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... read more
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... read more
Top 5 Fall Fishing Destinations in the Kawartha’s Northumberland

Top 5 Fall Fishing Destinations in the Kawartha’s Northumberland

Top 5 Fall Fishing Destinations The angling opportunities available year round are simply astounding. The fall is a special time of year, however, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. With so many fishing destinations with over 350 lakes and rivers to choose from, here are my Top 5 Fall MUST fish locations. Number 5–High Falls Photo Courtesy of Ontario Travel GPS Coordinates: 44.588126, -78.070699 Put your canoe or aluminum boat in Eels Creek off Northeys Bay Road and head north to the High Falls. The scenery is breathtaking and the fishing is top notch as well! Bring your Muskie tackle because this stretch is chalk full of fish! Inline bucktail spinners and 6-8” crank baits imitating the cyprinid forage throughout the river will provide great success for anglers of all levels. Number 4–Lovesick Lake GPS Coordinates: 44.555582, -78.203433 This little hideaway is tucked between Lower Buckhorn Lake and Stoney Lake. The beautiful rocky forested shorelines to please the victors eye. An often overlooked stretch of the Trent-Severn Waterway that is absolutely loaded with Bass, Muskie, Walleye, Crappie and several other panfish species. Bring your arsenal because this little beauty has trophy fish in all of the above mentioned species. Put your boat in at the launch directly across from the Burleigh Falls Inn and joy the beautiful scenery this lake has to offer while catching your next Kawartha Legend. Number 3–Burnt River GPS Coordinates: 44.776225,-78.6844606 Launch your boat in Kinmount and make your way up the river. If you have a small boat or canoe, walk it down below the dam in Kinmount and make your way down stream. Be prepared to portage a few narrow sections... read more
Big Tubes For Big Muskies!!

Big Tubes For Big Muskies!!

I have been targeting Muskies for as long as I can remember. During the early years my typical approach was not much different from many other anglers today. I placed a great deal of emphasis on speed and flash to catch the majority of my fish. Bucktails,spinnerbaits and hard jerk baits. Very common in our Muskie tackle world, and they undoubtedly produce results on a regular basis. What else do you need, right? I am a born and raised Kawartha’s Northumberland region native. I target just about everything that swims in this area, and in doing so, I have come across a few techniques and baits that were not intended to be used for certain species, but are extremely effective in catching them. I love to catch Smallmouth Bass. They are, in my opinion one of the most powerful freshwater fish on the planet. While targeting Smallies, I spend a good portion of my time dragging baits on the bottom. In a lot of instances the bait of choice is a tube. While a Tube has been a very effective bait for many of us while targeting Smallmouth, I catch an alarming amount of Muskies fishing them in this manner as well! So many, that it became quite clear to me that this was an approach that was not only unique, in that most were not catching Muskies this way, but extremely effective in producing numbers and quality fish! During this period there were really no options on the market that offered a Muskie sized version of my bass tubes. Or at least I was unable to locate any... read more
Late Autumn to Ice‐Up Fishing

Late Autumn to Ice‐Up Fishing

Late Autumn to Ice‐Up Fishing Fall fishing in the Kawartha’s Northumberland Region is one of my favorite times of the season. Not only is the fishing spectacular, but the sheer beauty and fall colors have made their appearance in full. The leaves have turned and begun to fall. The nights are cooler, the air is crisp and the fish are feeding up in preparation for winter. For myself personally, this is the time to focus my efforts on trophy Muskies and Smallmouth Bass. These two species are without question my favorite target from mid-September right through to ice up. Why you might ask? Well the answer is this. Not only are they aggressively feeding during this time, but they are much more likely to be susceptible to simple angling techniques in areas that are much more obvious and easier to access. I keep my techniques very simple during this time and the results are always very good. When targeting Smallmouth Bass from late September through November my approach is simple. During this period the fish within the region tend to school up on shallow rocky points extending out from the shoreline. Points close to deep water. Fall equals BIG smallies. Fish at this time of year feed heavily on crayfish and minnows in preparation for the cold winter months. I always start my search right on the bank in as little as a foot of water. Early morning “walk the dog” style topwater baits are a great option. I will fish them very slowly and in a color pattern resembling the local forage. In most cases white will do... read more
Fall Fishing in the Kawartha’s

