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Hey guys,

 

I usually fish for bass in southeast Wisconsin but 1 week a year my family takes a trip up north to Eagle River, WI.  The Eagle River chain is known for excellent Muskie fishing, so I figure I might as well take advantage and try my hand at it during the time I'm up there.  Main problem is - I can't afford/justify purchasing a Muskie setup for 1 week out of the year.

 

For bass fishing I currently have a spinning setup and multi-purpose Medium baitcasting setup.  The next setup I've been looking to purchase is a heavy setup for frogs, jigs, etc.  Looking for rod/reel recommendations for this, and ideally something that would at least suffice to throw some larger Muskie lures during the week I'm up north.  My thought is to spool it with 50lb braid and will add a wire leader when using it for Muskie, but feel free to suggest something else.

 

I know most of you are going to want me to have a separate setup for Muskie, froggin, pitching/flipping - but for now I need something that can get all of the jobs done on a reasonable budget.  Hopefully I have 20+ setups and a $30k bass boat one day, but for now I've gotta work with my 2-3 bass setups and 14 foot jon boat :)

 

I absolutely HAVE to keep the combo under $150, bonus points for staying under $120.  I hate to even mention it on this forum lol, but any opinions on Whuppin Sticks for this?  I could be wrong in this, but I feel like for a heavy setup it makes more sense to compromise the rod to afford a better reel if you have to compromise one or the other.  Finesse fishing I would think the opposite since you want a good rod with good sensitivity and feel, but for this setup, as far as I know I just need something rock solid with good backbone and can spend a little more on a better reel.

 

Thanks for the help!

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What about a berkley ligtning rod 7'6 H and an abu garcia orra winch? That should be right around 110 bucks. If not an abu maybe a kastking stealth. They have lots of drag and good line capacity. The kastking would bring it to about $100 or less I think

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In that price range, a reel that can stand up to casting heavy baits is going to be hard to find. Because you are new to musky fishing, I'd suggest using smaller lures that will A, be easier to cast, B, cost a lot less, C, be easier on your gear and D, catch more muskies as well as bigger bass. A few musky lures alone can cost more than you have budgeted for your rod and reel combo. On your way to Eagle River, stop in to Rollie and Helens Musky Shop just south of Minocqua. That is THE most complete musky shop in America. They'll hook you up with what you need as far as lures. The bad news is that you won't find a rod and reel combo there that will fit your budget. 

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You wonder how anyone ever caught a big musky on yesteryears tackle. The answer is they used what we consider today a heavy bass tackle and didn't cast big heavy lures, they trolled those. 

You can cast a Marathon Musky Hawk buzz bait using today's frog rod set up. I think you will need to up your budget to $200 if you want a decent outfit to use for both musky and bass.

Cardiff 300 series reel is about $100, you can find medium heavy swimbait rod like Daiwa DX, Fury FR795 MH, 805 H or heavy frog rod in the $100 price range.

Tom

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Just tape up anywhere it says bass on the rod, and you should be good to go. Muskies aren't know for schooling...

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I appreciate all the suggestions!

So far I've been looking at these options:

 

Reel: Abu Garcia Orra 2 Winch $80 

         http://www.basspro.com/Abu-Garcia-Orra-2-Winch-Baitcast-Reel/product/13061208313411/

 

Rod: Abu Garcia Vendetta $80 7'6" Heavy Fast

         http://www.cabelas.com/product/fishing/fishing-rods/casting-rods|/pc/104793480/c/104764680/sc/104823180/abu-garcia-vendetta-casting-rods/2413869.uts

 

    or Abu Garcia Veritas 2.0 $70   7'11" Heavy Fast

http://www.cabelas.com/product/fishing/fishing-rods/casting-rods|/pc/104793480/c/104764680/sc/104823180/abu-garcia-veritas-crankbait-casting/1878652.uts

 

 

Leaning towards the Veritas.

 

Any thoughts?

