Muskie - Fishing Open Water with Cory Allen

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Instructor: Cory Allen
Categories: Freshwater Muskie

Fish, especially musky, are oriented to their environment, and open water fishing presents challenges. In this In The Spread musky fishing video, Cory Allen explains breaking down open water fishing elements and utilizing underwater topography to catch more big fish. By learning smarter bait presentation, you can achieve comfort and confidence in catching musky in open water.

Description / Review / Instructor

Key Points of Video:

  • Guide: Renown guide Cory Allen demonstrates open water muskie fishing.
  • Challenge: Open water muskie fishing can be daunting, with many anglers hesitant to embrace the concept.
  • The Frontier: This method represents a largely unexplored aspect of musky angling due to the complexities of understanding suspended muskellunge behavior.
  • Approach: Allen uses an "X and Y" axis method to dissect open water elements and teach the technique.
  • Concept Clarification: Open water fishing does not mean fish are aimlessly floating; they're usually at a geo intersect point or related to some structure.
  • Techniques: Learn to identify topographical features, understand fish suspension, and select the right lures.
  • Lures Used: Cory uses a Joe Murphy safety pin spinner bait, an H20 Barbarian, and an Eastfield Swimbait.
  • Video Objective: Boost anglers' confidence and understanding of open water muskie fishing techniques.

How to Catch Muskie in All Conditions

Open Water Muskie Fishing

In the realm of muskie fishing, the open water presents a unique challenge and a world of possibilities for the intrepid angler. While many anglers focus their efforts on visible structures, such as weed beds, drop-offs, or submerged timber, the open water holds its own secrets and potential for landing trophy muskies.

Cory Allen, a renowned muskie guide, demonstrates the art of reading and dissecting these seemingly featureless expanses in the latest "In The Spread" video. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the subtle nuances that attract muskies to these areas, even when no visible structure above the waterline.

Throughout the video, Allen's expertise shines as he reads the open water, interprets subtle signs, and adapts his strategies to maximize his chances of encountering muskies. He demonstrates that success in open water muskie fishing requires a combination of knowledge, patience, and the willingness to explore and adapt to the ever-changing conditions.

By sharing his insights and techniques, Cory Allen inspires anglers to venture beyond the comfort of structure-oriented fishing and embrace the challenges and rewards of targeting muskies in the vast expanse of open water. His approach serves as a testament to the fact that even in the absence of obvious features, there are always opportunities for those who possess the skills and mindset to uncover them.

Challenges of Open Water Muskie Fishing

The allure of open water muskie fishing lies not only in the potential for landing trophy fish but also in the intellectual challenge of deciphering the enigmatic behavior of these apex predators. For many anglers, the transition from fishing structured areas to exploring the vast expanse of open water requires a significant shift in mindset and approach.

The open water is often referred to as the "last great frontier" in muskie angling, and for good reason. Unlike fishing near visible structures, where anglers can rely on obvious ambush points or holding areas, the open water presents a more complex puzzle. The lack of apparent features can be daunting, leaving anglers wondering where to begin their search for these elusive predators.

Intriguingly, many of the largest muskies in any given system are known to spend a significant portion of their time suspended in open water, often adjacent to underwater structures. This behavior raises a fundamental question: what drives these majestic creatures to inhabit such seemingly random areas?

One hypothesis is that muskies are drawn to open water due to the presence of suspended baitfish. In many cases, large schools of baitfish occupy the mid-depth ranges of the water column. These baitfish congregations serve as a reliable food source for muskies, who are opportunistic predators. By suspending in the vicinity of these schools, muskies can conserve energy while still having access to abundant prey. This is akin to lions strategically positioning themselves near herds of gazelles on the African savanna.

Furthermore, the open water provides muskies with a unique hunting advantage. In the absence of structure, prey fish have fewer places to seek refuge, making them more vulnerable to predation. Muskies, with their keen eyesight and powerful swimming abilities, can efficiently hunt in these open areas, capitalizing on the exposed nature of their prey.

