters in the early onset of the musky season, and blades are the king of Kong when push comes to shove.  I would imagine by mid-summer, every musky in the Northwoods of Wisconsin has been buzzed by with some variation of topwater or blades.  So, to put anglers on the fish, it’s time to step outside of the box and focus on some throwback lures that dial up the heat.

First things first, when it comes to throwback lures, we need to focus first on size class.  What size of lure are you throwing for the majority of the day?  If you are throwing a midsized lure, there are 2 ways to go, size up or size down.  If you have been throwing the same-sized lures for a multitude of days…STOP.  Try another approach.  A great upsize and downsize lure that goes shallow and deep is the Medussa.  These lures come in a great size range to increase the displacement of water and get a musky engaged.

Hungry muskies might just be looking for a larger meal, or you might want to irritate one into a strike, so I would recommend an upsize first.  Go big or go home.  Upsize to something that makes more noise, has more moveable parts, and displaces more water.  After a fast-buzzing blade has gone by 400 times, a giant rubber lure with moving parts might get noticed.  Other rubber favorites are Toothy Tuff lures.  They make a smattering of rubber lures in all sizes for upsized and downsized presentations that might just turn some tails.  Beaver Baits can also supply you with an interesting change of pace for an upsized or downsized lure.  They displace a lot of water and provide a lot of options for underwater movement.

If you aren’t seeing any activity after changing the size of your lure, it might be that the speed at which your fishing is the problem.  As the water warms up and muskies retreat toward deeper structure, sometimes they require the finesse of a dialed-in and touchy retrieve.  It’s a good idea to leave straight cranking behind and use a mix of pauses, cranks, taps, and jerks.  This can give a less active musky a more achievable and lifelike target.

Choosing this retrieve can lead you to some deep-water cranks like Livingston Pounders or even down the road using deep-running glide baits.  Any of your favorite gliders such as Phantoms or Hell Hounds can go deeper with the addition of a belly weight or stick-on lead.  Slow-working these gliders and cranks over deeper structures could be the best plan when trying to entice an overstimulated summer musky.

When choosing a deep structure finesse bait, don’t rule out jigging or slow ripped rubber lures.  If you want to create some underwater wake and slow down with pauses, rubber can be the ticket to set you outside the pack.  Posseidons, Bondys, and Lake X Toads are a great way to motivate otherwise persnickety muskies to take a look at what you have to offer.  You can activate their predatory instinct by slowly jigging, pulling, and pausing over deep structures to put a beast in the net.

So, we’ve touched on size and speed, but lastly, it's important to recommend changing up your favorite colors.  Loud colors with flash are usually best left home on clear lakes and bright sunny days.  Too much excess can sometimes have the opposite effect on muskies.  The main colors for all days are black and white.  Natural colors are always great for clear lakes with comparable baitfish and save those hot colors and flashy stickers for stained lakes when you need to be seen on a sunny day.  Even your tried and trusty colors from last year may not work, so have a dark and light variant of each lure on board to offer over the side.  It could just be that what you’re offering is not the hottest meal this season.

Finding the right size, speed, and color for throwing back to testy muskies is typically a game of Russian Roulette.  Once you’ve figured out a pattern, the game gets a lot more interesting and you can tweak each day as you go.  The fish of 10000 casts won’t ever make it easy, but we would be bored with them if they did.