Product Review:  Huskie Muskie Leaders

Product Review: Huskie Muskie Leaders

Date: 11/1/16
Product type: Leaders
Manufacturer: Huskie Musky Leaders
Reviewer: Alex Meletis

Huskie Muskie Leaders is wholly owned by Bill Fuller, and is located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

As a member of Muskies Canada, Bill is a firm believer of catch and release.  The way we handle muskies and the equipment we use are important in ensuring live releases.  As a result, He had come to realize that good strong leaders are as essential as a good landing net and the proper tools for releasing a fish once caught.  We pay good money for our lures and do not leave them on an underwater obstruction, or heaven forbid in the mouth of a Muskie, because the weak link was a leader.

About ten years ago He was unable to find any quality leaders in the Ottawa area.  As a result He began researching and experimenting with different materials and leader building methods.  Most of the really good information He found was on various salt water sites, written by those who were fishing for game much larger than muskies  His general conclusion was, that if these materials and building methods could stand up to battles with some of the largest fish to be found in the sea, they would stand up to the rigors of fighting and landing muskies.

Bill started with trolling leaders using hard mono but after He discovered the ANDE fluorocarbon, He never went back.  He learned that crimping, done properly, was every bit as strong as knots if not stronger, but more importantly, it would provide strong loops more consistently than knots, especially with this thickness of fluorocarbon material.  He also learned the importance of loop protectors and how they really reduce the strain on loops.  From there He expanded his building to  single strand stainless steel.  Over a period of several years, of building, testing, giving leaders away to friends for second opinions and receiving lots of good advice in return, some of them convinced him to make them available commercially.

The methods and materials that go into Huskie Muskie Leaders are not unique.  They have been adapted from a variety of sources and in turn my designs have been copied by others.

Bill and Exist to Fish Canada believe is that Huskie Muskie Leaders have incorporated the best of materials with a melding of the best methodologies to produce the most Muskie friendly leaders on the market today.  We invite you to visit or contact one of his dealers to see for yourself  to see how good they really are.

 

Image result for huskie muskie leaders

 

Whenever you get two or more Muskie addicts together, you will get two or more opinions about anything to do with our sport.  The use of leaders is no exception.  We have knots vs crimps, stainless steel vs titanium, snaps vs split rings and on and on and on.  The intent of this page is to provide a basic primer on leaders, their use, and the materials used to make them.  The contents are based on extensive research, the experience of those who have been using Huskie Muskie Leaders for a number of years now.

First of all, is there one leader that will do it all?  Not really.  That said, some people do get away with it and for those that are using only one or two rod and reel combinations, it simply isn’t convenient to be constantly changing leaders and compromises need to be reached.  For example, the Huskie Muskie  fluorocarbon casting leader can be use for jerkbaits but is not as good as a single strand stainless steel leader. Where possible, and if your equipment allows, application specific leaders should be used to get the most out of your lures.

Why Leaders?

There are several reasons we use leaders.  Perhaps the major reason is to prevent line from being cut by a Muskie’s teeth or by underwater obstructions such as rocks.  Although the tensile strength of modern fishing line may be as high as the leader material we are be using, it is not very abrasion resistant and under strain can easily be cut by an edge that is even moderately sharp.  Therefore we need something between the line and the lure where all the abuse is going to be absorbed.  Leaders are made of materials that are much more abrasion resistant than line and will stand up to more contact with sharp objects.

The second reason for using leaders is to present the lure in the most natural way possible.  This is especially true with the use of fluorocarbon leaders.  The refraction index of fluorocarbon is virtually the same as water making it almost invisible under water.  Therefore it separates the lure from line and makes it appear to be swimming free.  The clearer the water, the more important this factor is.

The third reason is specific to the use of guide type jerk baits and walk-the-dog type top-waters.  In this application the leader pushes the line away from the bait to prevent fouling.  The resistance of the leader through the water will also tend to make it move in the opposite direction of the movement of the lure so that on the next jerk, the lure will move back across in its zig-zag path back to the boat.  Although this is possible with a more flexible leader, the stiff single strand leader will exaggerate the action.