Fall Fishing in the Kawartha’s

August and September can be one of the best times of the year to catch BIG fish in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region.  As we reach the end of August and the days start to shorten. The nights a little cooler and the leaves begin to change so does the trigger for our native fish species to feed! And feed a lot!  Not only is everything seemingly hungry, but locations and patterns start to change as well. As the days shorten and temperatures reduce the aquatic vegetation follows suit and will start to deteriorate to the point where the fish will no longer use it as cover. Largemouth bass in the region will now start to seek out what healthy green weeds remain. In most instances Milfoil is preferred. It provides a higher oxygen content creating a place for the panfish to hide which in turn attracts the Bass. Its root system holds the bottom in place, which holds phosphorus in place as well. It will also improve water clarity making it easier for the bass to ambush. The shallow water vegetation is the first to go and in most cases the healthy green weeds will be in deeper more stable water temperatures.  8-10′ is a depth I like to target when seeking out healthy vegetation that may hold Largemouth this time of year and the presence of bluegill and other panfish are a sure bet that you are in the right area.  Once you find them they will be there in high numbers! Shallow water can still be a very productive option this time of year as well. Overhead cover... read more
Product Review: Muskie Metal Lures Flexible Bucktail

Product Review: Muskie Metal Lures Flexible Bucktail

Date: 7/20/2016 Product type: Flexible inline spinner Manufacturer: Muskie Metal Lures Reviewer: Exist To Fish         Introduction: Muskie metal lures are a very unique product tin a saturated buck tail market. This is a bucktail that flexes! Built around stainless steel wire instead of a solid heavy gauge wire.     (Flexible Double 10) Specifications Type Flexible inline spinner Length 10.5 “ Weight 3.1 oz Material Stainless steel flexible wire Hooks 7/0 brass treble Colors Many combinations available Origin USA MSRP 24.99 USD     Quality/Construction: This is a product that will stand up year after year. double #10 Colorado blades, Double Magnum Flashabou skirts that have been cemented onto the body and triple cable tied with military grade ties, brass weights and solid metal beads, Wolverine triple split rings and a single Mustad 7/0 treble hook.  All lures are built using a stainless steel flexible wire to make this one of the most durable bucktails on the market today. Quality Ratings for (Flexible Double 10) Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest ) 4 4 5 4 17 20 8.5     Performance: The blades pop instantly! No stall in the figure 8 and the bait never requires retuning. It simply returns to its original shape fish after fish. Performance Ratings (Flexible Double 10) Castability(1-5) Ease of Use(1-5) Quality of Action (1-5) Position at Rest (1-5) Durability (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest ) 5 5 5 5 5 25 25 10   Features/Design: Flexible allows for fewer tangles during casts. No concerns about the bait bending after a fish is caught. The flexible wire allows the... read more
Product Review: Beaver’s Baits Regular Baby Beaver

Product Review: Beaver’s Baits Regular Baby Beaver

Date: 6/15/2016 Product type: Beaver Imitation Manufacturer: Beaver’s Baits Reviewer: Exist To Fish         Introduction: Ok folks.. At first glance this may seem like a novelty bait. But we are here to tell you that these are absolute BIG MUSKIE MAGNETS!   Each bait is hand crafted to absolute perfection. Not only are you getting a one of a kind bait but a product that will last and catch a lot of fish     (Regular Baby Beaver) Specifications Type Baby Beaver Imitation (muskies) Length 12” Weight 6oz Material Rubber and Hair Hooks 8/0 Mustad Treble Colors 5 Standard (custom colors available) Origin USA MSRP $44.99 USD     Quality/Construction: The Baby beaver comes in two sizes, The Baby Beaver is 12″ long and weighs 3.5 ounces (dry weight) and uses 6/0 hooks.  The Baby Beaver XL is 14.5″ long and weighs 6 ounces (dry weight) and uses 8/0 hooks. Both sizes are available in 5 standard color patterns.  The Baby Beaver is constructed of plastic with .051 wire molded into each body piece. Each body piece 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. The blade attachment (sold separately) clips onto the front eyelet of the bait, turning the Baby Beaver into a buck tail with a little attitude…it can be easily removed to go back to the natural swimming action of the Bait. Also available separately, are replacement rubber tails. At some point a little more detail in the head and... read more
2016 Kawarthas Northumberland Muskie Opener

