by Duane Landmeier
Here is one technique that may help you catch more muskies in the fall.
Pick a lake, Lake of the Woods, Rowan, Nipissing, Dryberry, Rainy or any other with islands and points and go to work,
These are just a few of the storied lakes of musky fishing that I have named where you can use Jake and Believer crank baits effectively in the fall.
Everyone attacks their favorite quarry a different way. This is by no means a new tactic but just a reminder of a method that works.
In Canada you are allowed one rod per person to troll with. Your partner and yourself need to work together to pattern the fish. One of the anglers needs to try a 10 inch believer to cover the deep water and the other person needs to cover the fish that are higher in the water column with a 10 inch Jake. While fishing Canada with this method the water is below 55 degrees. A lot of the time spent is near island structures and rock walls. Sometimes your rod is within 4 feet of the shore or rock walls. There occasionally are humps and rock piles and snags that make it very essential to have buoyant lures that do not snag easily. The believer in my mind is the best bait to troll in situations where snags are present. The bait will bounce off structure most of the time to make fish react and bite. The Jake comes in a close second for bouncing off rocks. Both of these baits are very good at hooking fish and keeping them on all the way to the net.
While fishing I would first have the person closest to the island or rock structure to try putting out 50-70 feet of line with a 10 inch Jake. The amount of line depends on how much that you would like your lure to bump bottom. In my trials I like to have my bait occasionally touch bottom. You have to let the fish tell you after you have some success. Sometimes the muskies are suspended and don’t want the lure bumping bottom. The angler on the outside rod working deeper water can try a 10 inch believer with the leader attached to the deep setting eyelet. The angler can try bumping bottom a lot if that does not work reel in some line and just have lure tick bottom occasionally. If that does not work bring in the line a bit more so that the lure does not hit bottom except when you reach the end of an island and the lure bounces then. Many times that is when the fish or bigger fish hit is when you reach the end of the structure being fished.
The best areas to fish are larger sets of islands with deep water nearby. The baitfish such as tullibies, ciscoes and whitefish move up on these areas which draws muskies shallow. These muskies may be fish that have not ever been caught or rarely caught because they spend most of their lives chasing baitfish.
Pay close attention to your lowrance as you work these areas because of the rapidly changing depth. You may bump some of these areas with your boat or motor if you do not. When you begin to see the bottom coming up, turn out towards deeper water or let up a bit on the throttle. Lots of times this is when you get a strike.
Give this tactic a try and you may catch the largest fish of your life.
Duane is an avid tournament angler and owns his own guide service (Mainly Musky Fishing Guide Service) where he chases muskies in Illinois waters.