The last, and one of the most important reasons, deals primarily with trolling.  Shortly after a muskie strikes and before the rod is out of the holder, muskies in their initial effort to free themselves, will often roll in the line.  If you are using one of the newer spectra fibre braided lines, wire line or even a long wire leader, this rolling action can cause serious cuts to the body of the Muskie.  To prevent this from happening, a thicker, softer, high tensile strength hard monofilament or fluorocarbon leader should be used.  For this reason, my fluorocarbon leaders are constructed with a heavier 150 pound strength and corresponding thickness.

 

If you are just starting out or have been fishing for muskies and Northern Pike as well as taking a trip down south or live on oceanic waters where leaders are mandatory for the fish you are pursuing I highly recommend Huskie Musky Leaders. For years there is always one discussion that arises when talking to fellow anglers and that is choices in leaders and what do you use.

 

 

 

Huskie Musky Leaders
Type Muskie/Pike leaders
Length varies
Material Fluorocarbon and steel
Origin Ottawa, Ontario
MSRP

 

Huskie Muskie stainless steel jerk bait leaders are constructed of Malin stainless wire, an industry leader.  The leader material is purchased directly from the factory, precut, unlike many other brands where the material is purchased in coils and then subjected to addition weakening stresses in the process of trying to straighten it out.

the new glide bait leader, which is essentially the jerk bait leader with out the swivel and snap.  We still use the same wire and shrink wrap the wraps to reduce weed fouling.  To use the glide bait leader, tie the line directly to end of the leader and attach the lure using a split ring.  For safety, do not use the same split ring for all of your glide baits.  The attaching and removal processes will weaken the split ring.  Instead, attach a separate split ring to each lure.

These leaders feature 180 lb Single Strand Malin Stainless Steel Wire, #5 Stringease Stay-lok Snap, and 143 lb ball bearing swivel.

Jerk-Bait

 

We also take the time to shrink wrap the wire wraps to reduce weed fouling.   The snap is also shrink wrapped to ensure alignment of the snap and leader which is essential for the proper side to side action of glide type jerk baits walk the dog top waters.

Shrinked-Wrapped Shrink-Wrapped-Jerk

 

Huskie Musky Leaders is a local to Ontario Company based in the Ottawa area that focuses solely on making leaders. Meticulously hand assembled and crimped using the highest grade components, these leaders are at the top of the industry and come highly recommended. Heading to Pro Tackle here in Belleville Ontario, in search for my first Muskie set up years ago I discovered Huskie Muskie Leaders which were highly recommend by store owner and avid Muskie fisherman and guide Stacy Ash. After experiencing multiple attacks and seeing the durability of Bill Fuller’s Huskie Musky Leaders I have never looked back.

 

Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 4 9 10

 

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Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon Leaders

All of Huskie Muskies fluorocarbon leaders are made from 150 lb ANDE Fluorocarbon Leader Material.  Although not well branded as a freshwater line, ANDE is well known in the saltwater community, has always stood up under every conceivable fishing condition and situation and holds over 1,300 IGFA World Records. Many of these records represent outstanding catches throughout the history of IGFA. All Fluorocarbons are not equal. ANDE is 100% Fluorocarbon with all the properties you expect from Fluorocarbon Leader material, strong abrasion resistance, low stretch, doesn’t absorb water, sinks quickly and is totally invisible under water.

Fluorocarbon leaders are constructed to provide a loop which is the strongest in the industry.  For this thickness of fluorocarbon, experience has shown that crimps provide the strongest connection.   Single crimps are used on the casting leaders and doubles on the trolling leaders.  We start by melting the end of the fluorocarbon to form a ball which in itself makes it nearly impossible to pull the leader end though the crimp even before the crimp is squeezed.  A plastic coated steel spring loop protector is used to prevent the snap or swivel from chaffing against the fluorocarbon in the loop, thereby greatly increasing the life of the leader.  Concern has been expressed by some that the colored loop protector might turn off a Muskie but this has certainly not been a problem, if anything the loop protectors mimic the small bait fish that are being chased by a larger fish represented by the lure.

