Muskie - Fishing Live Bait with Cory Allen

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Instructor: Cory Allen

Livebait is effective for muskie fishing, especially during colder periods. It offers a unique angle and allows for other methods to be combined. Joe Murphy's STFF rigs are showcased in an In The Spread video, showcasing their effectiveness and various presentation methods to increase success rates.

Description / Review / Instructor


  • Live bait can be controversial for musky fishing, but effective.
  • In The Spread winter muskie video features fishing in a lock adjacent to a dam.
  • Cory Allen, the Tennessee Valley Muskie Authority, discusses the advantages of live bait in winter.
  • Importance of both big and small baits: 4-5 inch shiners and 12-18 inch rainbow trout.
  • Introduction to Joe Murphy #stff live bait rigs and their assembly.
  • Techniques for rigging live trout and shiners, and understanding terminal tackle.
  • Emphasis on the importance of bait presentation and natural appearance.
  • The goal is continuous learning to enhance fishing skills.
Live Bait for Musky Fishing: Controversy and Strategy

Some people frown upon using live bait for musky, while others swear by it. Though it might be controversial in some circles, there's no denying its effectiveness. Being knowledgeable about the proper use and placement of live bait can be incredibly beneficial.

In this In The Spread winter muskie fishing video, we focus on the still water environment of a lock adjacent to a dam. This location is prime real estate in a reservoir system, serving as the ultimate upstream boundary for these fish. Essentially, it's the end of the line and a hotspot for catching big muskies—making it the ideal location for live bait.

Meet the Host: Cory Allen

Cory Allen, renowned as the original Tennessee Valley Muskie Authority, guides you through this tutorial. Beyond his extensive experience fishing in southern reservoirs, Cory is recognized for his profound understanding of muskellunge behavior within this system. He's particularly insightful about why live bait is so effective during winter, giving anglers a significant advantage in catching large fish.

Throughout the video, Cory showcases both large and small bait types to cater to the diverse diet of winter musky. You might have heard stories of bass or walleye fishers unexpectedly catching sizable muskies with petite lures. This underscores the value of including smaller bait in your repertoire—specifically, 4 to 5-inch shiners. However, as the adage goes, "big bait for big fish." On the larger end, Cory uses 12 to 18-inch rainbow trout, which are not only excellent bait but also thrive in cold water.

Fishing Techniques and Rigs

Viewers will be introduced to the Joe Murphy #stff live bait rigs and their exceptional qualities. The assembly process of these rigs will be demonstrated, emphasizing their ability to allow bait a free-swimming motion. Cory meticulously illustrates how to rig live trout for muskie fishing. Additionally, he guides viewers on crafting a Carolina rig suitable for rigging shiners. It's crucial to understand the specific terminal tackle for each setup and the best methods to deploy it in the water column. One of the highlights of the video is witnessing bait, as seen on the graph, being aggressively targeted by muskies.

Concluding Thoughts

While this method isn't a guaranteed success every time, it considerably boosts your chances of having days with multiple catches. The video delves into details like the appropriate weights, leader materials, the advantages of lighter setups, the best hooks, and the importance of allowing your bait ample freedom for a more authentic presentation.

In the realm of fishing, continuous learning is invaluable. Our aim with this video is to offer viewers the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills. Remember, there's always more to discover, and learning from exceptional fishermen can significantly elevate your game.

Never stop learning.

Why is using live bait for musky controversial?
Live bait can be seen as less sportsmanlike by some anglers as it might provide an "easier" way to attract fish. Additionally, there are concerns about the well-being of the baitfish and the potential for increased mortality in the target species due to gut hooking.

Who is Cory Allen?
Cory Allen is recognized as the original Tennessee Valley Muskie Authority. He has extensive experience fishing in southern reservoirs and possesses an in-depth understanding of muskellunge behavior in these systems.

What are the benefits of using both big and small baits?
Using a variety of bait sizes ensures that you cover the entire eating spectrum for muskies. Smaller baits like shiners can attract muskies looking for an easy meal, while larger baits like trout appeal to bigger fish aiming for a substantial feed.

What is the Joe Murphy #stff live bait rig?
The Joe Murphy #stff live bait rig is a specific rig designed to allow live bait to swim more naturally, making it more attractive to predatory fish. The rig's design and setup provide the bait with a free-swimming motion, increasing the chances of attracting a bite.

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Cory Allen

Cory Allen, known as the Tennessee Muskie Authority, has years of expertise in muskie fishing. He is a skilled guide in the Tennessee River drainage basin, specializing in understanding muskellunge behavior and environmental conditions. Allen's dedication to his craft and continuous learning make him a valuable resource for both seasoned and novice anglers.

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