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Catch and Release Techniques and Proper Muskie Hold by Pete Maina

Which shows why proper gear is important when Muskie fishing

 

 

AND

on Gear, Tools, Techniques, and Holding for muskies:

 

Learn the tools and techniques for proper catch and release with this Ontario Education piece from Pete!

Posted by Pete Maina, Professional Angler and Muskie Expert on Monday, April 13, 2015

 

 

 

 

Bolt Cutters are used to cut the hooks from a lure or a Muskie's jaw when the fish is badly hooked to ease hook removal.  The large hooks have large barbs and can get twisted inside the fish's mouth becoming almost impossible to remove.  The barb can be cut off to pull the hook out or the eye of the hook can be cut to quickly get the bait out of harms way.  This method greatly increases the speed of releasing a Muskie and increases the chance of survival.  THESE NEED TO BE IN A MUSKIE FISHERMAN'S BOAT!
Camera is a must for when you finally do land that giant fish of a lifetime. Nothing preserves the memory better than a picture of your fish.  If your choice is digital, then the pictures can be sent to all of your buddies.  
First Aid Kit is a must when fishing for fish that have sharp teeth and when using lures that have sharp 5/0 or larger hooks.  Sooner or later it will be needed.
Gloves are optional but do add a level of confidence when removing hooks or handling a Muskie.  Do not use a mesh type that may allow a hook to pass through the material and into your hand with an angry Muskie still attached to the other end of the lure.  A kevlar or buckskin glove works great.
Replacement Hooks need to be in your boat for replacement of cut hooks after you release your trophy or wear a point down beyond sharpening.  Muskies require the use of a heavy duty hook and the low cost of a hook makes cutting and replacing it with a new one well worth the time saved in unhooking a Muskie.    
Line should be upgraded to heavy monofilament or a braided line. Some anglers use upwards of 80 or 100 pound braided lines to fish Muskies.  The line strength can become an asset when you have snagged up a $40.00 lure on bottom or prevent you from breaking off that same bait if you backlash your reel during a cast.
Lures for Muskies are larger than those used for bass.  In general, the earlier in the year, the smaller the bait.  Most anglers have a variety of different baits to fish at different levels in the water.  Trolling and casting can both work very well for Muskies, so many different types of lures can be effective at different times.  For example, a large spinnerbait or shallow diver could be chosen to fish a grass line in 5 feet of water,  while moving off of the grass line, into deeper water, the same lures may be chosen, but a deep diver may work better depending on the level of the fish.  It is best to throw a variety of different presentations. 
Nets are one of the most valuable tools and should be chosen wisely.  Nets that are actually designed for Muskies have large diameter heavy duty mesh that are capable of holding Muskies alive in the water for hook removal so the fish doesn't have to crash around in the bottom of your boat.  Smaller diameter mesh can slice scales and fins and damage the eyes.  The larger mesh makes it easier to unwind your lures and the net size makes it possible to "CAGE" a  large fish revived at boat side allowing you to get your camera ready to quickly pull the fish out for a picture and then release it.  Frabill and Beckman both make amazing nets for Muskies.
Long Handled Pliers are an obvious addition to your necessary items for Muskie fishing.  A long handle needle nose type is recommended with either a straight of offset nose suited to preference. 
Rod and Reels for Muskies are heavier than what you would use for bass but similar.  They need to be good quality to handle the pressures of large game fish.  Rods that are capable of casting up to 5 oz lures or more are used and the reel should be capable of holding enough line to cast or troll with.  
Split Rings can be cut to remove hooks with bolt cutters if need be.  A strong battle with a Muskie can also lead to separation of a split ring and they should be inspected on a regular basis, especially after boating a fish.
Wire Leaders are one of the most important pieces of hardware between you and a Muskie.  Heavy duty snaps with ratings of over 100 pounds are used to make a Muskie leader.  They are much heavier than the ones that are used for Pickeral fishing.