If you live in a midwest state or anywhere with lakes and a typically cooler climate and you like to fish, then you’ve probably been in search of the elusive muskie.

Similar to pike and walleye, muskie stocks have diminished over the years so that it has become an almost exclusively catch-and-release fish, which means there are some big suckers out there.

The key to catching big muskie, like all types of fishing, is patience but especially so when going after muskie. Fishermen call muskie the fish of 1,000 casts because it’s going to take that long to be successful. But with these four tips you can be on the fish sooner than you think.

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Like anything else, that which is worth waiting for is worth bragging for, and catching a whopper of a muskie is no exception. Here are some essential pointers to increase your chances for success the next time you go after muskies.

Right lake

Nothing replaces local knowledge when selecting a fishing spot. Call around to various tackle shops, visit on-line forums and also check the local stocking schedule by the various state departments of natural resources. This should give you a good idea where you are most likely to spot big muskie fishing.

Right equipment

Your best bet for catching big muskie is go with an inline bucktail #8 spinning lure. This combined with a nine-foot fishing pole strung with 80 pound braid and 130 pound fluorocarbon leader and you’ve got yourself the ideal muskie setup.

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Find bait fish

Another classic tip to any fishing that certainly applies to muskie is to find the bait. If you find the bait fish, you will find the prey fish. Muskie commonly eat, but are not limited to shad, cisco, carp, suckers, and any other oily, fatty fish. If you can find these fish using your fish finder, local knowledge and seeking out likely habitat then you are likely on the right track to finding big muskie.

Use the figure eight method

Something experienced muskie fishermen have noticed is that the elusive fish likes to strike in the last 10 feet to the boat. This is likely because muskie are a timid fish and it may be watching that bait for a while as you reel it in before it decides to go for it. As you reel it just as the lure gets to within 10 feet, take the end of your rod and make a figure-eight pattern in the water in broad strokes. In this way it will keep the lure suspended for those last few moments.