Too many Musky anglers under estimate the effectiveness of surface
lures and, all too often, are found possessing only a spattering of token surface baits in
their tackle boxes - lures which commonly collect more dust than teeth marks. Contrary to
what some anglers may think, surface bait fishing for Musky is not solely restricted to
just the shallow, darker water, lakes and flowages, nor is it a thing of the past.
The fact is, while darker waters such as the Chippewa Flowage are
likely to yield optimum top water results, surface baits also produce very well on a wide
variety of waters including rivers, clear water natural lakes, Canadian shield lakes (Lake
of the Woods, Rowen Lake and Lac Seul to name a few). And even Georgian Bay. And on many
of these waters, where sub-surface has long been the rule, surface baits frequently offer
the Musky something completely different.
Now while I don't consider a Musky to be a creature capable of logic
and reason, primordial instinct may at times make old esox a little leery of the commonly
thrown lures. So it can't hurt to throw lures that these finny beasts haven't seen before.
The perception that surface baits are a thing of the past is best
explained by examining the availability factor of today's Musky lures. Today, there are
substantially less quality surface lures available on the market than there were years
ago; where as, the availability of quality jerk baits, divers, and bucktails has
dramatically increased during recent years. While the availability factor is making
surface lures less dominant in the marketplace, make no mistake - they are still
irresistible to Mr. Musky!
Just how irresistible? Well, being a self-admitted "data
cruncher", let's examine just how productive surface lures have been for my guide
clients and myself. Of the 450 Musky over 30 inches that I've boated during the
past 20 years up to the 15th of October (what I consider the end of the prime artificial
bait season), 265 or 59.3%
were caught on surface baits and the remainder of those fish were caught primarily on
bucktails and jerk baits.
And what about BIG FISH? Well, the success percentage climbs even
higher. Out of 18 Musky in the 25# class or better, boated within the same time frame, 13
or 72% of the big fish came on
surface lures. The stats help bear out what topwater Musky hunters have been saying for
years - surface lures are BIG FISH baits!