2016 Kawarthas Northumberland Muskie Opener

2016 Kawarthas Northumberland Muskie Opener: Originally Posted here by our friends at Kawartha’s Northumberland The second Saturday in June just can’t arrive soon enough for me! This is the kick off to the much anticipated Muskie season here in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region of Ontario. Each season starts off differently depending on the spring weather conditions leading in to the weekend. Our spring in 2016 has been a relatively cool one and as such the water temperate has remained in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (not quite 20° Celsius). Water levels started out quite high but tapered down considerably to the point where we are experiencing mid-summer levels by early June. The week leading in to the opener yielded stable warm weather which in turn dramatically increased water temperature in a short period of time. Not something I was hoping to have occur but at least the weather was stable. I knew going into the weekend that I would be facing some less than ideal conditions. Bluebird skies and little to no wind always equates to difficult Muskie fishing for me. I decided to mix things up this year and kick the season off on a Lake in the Havelock area. This is water that I have not fished in many years. I was confident, however, that it would be a good place to start, in an effort to gauge the mood of the fish this year. We arrived at the launch at 6:00 A.M. and were raring to go! Our first stop yielded a spirited follow from a 36-inch fish. Showing great interest in my bait but quickly changing direction... read more
Product Review: Magnum Pro Bulldawg

Product Review: Magnum Pro Bulldawg

Date: 12/11/2015 Product type: Magnum Pro Bulldawg Manufacturer: Musky Innovations Reviewer: Alex Meletis         Introduction: The Pro Dawg-Mag Dawg is always a top favorite for me when targeting Muskie and Northern Pike. Diversified bait that can be toiled or cast, this bait has a past history of nothing short of successful catches when targeting essox. Presentation is everything with this lure type. Because of its body style and balanced weight the bait is able to stay up right when paused allowing for a window of opportunity for predator type fish. This bait comes in numerous colors and can be used by anglers at all levels of experience paired with the proper gear, making the Bull Dawg so successful.     Magnum Pro Bulldawg Specifications Type Magnum Pro Bulldawg Length 12” Weight 8oz Material Soft plasic Hooks Mustad Colors Blk/Orange Origin Cleveland,WI MSRP  24.99 USD     Quality/Construction: It’s over all construction and quality is over all good. If I could change any quality aspect of this bait it would be the durability of the rubber and hook quality. Because Muskies and Pike have razor sharp teeth and these baits are of a soft plastic construction it does not take many fish to destroy them. Although the action of the bait remains the same with some altering of the wire harness and patch work with soft plastic glue, the overall density of the plastic could be better. For hooks I usually swap out the Mustad’s for VMC or Gorilla 4X. I have had Mustad’s snap multiple times or bend resulting in loss of fish.   Quality Ratings... read more
Exist To Fish Christmas Wish List