Another area of concern that needs to be dispelled is the use of crimps.  No doubt you have all heard various Muskie enthusiasts say “I don’t trust crimps”.  They have all probably had an experience with a poorly crimped leader or more commonly, used a leader that was too thin for crimping and where a knot would be superior.  Personally, I would not use a crimp on any fluorocarbon material under 130 pound test.  Huskie Muskie leaders are all made with 150 pound test and the crimps provide a superior connection than a knot.  Crimped leaders are the leaders of choice for salt water applications for fish species that are quite a bit bigger and fight harder than muskies.  Enough said.

Crimped-End2

Unweighted Trolling Leaders

Unweighted Trolling Leaders come in two lengths, the standard 3 foot and the 6 foot St Lawrence Special.  Both feature the Ande Fluorocarbon Material, #6 Stringease Stay-lok Snap, 175 lb ball bearing swivel, Coil Spring Loop Protectors and are double crimped for added strength.  Many of our customers report being able to get an entire season from one leader if care is taken to change out the snap when it shows signs of weakness.

Trolling1

Casting Leaders

Casting Leaders combine the strength and durability of the fluorocarbon with enough flexibility to be used for casting bucktails and spinner baits, yet is stiff enough for walking the dog with jerk baits and top waters.  This is the best leader for throwing those heavy Bull Dawgs.  A great dual purpose leader which feature 1 foot of Ande Fluorocarbon Material, #5 Stringease Stay-lok Snap, 143 lb ball bearing swivel, and Coil Spring Loop Protectors.  Recently, some of our dealers have requested lengths of 14 and 18 inches.  Special orders of this nature are never turned down.

 

Having confidence and not worrying about your terminal tackle is one of the key factors in being successful while in pursuit of these toothy critters. Nothing hurts an angler more than losing a fish of a life time due to terminal tackle failing. Huskie Musky leaders come in a variety of selections such as Fluorocarbon and stainless steel in different lengths for different applications.

 

 

Castability(1-5) Ease of Use(1-5) Quality of Action (1-5) Durability (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
9 10 9 10 25 9.5

 

The fluorocarbon material used is 150lb ANDE a salt water grade material that is tough as hell and made to take the abuse of larger teeth barring fish. Husky Musky Leaders cater to their customers by providing a 3ft and 6ft fluorocarbon leader for trolling purposes paired with a 175lb barrel swivel and a heavy duty #6 Stringease Stay Loc snap suitable for all sizes of trolling baits which come in handy during the fall season. The casting version of this leader comes in a 12 inch version and can also be found in the 14-18 inch length if desired and come equipped with a 143lb barrel swivel and #5 Stay Loc snap. The stainless steel jerk bait leaders feature 180lb single strain main stainless steel wire paired with a #5 Stringease stay loc snap and a 143lb ball bearing swivel ideal for your walk the dog surface baits and all other jerk baits.

  Consistency(1-5) Range of sizes (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 10 10 10

 

 

 

 

(Huskie Musky Leaders) Collective Final Rating
Construction/Quality   10
Performance   10
Price   9
Features   10
Design (Ergonomics)   9
Application   10
Total Score  9.75
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = MUST HAVE  

 

These leaders helps enhance the action of your lure and adding confidence to the angler while fishing for toothy critters. As the fall fishing is underway I highly recommend these leaders to all anglers who pursue Muskie, Northern Pike and all fish where a bite guard is needed.

