Outdoors

Well, now that I have your attention, there a few different lures that have been sold as the perfect lure.

For fresh water species, there is only one lure that has been proven over years that will catch fish – the spinner or bucktail.

The spinner has been called bucktail over the years. I am not sure why. Maybe it’s because folks thought that the hair on the bait came from deer. Earlier variations did use deer hair. Today, some of the most popular use squirrel tail.

There are many different variations of the bucktail or spinner. Most consider a bucktail as any lure that uses hair as a ”skirt.”

Any angler worth his weight in tackle has in his arsenal of tackle some type of bucktail-style lure. Whether it’s a Mepps spinner or another manufacturer, these often times small spinners/bucktails have been and will be the cornerstone of any tackle box.

As a young angler, I would cast these tidy spinners for anything from trout to blue gill to smallmouth bass with great success. Now I’m not sure why these baits worked. It may be the reaction to the blade or the color of the haired skirts, but they always seem to fill the creel.

Most of today’s baits in some form or another take their design from these basic spinners. While it may be spinner bait or top-water buzz bait for bass or a worm harness for walleye, the basic design is spinners.

For those of us who have moved to bigger and harder-to-catch fish like muskies, we have discovered, and for some others of us rediscovered, the magic of spinners muskie style. Like everything to do with muskie fishing, bigger is always better.

Today’s muskie spinners are a monster version of their small cousin. While there are a bunch of different companies making muskie spinners (I have thrown just about all of them) I still go back to Mepps.

Mepps muskie spinners, or as they are called by muskie anglers – bucktails, are custom made and hand tied with color-dyed deer tail. Depending on your choice – the oversize blade and stacked 4/0 short shank treble hooks – these bucktails are just what the muskie doctor has ordered.

I rediscovered the bucktail for muskie several years ago and I am happy I did. Over the years I have learned from some of the best muskie anglers the proper way to work a bucktail to catch toothie critters.

Starting with the rod, I prefer a bait casting 7-foot Shimano Compre rod and a Calcutta reel. For line, I have found that Proline 65-pound test braid with a shorter 6-foot rod and 50-pound test mono leader works best.

Bucktails can be worked around just about any structure. Buzzing them across weedbeds, bouncing them over rocks and around shoreline structures, or just open-water fan casting will rise a muskie.

From what I have discovered, bucktails produce best when the water temperatures reaches the magic 70-degree mark. For whatever reason, bucktails seem to produce better in warmer water, but this spring we have been producing bass and jack perch with bucktails.

Working a bucktail can be as easy as casting the bait out and retrieving it back. I prefer to mix up our retrieve. This past week fish were biting best when the tops of weeds were 2 to 3 feet from the surface. By keeping the bait running just on top of the weeds it has been producing some great bass strikes.

If you’re looking to get back to the basics of muskie fishing, pick up a couple bucktails and rediscover the excitement of catching more muskies.