Another factor that may influence muskie behavior in open water is the presence of underwater structures that are not visible from the surface. While these structures may not be apparent to anglers, they can create subtle changes in current, temperature, or oxygen levels that attract baitfish and, consequently, muskies. These underwater features, such as submerged humps, rockpiles, or even subtle depth changes, can act as "hidden" hotspots for muskie activity.

The concept of muskies suspending in open water adjacent to underwater structure adds another layer of complexity to the puzzle. It suggests that these fish are not randomly distributed but rather strategically positioned to take advantage of both the presence of baitfish and the proximity to potential ambush points.

Unraveling the mysteries of open water muskie behavior has been a long-standing challenge for anglers and researchers alike. While theories abound, the exact reasons behind their suspension and location preferences remain somewhat enigmatic. This uncertainty adds to the allure and challenge of pursuing these fish in the vast expanses of open water.

As anglers continue to push the boundaries of muskie fishing, the "last great frontier" of open water will undoubtedly yield new insights and revelations. By embracing the unknown and applying a combination of science, observation, and intuition, anglers can begin to crack the code of open water muskies, unlocking the secrets of these fascinating creatures in their watery domain.

Demystifying the "No Man's Land" to Target Big Muskie

In the pursuit of understanding the enigmatic behavior of muskies in open water, Cory Allen employs a systematic approach that combines science, observation, and a deep understanding of the underwater environment. By breaking down the elements of open water using an "X and Y" axis technique, Allen provides anglers with a framework to visualize and comprehend the factors influencing muskie behavior in these seemingly featureless areas.

The concept of "open water" is often misunderstood from a fish's perspective. While anglers may perceive these vast expanses as devoid of structure or features, Allen argues that to the fish, there is no such thing as truly "open water." Fish, including muskies, are always positioned in a specific location for a reason, often influenced by various topographical features or "structures" that may not be immediately apparent to the human eye.

Allen's "X and Y" axis approach involves dissecting the water column and the horizontal plane to identify the key factors that attract and hold muskies in open water. The "Y" axis represents depth, and Allen meticulously studies the water column to locate thermoclines, oxygen levels, and suspended baitfish. By understanding the vertical distribution of muskies and their prey, anglers can target specific depth ranges where the fish are most likely to be found.

On the "X" axis, Allen examines the horizontal plane, looking for subtle changes in bottom contour, underwater points, or even slight variations in water color or clarity. These seemingly minor differences can create micro-environments that attract baitfish and, consequently, muskies. By identifying these areas, anglers can focus their efforts on high-probability zones rather than aimlessly casting in the vast expanse.

Allen's approach challenges the notion that muskies are randomly scattered in open water. Instead, he suggests that these fish are constantly orienting themselves based on unseen factors, such as underwater currents, temperature gradients, or even the position of the sun. By understanding how these variables influence muskie behavior, anglers can develop a more targeted and efficient approach to open water fishing.

Moreover, Allen's methodology emphasizes the importance of adaptability and continuous learning. Open water muskie fishing is a dynamic pursuit, and conditions can change rapidly based on weather patterns, seasonal transitions, or even the time of day. By continuously monitoring and interpreting the "X and Y" axis factors, anglers can adjust their strategies to stay in tune with the ever-changing underwater environment.

The scientific approach employed by Cory Allen offers anglers a structured framework to tackle the complexities of open water muskie fishing. By breaking down the elements of the underwater world and understanding the factors that influence muskie behavior, anglers can demystify the "open water" and develop a more informed and purposeful approach to targeting these elusive predators.

Ultimately, Allen's "X and Y" axis technique serves as a powerful tool for anglers seeking to unlock the secrets of open water muskies. By combining this systematic approach with patience, persistence, and a willingness to learn and adapt, anglers can increase their chances of success in this challenging and rewarding aspect of muskie fishing. As our understanding of muskie behavior in open water continues to grow, thanks to the insights of experts like Cory Allen, the "last great frontier" of muskie angling becomes increasingly accessible to those who dare to venture beyond the comfort of structured fishing.