 

Retailers

Huskie Muskie Dealers:

Pro Tackle Muskie Shop:  http://www.protacklemuskyshop.com/
43B Putman Industrial Road, Belleville, Ont
Gerry’s Bait and Tackle – https://www.facebook.com/GerrysBaitNTackle/
3363 Lakefield Road, Lakefield, Ontario
Dixie Tackle Shop  www.dixietackleshop.com
51 St Catharine Street, St Thomas, Ont
Natural Sports – www.naturalsports.com
1572 Victoria St N, Kitchener, Ont
Paddletales Tackle – www.paddletales.com
510 St Lawrence St, Winchester, Ont
Dufferin Outdoor Supply  http://dufferinoutdoorsupply.org/
328 Broadway, Orangeville ON
Temple Bay Lodge  http://www.templebay.com/
302 Temple Road, Eagle River, ON
LOTW Sports Headquarters – https://www.facebook.com/lotwsports/
702 Lakeview Drive, Kenora, Ontario
Bobby’s Sports Shop – https://www.facebook.com/BobbysSportShopLtd/
175 Vermillion Bay,Vermillion Bay, Ontario
Bill’s Bait and Tackle – http://www.billsbaitandtackle.net/
858 Upper James St. Hamilton, Ontario
Fishing World  https://www.fishingworld.ca/
2411 Barton E, Hamilton, Ontario
Northshore Musky Baits – https://www.facebook.com/Northshoremuskybaits/
Webbwood, Ontario
Lambeth Rod and Tackle – 2404 Main. Lambeth, Ont.
2404 Main, Lambeth, ON
Easthill Outdoors  http://easthilloutdoors.com/
4131 Highway 35/115 Orono, Ontario
Angling Sports London  http://www.anglingsports.ca/
681 Highbury Avenue NorthLondon, Ontario
Wing’s Live Bait and Tackle  http://www.wingslivebaitandtackle.ca/
413 Lyndhurst Rd, Lyndhurst, Ontario

 

Exist To Fish Canada Author Alex Meletis

Exist To Fish Canada Author Alex Meletis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Wilson- Lead Writer/Editor

Jamie Wilson- Lead Writer/Editor

Fishing Spinnerbaits Like Deep Diving Crankbaits for Fall Muskies

Fishing Spinnerbaits Like Deep Diving Crankbaits for Fall Muskies

Fall Muskie fishing is my favorite time of the year. Chasing giants in cold water paired with some of the most extreme conditions can be oh so rewarding.

 

That being said the fall season is generally the time to put away the fast action reaction type baits and transition to the big slow moving targets. For most that means big hunks of rubber upwards of 1 lb in weight and 20” in length. Or trolling large crankbaits over deep water. That is after all what tends to produce results this time of year, and that is what the Muskie elders have instructed us to do. I too have fallen into this mindset during the cold water period, but something happened this past weekend that reminded me of a few techniques I have had success with and have changed my perspective.

 

This weekend’s trip started out as most do in the fall. Water temps in the high 40’s and large profile, slow moving baits latched on in hopes of a giant fall Muskie. I found myself fishing with two very old friends, one of which also happens to be a Muskie nut. The other.. Not so much.

 

Not 10 mins into the trip I moved a BIG fish on my Beaver. She was hot in pursuit, gills flaring fins wriggling.. Looking like a taker only to slowly saunter off at the last second as she approached the boat. Not two casts later she did the exact same thing only to hang directly below the boat giving us a really good look at her before she swam back to the depths. My tried and true methods seemed to be attracting the interest one would expect this time of year and as such I stuck with it and was rewarded later on during the trip.

tube-muskie

After moving that fish we decided to give her a rest in hopes that she would eat during our next pass of the area. We moved off and over to a bay adjacent to the deeper water we had been fishing and began working the deep weed line that it offered. My good friend Devin decided to join in the Muskie fun and picked up one of my setups only to latch on an inline bucktail. “I know, I know” he exclaimed. “I’m not going to catch them with this right now, but they are just so much easier to cast”. We all had a good laugh at his honesty, but were happy to see him fishing Muskies alongside us.  Not 5 casts in! A very healthy fish came roaring off the weedline and crushed his bait.   For some reason, unknown to myself, this fish was whiling to chase down and aggressively strike this “summer season” bait.

fullsizerender

I was shocked! And felt a little silly having teased him initially for his bait choice. But as I reflect back to my earlier days of Muskie fishing I can recall catching fish, late in the season, on flashy bucktails and spinnerbaits as well. This was not only an eye opener, but a reminder to myself that we never really have these fish completely figured out. Yes they will regularly eat large slow moving offerings during the fall season. But it is important to impart other techniques, some less conventional, when the fish don’t seem to cooperate.  Bucktails on deep weedlines may just be the difference.

