In what is quickly becoming a Roseberg family tradition our Fourth of July weekend was filled with friends, family, fireworks and Esox!?
What started out 3 years ago with the unexpected hooking of a large fish (assumed to be a musky) when I threw out a Rapala Shad Rap during the annual 4th of July lake parade has developed into an absolutely awesome pattern combining my two favorite things… Fishing and Family.
This report is marks the 3rd installment of my quest learning to turn our family pontoon into an Esox catching machine. But why a pontoon you might ask? Because kids love pontoons… But rather than telling you about my kids again, here are quick links to my previous reports that will fill in the details of how we got here.
This year I really started to put more of the pieces of the puzzle together and combined with perfect, stabile weather conditions experienced a 5 day stretch of almost unbelievable pike and musky fishing. Hopefully my experiences can help others out there who may also be looking for new ways to get out fishing with their family or are perhaps intimidated about getting into large pike and musky fishing.
The first thing you will need is relatively heavy rod and reel combo; however, done right you can get by without purchasing a whole new set-up. I simply started out running the same rods that I use for open basin trolling walleyes. I finally admitted I might be getting the musky bug and picked up a new Okuma SCT rod paired with a Komodo SS reel (And wow is it a sweet combination!), but when others came out with me we still caught several fish on the walleye gear.
Our main tactic remained the same as we were open basin trolling suspended fish over open water at 3.5-4.5 mph, but with a little fine-tuning of our locations, lure selection, and only fishing during prime feeding periods we were able to put multiple fish in the boat.
On the business end of our setup we were almost exclusively using Rapala Super Shad Raps. I cannot recommend this lure highly enough for trolling as in spite of starting out with multiple types of lures at the beginning of each weekend this lure has resulted in every single musky that I’ve purposely caught. After the first couple trips of only this lure getting hit I finally just gave in and started running nothing but Super Shad Raps and it seems to have worked.
Location wise, our focus was on staying 100-200 yds off the edge of traditional structure such as out from points and running right down the middle of small bays.
The coolest thing about this pattern is that it is the perfect approach to provide success with big fish for young kids and less serious anglers. And as much fun as I have catching fish any time I’m on the water there is something so much more rewarding about sharing it with friends and family!
Tight lines and see you on the water!