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With your very budgeted price range, you're not really going to find anything that is drastically better than anything else. I would recommend getting a rod rated to at least 1.5 oz (preferably 2-3oz.)

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If I were you, I'd put 65 lb braid on the heaviest bass combo I had, get a couple of 180 lb Stealth Tackle fluoro leaders, and only throw spinnerbaits and small single-blade bucktails. If you try to throw heavy or hard-pulling muskie lures on cheap and/or underpowered equipment, you're wasting your money.

 

That reel you linked only does 22 IPT, which is far too slow for any musky application.

 

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I've heard of a lot of people using their catfish gear for muskies, since I'm in Canada (muskie territory) for a week this summer, I plan on trying that out for myself. Is it ideal? Certainly not. The reels a little slow but the rod will handle the proper heights. I just can't justify spending money on muskie gear when I could use it towards bass, catfish or trout rods that I can use regularly.

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Just now, Boomstick said:

I've heard of a lot of people using their catfish gear for muskies, since I'm in Canada (muskie territory) for a week this summer, I plan on trying that out for myself. Is it ideal? Certainly not. The reels a little slow but the rod will handle the proper heights. I just can't justify spending money on muskie gear when I could use it towards bass or trout rods that I can use regularly.

 

Exactly, that's where I'm at.  I fully understand why most people might scoff at the idea of using a bass setup for muskie fishing but like I said, this is more or less a purchase for a new heavy bass setup that I'm probably going to use for muskie while I'm up there.

And I might not have been clear in the original post.  I plan to throw some bucktails but given my budget, I'm certainly not buying a bunch of giant muskie lures at 20 or 30 bucks a piece, so the lures I'm throwing or trolling shouldn't be excessive for a bass setup.  I'm also not necessarily targeting the largest muskies out there (using large lures), this will be my first shot muskie fishing so I'll be ecstatic to get ANYTHING in the boat lol.

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14 minutes ago, blakebrown71 said:

 

Exactly, that's where I'm at.  I fully understand why most people might scoff at the idea of using a bass setup for muskie fishing but like I said, this is more or less a purchase for a new heavy bass setup that I'm probably going to use for muskie while I'm up there.

And I might not have been clear in the original post.  I plan to throw some bucktails but given my budget, I'm certainly not buying a bunch of giant muskie lures at 20 or 30 bucks a piece, so the lures I'm throwing or trolling shouldn't be excessive for a bass setup.  I'm also not necessarily targeting the largest muskies out there (using large lures), this will be my first shot muskie fishing so I'll be ecstatic to get ANYTHING in the boat lol.

 

Why not? At some point I will get a proper heavy bass setup myself so that wouldn't go to waste either.

 

My plan is to target mostly bass and walleye, but if I see some heavy cover I'm throwing a large spinnerbait on my catfish rod and fishing it.

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For musky size lures and big baits it may be better to look at swimbait equipment.  The older abu round reels can be found cheap and then grab a Dobyns Fury Casting Rod 7'9" Med Hvy Swimbait for 119 off tackle warhouse.  The rod will be good for a long time and if you decide to upgrade the reel then you have very little money lost.  The rod can handle most if not all the baits your friends will throw so if a good bait is found you will not be left out.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Daiwa-300-Bait-casting-Reel-MILLIONAIRE-CLASSIC-RED-/391815483795?hash=item5b3a05d193:g:gDgAAOSw~rpZQKS5

This has you right at 140 add in some 20 lb big game and for 150 ish out the door your in the game and have a decent SB settup to use all year.