 

This reminded me of another not so typical bait/technique that I have been using of late. During the fall period that is.  A  Spinnerbait!. I know I know! Not really something I should be throwing in the fall!  But as I was reminded earlier, something different can be good! Really good!

 

My spinnerbait of choice is a Tandem Nutbuster. This bait is produced by a company called Llungen Lures. Llungen Lures L.L.C is a family & veteran owned fishing tackle manufacturing and distribution company based out of Southern Illinois. The company is operated by three partners; Chris & Cari Piha along with longtime friend Matt Gunkel. All three play an integral role in the day to operations and distribution of fine Muskie fishing tackle.

img_5824_grande

 

The Tandem Nutbuster is, in my opinion, one of the finest Essox spinnerbaits available on the market today.  Its unique Colorado and Willow tandem system add to diversity of this premium bait. Designed for a multitude of applications, it can be fished at slow, medium, or high speed retrieves. It refuses to “roll out” cast after cast.  From grinding through cabbage, to dragging through rocks, to bumping through timber. I have yet to find another spinnerbait on the market that is as versatile or effective.

 

My approach with this bait during the cold water period is often a slow roll, as one would expect. But something I have really started to have success with involves allowing the bait to settle on bottom, and dragging it with a moderate to fast retrieve along the bottom. Grinding through soft bottom creating a good cloud of silt and activity during the process. Not to mention the noise the bait makes from the thumping blades. I came across this technique rather accidentally. I made a long bomb cast only to blow up my reel (professional overrun). While I pulled the birds nest from my spool the bait fluttered to the bottom. Assuming the cast was dead I began to crank the bait in at a good clip. Dragging through the soft bottom, and deflecting off of rocks when I was greeted by a heavy strike! Initially I thought I had hung the bait up on bottom until the headshakes began. This was a Muskie! And a good one at that! Pattern established!! The commotion and banging around on the bottom combined with the rhythmic thumping of the blades had triggered this fish to strike! Who knew! I was fishing the spinnerbaits in a manner that nobody to my knowledge does. Like a crankbait!  Like a deep diving crankbait. And the fish react to this very very well!img_1297

 

Here is the skinny.. Make your long bomb cast, count the bait down (approx 2’ per second). Once the bait has made contact with the bottom begin your retrieve ensuring that the bait remains in contact with the bottom with the rod tip down pointing towards the water. It will feel like you are dragging it. And in essence you are.  Most of my strikes occur when the bait deflects off of something. A rock, or a piece of timber. Or when I rip it free from a clump of weeds.  This is far from conventional.  But different can be good! Really good!

 

During your next fall outing try fishing your big spinnerbaits along the bottom like you would a deep diving crankbait. The results speak for themselves!

ALL OF THE FISH IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE WERE CAUGHT AND RELEASED IN THE KAWARTHAS NORTHUMBERLAND REGION OF ONTARIO! COME SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Author: Chris Huskilson

Author: Chris Huskilson

The Next Big Thing in Muskie and Pike Fishing

The Next Big Thing in Muskie and Pike Fishing

muskie

Chris Huskilson with a nice opening day Muskie taken on the Beaver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muskie fishing is not for the faint of heart. It is not generally a numbers game and requires A LOT of time on the water to develop the knowledge and grit that it takes to wrangle these monsters with consistency.  This is not something that is easily explained or described.  I can still remember the first Muskie I ever caught! I was 12 years old.  And although the fish was not big, the pure adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment that I experienced during and after the battle changed me forever.  They are such a majestic and unique predator.  Fooling them takes skill. And putting them in the net takes talent.

Ryan Douglas Delahunt with a gorgeous fall monster. pho taken by Aaron Jolicoeur.