Unlocking the Secrets of Open Water Fishing

Cory Allen's approach to open water muskie fishing is centered around recognizing and understanding the hidden topographical features that influence fish behavior. By gaining this knowledge, anglers can unlock the secrets of why muskies choose to suspend in certain areas and how to effectively target them. Let's delve deeper into the key points:

  • Understanding why fish suspend:
  1. Muskies often suspend in open water due to the presence of baitfish, favorable water temperatures, or oxygen levels.
  2. They may also orient themselves near underwater structures, such as submerged humps, rockpiles, or drop-offs, which create subtle changes in currents or water conditions.
  3. Recognizing these factors helps anglers comprehend why muskies position themselves in specific areas of the water column.
  • Locating key areas:
  1. By employing the "X and Y" axis technique, anglers can identify high-probability zones where muskies are likely to suspend.
  2. The "Y" axis represents depth, and anglers should focus on areas with optimal temperature, oxygen levels, and baitfish concentrations.
  3. The "X" axis represents the horizontal plane, and anglers should look for subtle changes in bottom contour, underwater points, or variations in water clarity.
  4. Mapping out these key areas helps anglers narrow down their search and concentrate their efforts on the most promising locations.
  • Targeting suspended fish:
  1. Once the key areas are identified, anglers must develop effective strategies to present their lures at the appropriate depths and locations.
  2. Precision boat control and accurate casting are essential to place the lure in the strike zone of suspended muskies.
  3. Employing techniques such as counting down the lure, using depth-specific retrieves, or trolling at precise depths can help anglers effectively target suspended fish
  4. Paying attention to the fish's reaction to the lure and making adjustments based on their behavior can increase the chances of triggering strikes.
  • Effective lures for suspended muskies:
  1. Choosing the right lures is crucial for enticing suspended muskies to bite.
  2. In the video, Cory Allen demonstrates the effectiveness of the Joe Murphy safety pin spinner bait, the H20 Barbarian, and the Eastfield Swimbait.
  3. These lures are designed to mimic the appearance and behavior of baitfish, making them attractive to muskies suspended in the water column.
  4. Experimenting with different lure types, sizes, and retrieves can help anglers determine the most effective combinations for a given situation.
  • Exploring overlooked areas:
  1. Many anglers tend to overlook certain parts of the water column when fishing for muskies, focusing primarily on the surface or bottom.
  2. However, suspended muskies often occupy the middle layers of the water column, which can be as unfamiliar to anglers as the dark side of the moon.
  3. By employing the techniques and lures demonstrated by Cory Allen, anglers can effectively explore these overlooked areas and tap into the untapped potential of suspended muskies.

Through Cory Allen's guidance and the use of specialized tools like the Joe Murphy safety pin spinner bait, the H20 Barbarian, and the Eastfield Swimbait, anglers can demystify the behavior of suspended muskies and develop a more comprehensive approach to open water fishing. By understanding the factors that influence fish suspension, locating key areas, employing effective targeting techniques, and using the right lures, anglers can unlock the secrets of these enigmatic predators and enjoy the thrill of catching trophy muskies in the vast expanses of open water.

More Than a Tutorial

The In The Spread video with Cory Allen is more than just a tutorial; it's a deep dive into the art and science of open water muskie fishing. By the end, you'll not only have a better understanding of the techniques involved but also a newfound respect for the intricate dance of predator and prey that plays out beneath the surface. Dive in, and embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of the "no man's land" of fishing!

Why is open water muskie fishing considered a challenge?

Open water muskie fishing can be daunting for many due to the seeming vastness of the water. The biggest challenge is for anglers to feel comfortable enough with the idea to even attempt it.

What does Cory Allen mean by the "X and Y" axis approach?

Cory Allen's "X and Y" axis approach is a methodical way of breaking down open water elements to better understand and approach muskie fishing in seemingly featureless waters.

Are fish really just wandering aimlessly in open water?

No. Even in open water, fish are usually at some kind of geo intersect point or orienting themselves off a topographical feature or other forms of "structure".

What lures does Cory Allen recommend for open water fishing?

Cory highlights the effectiveness of the Joe Murphy safety pin spinner bait, the H20 Barbarian, and the Eastfield Swimbait for open water muskie fishing.

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User Reviews

Darryl Hamer 04.28.2019

Jesse Carpenter 10.04.2018


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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