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Shimano makes some very cheap musky rods like $50 I think it's the compre series maybe sojourn the problem with using bass gear is Muskies are probably the biggest most power pansies you can fish for it don't tAke much to exhaust one and kill it.  I know everyone has an opinion and bass gear is totally legal to use but I look at it like this how mad would you be next time you are out on one of your hot spots and some one cruises in lets say it's a muskie guy and instead of using proper equipment he's using an ul but he put 30# braid on it so his line won't break when catching bass and then instead of having proper gear to handle the fish ( net mini bolt cutters long needle nose pliers  forceps gloves and mouth spreader) you see all he has is a gaff to get bass in boat and a stick to get deep hooked fish off.  ( i know sounds extreme but most guys dont have the correct tools for muskie) I would find it very disrespectful i hate to say it but if you cant afford the proper gear you shouldnt be fishing for them.  I mean I wouldn't go hunting for deer with my 22 could it be done yes but it is very unethical and you would wind up with allot of wounded deer

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I fish a lot of muskie lakes and catch a far number of them (4 YTD, biggest about 38"), i was well into double digits last year.  I've caught them up to 48".  I target pike a lot, I'm going to catch some muskies in the process.

 

I have one dedicated musky rod...have yet to catch anything on it.  I've also never caught one on a "musky" lure. 

 

I've caught all my muskies (and a ton of pike) on heavy bass rigs...and even on some not so heavy bass rigs.  All the fish I've caught have come on smaller lures, the biggest might be 8" or 9" long (except for big flies...I'll throw those to 13" - 15", but that's a while 'nother ball game).

 

Here's where you want to be cautious:  Use enough rod.  If you' don't, you'll land the fish, but the odds of killing it go way up.  Big muskies and pike take decades to get big, it's best to get them off the hook and back in the water as fast as you can.

 

On the positive side, Pike and muskies are not great fighters,,,but what they can be is heavy.

 

A heavy bass rod that'll throw a ounce-and-a-half spoon or in-line spinner (Think big Mepps) will do just fine.  50# or 65# braid will be fine, heavy fluro (50#, minimum, and try to use leader material, not regular fluoro line) or tieable wire tied on with an Alberto of FG know will get the job done.

 

Check the leader a lot, after every fish, no matter how big.  If it's nicked, replace it, or cut it short and re-tie your terminal tackle.

 

Also: Get an appropriate net.  And long pliers to get the hooks out...and pinch your barbs.  Most bass guys have no idea what it's like to try to back a bg barbed hook out of a big pike or musky's mouth.  Learn to "figure 8"...which doesn't mean you have to make a figure 8, but that you want to change direction and depth boat side for at least a few feet (think a full rod sweep with 18: of line out, running the rod tip into the water.  These fish will eat at boat side.  H append to me Sunday...and the Saturday before that...

 

Hope all that helps...

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I see the Musky Hawk buzz bait is now a vintage lure! If I was hunting musky today the Whopper Plopper 190 in Loon would be a good choice at 7" long and 2 1/4 oz. Musky like noise surface lures and you cover a lot of water fast.

If you can find a Marathon Musky Hawk in black, about 8" long get one, hard to beat for numbers of muskies and big pike.

Agree the Dobyns FR795 MH or 805 H swimbait rod is a good choice and it makes good bass rod for lures over 1 oz up to 3 oz. 

Site sponsor KastKing has a knock off Ambassador 6500C called Rover that is $48, for a few weeks of musky fishing should work OK, better than going on eBay for a vintage reel of unknown condition. Spool the reel with 25 lb Big Game. Shimano Cardiff 300 series is my recommendation and suggest you spend the extra $50!

Tom

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Good subject. Every single muskie I have caught has been on medium heavy to heavy bass tackle, which is considered light tackle for muskie. You can cast decent sized swimbaits, most bucktails, spinnerbaits, and other lures all day without getting too tired on these bass set ups. Muskie fight hard for the first couple minutes or so, then not so much, so you don't need the same line capacity as if you where targeting a big snook, tarpon, or other strong saltwater fish.

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I"ve got a couple of those older Ambasador reels...they were OK for their time, but are way past what is needed for musky.

 

As soflabasser noted, muskies don't peel off lots of line unless they are huge and you've got no drag.  You don't need anywhere near that much line capacity unless you're dragging lures way behind the boat trolling.