Exist To Fish Christmas Wish List

Well it’s that time of the year again.  The boats are put away for the winter as the ice starts to form. With Christmas around the corner, many of us are starting to think about  what we would like for Christmas or are looking for gift ideas for friends or family. If you are anything  like the Exist To Fish Staff, you probably lost a few baits this year. We are all excited about new and existing fishing product’s that we have not had an opportunity to purchase or test out. They just were not in your budget at the time or perhaps you are thinking about trying a new lure this winter or in 2016!! I asked the Staff at Exist to Fish what they where going to ask Santa for this year. Here are the top picks on their wish list! Dean Schenk  : “On my Xmas wish list would be a pair of Smith Backdrop sunglasses to protect my eyes when on the water and ice”.  Product Features: A perfect medium-sized complement to the Touchstone, the Backdrop incorporates the same great features like stainless steel spring hinges and megol contact surfaces at the nose and temple tips. ChromaPop™ polarized lenses provide the highest level of enhanced color and clarity, or choose Techlite glass lenses for unparalleled optics and scratch resistance. “Also a tube of liquid mayhem walleye attractant in my stocking as I use it on the hard water all winter”. ​Product Features: Made with real minnows in a super concentrated form. Contains natural baitfish enzymes infused with powerful amino acids and other bite stimulants formulated to target a fishes olfactory glands and trigger big strikes. Fish hold on to artificial bait longer meaning more... read more
Product Review: River Run Tackle Original Manta

Product Review: River Run Tackle Original Manta

Date: 12/4/2015 Product type: Jerk bait (Manta) Manufacturer: River Run Tackle Reviewer: Alex Meletis         Introduction: One of the best glide bait action jerk baits I have used. With its symmetrically side to side action all big essox cannot resist the Manta. Its profile and plastic bill like tail allows the bait to preform like an injured bait fish subsurface. The realistic patterns available through River Run Tackle are no basement paint job. Adding the realistic patterns and action of the Manta I would highly recommend this bait to all essox anglers. When casted you can straight retrieve this bait giving it a swim side to side action or a jerk pause retrieve giving a more injured fish profile. Well-constructed, these baits do not give up and will endure tons of action.   (The Original Manta) Specifications Type Jerk bait-manta Length 8” Weight 3.5oz Material Wood Hooks Mustad Colors Lac Seul Perch Origin  USA MSRP  21.99 USD     Quality/Construction: Overall quality of the Manta is good. Well-constructed to take on any fish that dares to chew it, these baits last. The only thing I would change is a wire through construction of its eyelets rather than screw eyes. I also up grade my hooks to VMC or Gorilla 4X because I find Mustad’s tend to snap and bend. Quality Ratings for (The Original Manta) Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest ) 5 5 4 5 19 20 7     Performance: The performance of the River Run Manta is excellent. Because it’s well design the bait stays up right when paused in... read more
Late Fall Musky Hunt

Late Fall Musky Hunt

Late Fall Musky Hunt Alright, there’s good news and bad news. I’ll give you the bad news first. The open water musky season is in its final stage. The good news is that you have an epic few weeks left to get it done, provided you are fishing in lakes and rivers in and around say, southern Ontario and other near north spots free of ice. A lot of anglers have thrown in the towel by now and I ask why? This has been an unseasonably warm fall and looks to remain that way. If your favorite lakes start to freeze up, find some faster flowing rivers that will ultimately stay unfrozen much longer. A good example of this would be the Trent Severn waterway which has open dams creating current in river sections that bottle-neck between lakes. This current will be your friend in many ways, one of which is open water right into mid-December. Of course, the Great Lakes are a good option as they do not tend to freeze up, so launch your boat into the famous Lake St.Clair and get after it. Let’s take look at the where, why’s and how’s when searching out productive areas for musky and how to get them to attack. Both Aaron Jolicoeur and Chris Huskilson lean on flowing tributaries in the Kawartha region of Ontario when on the hunt for hungry late fall musky and they are definitely dialed into what makes these toothy predators tic. Aaron explains “Don’t abandon aquatic vegetation/weeds that are brown and appear to be dead or dying as these weeds will continue to hold... read more
Product Review : Musky Innovations Shallow Invader