Ryan Douglas Delahunt with a gorgeous fall monster taken on a Beaver. photo taken by Aaron Jolicoeur.

Today’s Muskie angler is far better equipped that yester years. The rods, reels, line and tackle options are endless. Not to mention new and productive techniques that have continually bettered our odds of success.  We now handle and release the fish in a much safer manner as well. Respecting the resource through knowledge and in turn these beautiful monsters continue to thrive.

Chris Huskilson

Chris Huskilson

Over the years I have witnessed the development and success of many fantastic fish catching baits. Some of which were more of a novelty item than they were productive.  It pains me to give this one away.. But I have come across a very unique bait that has once again changed my Muskie fishing world. And I am certain that the Muskie community as a whole will feel the same once they see and experience this thing in action.

 

During November 2015 I came across a very unique looking product that at first glance may be brushed off by some as a novelty item. Not something that would really put fish in the boat, but perhaps something that would look good hanging up in the trophy room. Well.. I am here to tell you that this bait is a BIG TIME producer.  The Company is called Beaver’s Baits.  And yes you guessed it. They make a Beaver imitation type lure that drives the Essox crazy!!

 

beavers

 

Beaver’s Baits is a small business situated in Big Lake Minnesota. Owned and operated by a gentleman named Brian Boyum.  Each bait is individually hand crafted by Brian and his team. And as such each is quite unique.

Brian took notice of a trend in the Muskie tackle market. That being most of the available baits resembled fish.. There were NOT many, if any at all, that represented an actual animal. Brian is a firm believer that Muskie and pike, mainly the larger ones, have at one point in their life, eaten muskrats, mink, squirrels ducks or any small animal that enters the water. They are after all opportunistic feeders.

 

beaver-in-mouth2

photo courtesy of Sam Ecker

beaver-in-mouth

Photo courtesy of Sam Ecker

After some contemplation, He thought of a way to recreate the life like appearance of an animal swimming in the water.Once he had the bait completed he had to name it and since his nick name has been Beaver his whole life, he decided to name it after himself and that is how the Baby Beaver was born.

The Baby Beaver is a new unique musky bait that has exploded on the scene catching many muskies in all regions. It is a blend of deer hair, rubber paddle tail, and a solid head with a screw in weight insert option to give you better depth control. The Baby Beaver is 12″ in length and weighs 3.5 oz of pure musky catching attitude. The bait is constructed of plastic with .051 wire molded into each segmented body piece. Each segment is hand tied with deer hair and connected together with split rings. The rubber tail is molded onto the hook and is attached to the bait with a split ring making it replaceable.

sam

Sam Ecker. Owner/Operator of Figure Ate Guide Service with a beautiful Beaver Muskie

 

In my opinion, based on my experiences with the bait, it can and does catch fish at any point during the season. The angler imparts the action to the bait, and it’s buoyancy is controlled by the weight system allowing me to fish it fast, slow, or somewhere in between. It has the same appeal and fishability of a flashy bucktail, a large soft plastic bait, a Muskie fly, and a jerkbait all in one.  I make it do what I need it to do in each given situation as the fish require. It truly is an all in one weapon.

 

 

Ryan Douglas Delahunt with a THICK Beaver Muskie. Photo taken by Aaron Jolicoeur.

Ryan Douglas Delahunt with a THICK Beaver Muskie. Photo taken by Aaron Jolicoeur.

 

 

Here is the kicker for me. Not only can this bait be fished in several different manners from fast to slow and in between, but it is an absolute game changer when it comes to fish commitment in the figure 8. For myself personally that is.  I have never seen anything trigger fish like this bait does.  I have had several instances where a fish was lazily following 8-10’ back of the bait. Low and slow.  Not really interested. But as soon as I start my figure 8 most seem to immediately engaged and eat. The fish really like these things! Don’t tell anyone 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Chris Huskilson

Author: Chris Huskilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL OF THE FISH IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE WERE CAUGHT AND RELEASED IN THE KAWARTHA’S NORTHUMBERLAND REGION OF ONTARIO. COME SEE FOR YOURSELF!!

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