 

My brother landed a 45" 'ski on a St. Croix medium action Mojo Bass rod with a Pflueger President reel on it.  I helped with the boat quite a bit, and it was a really good lesson in "use enough rod" for him, but it worked.  It was not something I would recommend, or even remotely consider repeating, but he was fishing for smaller pike in the roks along an island on LOTW...stuff happens, and we got it done.

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Fish what you own now!

 

You will go broke buying musky gear. Besides, I have caught more musky bass fishing than I ever have while musky fishing. Seriously, if you need to buy, get  7' heavy rod at BPS or Cabelas and  a round Abu Garcia. Put 60# Power Pro on it and you have a Musky/Frog rod. Baits will cost you a fortune too. Stop at Rollie / Helens to look only. You would be better of stopping at Park Falls while in Eagle River and get so m Blems from the St Croix factory for half market price. Butternut Lake is close. It's low pressured for good size fish too.

 

Have fun!

BTW, I lived on the north side of Racine for about 20 years.

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I have some Musky baits cheap if you want email. Send me an e m Wil to oldjarhead1956@gmail.com and I will send you a pic. Not very smart about imagery in the Forum site.

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12 minutes ago, XpressJeff said:

I have some Musky baits cheap if you want email. Send me an e m Wil to oldjarhead1956@gmail.com and I will send you a pic. Not very smart about imagery in the Forum site.

 

Email sent!  Thank you

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Just want to say thanks again to everyone for the help and input!  I basically decided to purchase a good (good for my budget and current setups lol) bass setup, and I'll probably just throw some bucktails on it while I'm up north.

 

Abu Garcia Veritas 2.0 7'6" MH Fast

Abu Garcia Revo SX 7.1:1

 

For comparison my first/current baitcasting setup is a Black Max/Cabelas combo, so this should be quite an upgrade for me :) 

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I don't own a single "muskie" lure, but catch my share on larger bass lures and things from my surf bag. Large bombers, dannys, and bucktails with 8" twister tails never seem to fail to get interest. I just tape over where it says "designed for striped bass" on the lures. Same thing for rods, most of my salt water inshore rods make good muskie rods.

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13 hours ago, blakebrown71 said:

Just want to say thanks again to everyone for the help and input!  I basically decided to purchase a good (good for my budget and current setups lol) bass setup, and I'll probably just throw some bucktails on it while I'm up north.

 

Abu Garcia Veritas 2.0 7'6" MH Fast

Abu Garcia Revo SX 7.1:1

 

For comparison my first/current baitcasting setup is a Black Max/Cabelas combo, so this should be quite an upgrade for me :) 

That'll work just fine.

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On 6/21/2017 at 9:09 AM, blakebrown71 said:

Just want to say thanks again to everyone for the help and input!  I basically decided to purchase a good (good for my budget and current setups lol) bass setup, and I'll probably just throw some bucktails on it while I'm up north.

 

Abu Garcia Veritas 2.0 7'6" MH Fast

Abu Garcia Revo SX 7.1:1

 

For comparison my first/current baitcasting setup is a Black Max/Cabelas combo, so this should be quite an upgrade for me :) 

 

That'll do nicely, but should you get a heavy rod, the faster gear ratio of the Revo SX will make it good for pitching too, when you want to retrieve your bait quickly and recast again, but isn't too fast for most other techniques either.  That's the only reason I mention the heavy rod option.

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On 6/23/2017 at 4:58 PM, Boomstick said:

 

That'll do nicely, but should you get a heavy rod, the faster gear ratio of the Revo SX will make it good for pitching too, when you want to retrieve your bait quickly and recast again, but isn't too fast for most other techniques either.  That's the only reason I mention the heavy rod option.

I appreciate the suggestions! I was originally thinking about getting a heavy rod, but after researching the Veritas 2.0 quite a bit it sounds like they run pretty stiff.  I decided to go with the medium heavy in hopes that it has more backbone than typical medium heavys like most people seem to say they do.  I just didn't want to get a $100 broomstick as my most expensive rod to date haha, hopefully it works out fine

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