Product Review : Musky Innovations Shallow Invader

Date: 10/23/2015 Product type: Shallow Invader Manufacturer: Musky Innovations Reviewer: Alex Meletis     https://www.muskyinnovations.com/     Introduction: When I am guiding for Northern Pike in North Western Ontario or back in my home waters in southern Ontario chasing Muskies I have one rule, there is no way I’m leaving my cabin or house without a Musky Innovations Shallow Invader and big brother the 13 inch Magnum Shallow Invader in my arsenal. The hard plastic body and soft plastic tail design paired with the UV Reflex creates a realistic look and swimming action that is unmatched. I have been chasing Essox for many years and have yet to come across a bait that out fishes the Shallow Invader. Not only do they catch fish after fish but the quality is fantastic. The best part is once the tail has been completely destroyed and is past repairing, Musky innovations sales replacement tails. Trolling or casting the Shallow Invader produced results in all conditions. With an assortment of colors available including custom colors, UV colors and regular colors there shortage of finding a color or colors that will be superior on the system you are fishing. Truly a must have lure in your tackle box.       (insert Product name) Specifications Type Shallow Invader Length 9” Weight 2oz Material Soft plasic tail hard body Hooks Mustad 3/0 Wide Gap Colors UV White Fish Origin Cleveland,WI MSRP  18.99 USD     Quality Ratings for (Shallow Invader) Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest ) 5 5 4 5 19 20 9   Performance: The performance of the Musky Innovations... read more
BATTLE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS: GREAT LAKES STRAIN VS KAWARTHA STRAIN MUSKIE

BATTLE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS: GREAT LAKES STRAIN VS KAWARTHA STRAIN MUSKIE

They are at the top of the freshwater food chain. They are the heavyweight champions among freshwater gamefish in the northern states, and southern to northern Ontario. A Musky is a Musky right? Well, sort of. Let’s compare the obvious and not so obvious differences between Musky that reside in the famous Lake St. Clair and their counterparts in the diverse area of the Kawartha Lakes region in southern Ontario.   First off, the two main strains of Musky are the Lacustine (Kawarthas) and the Riverine (Great Lakes). Riverine Musky are located in the Great Lakes system that support forage such as Shad. These Musky are typically longer and fatter due to a much more abundant food source.  Basically, they eat larger meals more often which allows for their larger structure. The Lacustine (Kawartha) Musky are usually supported by stocking and do not have forage in the same magnitude as the Riverine (Great Lakes) Musky. They do not gorge themselves on Shad and as a result, have much slower growth rates and slimmer profiles than their Riverine counterparts and will rarely surpass a length of 55 inches.   Another major difference between these two strains is spawning periods and habitat. Riverine Musky will spawn later, on gravel, as opposed to spawning earlier on aquatic vegetation/weeds as is the case with Kawartha Musky. These are the determining factors that contribute directly to the Kawartha Musky’s fragility, as they are sharing prime spawning grounds alongside invasive Pike. What this means is, Lacustrine Musky fry will get devoured by Pike fry thus leading to the potential downfall of Musky in the Kawarthas. However, some... read more
MUSKY: CATCH AND RELEASE, TACTICS INCLUDED

MUSKY: CATCH AND RELEASE, TACTICS INCLUDED

  The ability of our future generations to enjoy Musky fishing is successful catch and release techniques today. The quality of our fisheries will depend on how anglers handle and release their fish.” –Chris Huskilson         As Musky fishing has evolved, so have the handling procedures of these fish. When fishing for Musky it is imperative that heavy action, Musky specific rods, reels, line, high quality snaps, swivels, split rings and leaders are used to quickly land these fish without unnecessary stress. This will also minimize the chances of a fish breaking off and swimming away with the bait in its mouth, or worst case scenario, its thorax or gills. A large net or cradle, long nose pliers, hook cutters, jaw-spreaders, cameras and measuring tape/board should be on deck at all times for easy access and less handling time, especially in the warm water throughout the summer months.   Preparation is key in reducing the amount of time a Musky is in your possession. Always minimize the time spent out of water. If possible, remove/cut hooks and measure the fish while still in the water, which can only be achieved with the use of a large net or cradle. In fact, most cradles have a measuring tape built right in. Chris explains “Never lift a Musky vertically by its gill plate, as this will cause severe injury to the fish, especially if it is 34” or longer. When holding a Musky for a photo or any other reason, hold it horizontally making sure to support the fish’s body”. Chris Huskilson (Photo: Aaron Jolicoeur)   Revival Always revive... read more
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