3. Use your eyes, too.
Nothing beats visual confirmation of the new micro-spot that you’ve just identified with Side Imaging. One of the most powerful and versatile tools in my fish finding arsenal, for both soft and hard water, is my Aqua-Vu Micro camera system. A quick peek at the underwater world, courtesy of Aqua-Vu’s high quality optics, allows me to fish with confidence, knowing that I am indeed targeting the right areas for the right fish. Beyond using the Aqua-Vu Micro camera to probe structure, I frequently rely on the same system to confirm the identities of fish that I see in these same areas. On many of the lakes I frequent, muskies rely on panfish and related species for summer forage; visually identifying snack-sized sunnies and crappies with my Aqua-Vu Micro camera tells me that the buffet is set for Esox.
4. Position yourself for success. You’ve just identified the textbook spot-on-the-spot on a prime midlake bar. This is not the time to cruise around, flinging baits to low percentage areas. In summer, I prefer to position my boat adjacent to my target weed/rock interface and lock it in place, so I can saturate that zone with a variety of baits. The last thing I want when chasing muskies is an anchor rope in the water, as a hooked fish will invariably find and use that rope to secure its freedom. Rather, I position my boat using two tech tools: the Spot Lock feature of my Minn Kota Ulterra’s i-Pilot Link system locks in the bow, and my Minn Kota Talon secures the stern. Using only one of these boat positioning tools would still allow the boat to pivot and swing in the strong summer winds that activate midlake structure; however, the Spot Lock/Talon combination provides for an incredibly stable, stationary platform for hucking baits and landing fish. I orient the boat with the bow into the wind, generally over the deeper water surrounding the target bar. The 12-foot Talon on the stern reaches down far enough to find the edge of the bar, locking the back of the boat in place. The rough water feature of my Talon frequently gets a workout in the summer, as nothing gets midlake structure going more than a stiff breeze and the steady chop that it generates.
5. Get your Mojo on. Technique-specific rods are all the rage. I admit, I have rods in my walleye collection that I only use for live bait rigging, others only for slip bobbering, and still others for each of a variety of jig-based presentations. My musky rod collection, however, relies on a “generalist” rather than a host of specialist rods. The rod that I reach for, every time, is my 8 foot Mojo Musky (MM80MHF) from St. Croix Rod. Relying on a generalist rod doesn’t mean that I have to compromise on features or functionality. Whether I’m slow rolling a spinnerbait through the weeds, going over the top of the weeds with a Cowgirl, or riding the waves with a topwater, my Mojo Musky handles each presentation with the precision and toughness that summer muskies demand. The Mojo Musky’s eight-foot length allows me to transition into a figure 8 with ease, and the modest weight of the rod doesn’t leave me fatigued after chasing Esox for the day. My Mojo Musky is an important, final piece of my hi-tech solution to the summer musky puzzle.
Summer musky prime time has arrived. This is the time of the season with the musky can truly be an “everyman’s fish”, as for these few weeks, complete devotion to all things Esox is not necessarily required for success. Use these tech tips to level the musky playing field, and be sure to smile for those musky “grip-and-grin” photos that are destined for your desk at work and your Facebook profile. Those memories will keep the musky flame burning bright until summer returns next year!