collins river musky fishing dwayne hickey in the spread video
Dec 15, 2019

Big Tackle for Musky Fishing

What's the last thing you'd want to happen when a big fish is hooked? Tackle failure! Musky lures aren't cheap to say the least, so the last thing an angler would want to happen is to loose that 50 dollar lure (or 20 dollar) due to tackle failure. Let's discuss four things that can help you avoid losing lures and loosing that fish of a lifetime.

Fishing Line

Your line is critical. Most musky anglers today use braided line when tossing lures that weigh several ounces. A good, no stretch braided line is by far the best choice. Line strength depends on what rod and reel combo you use. With baitcasters, I recommend at least 65 lb test, but I prefer 80 lb test. For spinning reels, I'd go with no more than 30 lb test. Spinning rod/reel combos are best suited for smaller lures. A good smooth drag is important when fighting a big musky on spinning equipment. If your reel is rated for up to 12lb mono line, use braided line that is the same diameter as the mono line.


Leaders are super important! You can buy the best or go to the catfish section of Walmart and buy the cheap stuff. Bob bought his leaders at Walmart. Bob hooked a big musky and lost it and his lure after the leader broke. DONT BE LIKE BOB! I was Bob early in my musky fishing days. It don't take loosing too many 20 dollars lures or big fish to weak leaders to wise up and spend the extra dollars on good leaders. You can buy steel, titanium or fluorocarbon leaders at any on line muskies shop. The highest priced leaders will cost close to ten bucks each. Leader snaps need to be flexible, but strong. Be sure to check your snaps on a regular basis. Big snap ends will not work on some small musky lures or will effect the action in a negative way. Have an assortment of leaders and don't go cheap. When the leader needs to be replaced, do it.

Fishing Hooks

Hooks are the last connection between you and a big fish. Most big hooks (for any big fish) are built to not bend or break. But the power of big musky fish can sometimes bend even strong hooks. Usually, the fish will get tangled on limbs and rocks, causing a hook to bend.

Sharpening Hooks

The last point I'll mention is the "point" of the hook. Some hooks come needle sharp right out of the box. Other big treble hooks need sharpening but don't overdo it. I'll explain. On open water that is free from wood and rocks you want the best, sharpest hook you can get. On the other hand, if you are constantly bumping structure such as rock or wood keep this in mind. Some big hooks will "burr" very easily. If the point of your hook is too sharp, be aware that contact with structure will blunt the tip. I usually file my hooks three swipes on each side of the hook and two swipes on the top of the hook. That's enough to put a good, sharp edge on big hooks. Practice on old hooks until you get the hang of it. Remember that a good hook set is key.


The last important thing to mention is the knot. The internet is full of information on fishing knots. I primarily use two knots that are the strongest I know of. The double improved clinch knot, and the polymer knot. Tie these knots properly and you are in business. Check your knot and line regularly, especially if you fish wood, rock, bridges, ect.

If you have good strong line, strong leaders, sharp hooks and can tie a good knot, you have all the nuts and bolts for a battle you can win! Let's face it. When it comes to musky fishing, you need to have your ducks(nuts & bolts) in a row!

Dwayne Hickey

Collins River Musky Fishing

In The Spread

Watch Musky Fishing Videos

In The Spread is one of the world's premier sport fishing video companies and educational outlets for demonstration, explanation and insight on how to catch fish. Get inside access to our video library by becoming a member.

The Latest from the Blog

  • triple tail fish with captain william toney in the spread fishing video instruction

    Triple Tail Fish Time is Here - Captain William Toney

    My method of triple tail fishing is to run past likely spots and if I see one then I use a shrimp under a cork after I've shut down and drifted in to casting range. There is also a method of using FADS
    Read more
  • tuna fishing yellowfin tuna lures in the spread videos

    Tuna Fishing – Yellowfin Tuna Lures

    As any seasoned angler knows, choosing the right lure is crucial for a successful day of tuna fishing. There are several types of lures that can be effective for catching tuna, including casting, trolling, topwater, and jigging lures. Each type of lure has its unique characteristics and can be effective in different conditions.
    Read more
  • blue marlin offshore fishing and lure rigging in the spread videos

    Blue Marlin – Offshore Fishing and Lure Rigging

    When rigging a stiff hook, it's important to position the hook in the correct orientation on the lure so that it sits upright in the water. This can take some trial and error, as different lures and hooks may require slightly different rigging methods. Some anglers prefer to use wire leader with their stiff hook rigs, while others opt for fluorocarbon or monofilament leader depending on the fishing conditions and the behavior of the fish they are targeting.
    Read more
View All