Fall Esox Assault

Shawn McLaughlin is a 31 year old angler, hailing from Windsor Ontario. He has been Muskie fishing for over 8 years and guided two seasons on Eagle Lake Ontario for Muskie and also in Manitoba for Walleye and Big Pike! He’s a multi specie angler fishing for Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Trout, Crappie, Muskie, Pike and Salmon. He has it’s own unique view of what’s going on down below when it comes down to Muskie fishing in the fall, and was willing to share his experiences with us!

As the temperature drops and the leaves start to change, this marks a time for Giants which every Esox angler awaits patiently in anticipation. As the cooler temperatures become the norm, hoards of baitfish school towards the shorelines and close behind are the toothy predators…

Casting or trolling? This is the debate amongst most anglers and each have their own advantages. Trolling can be a very effective way to probe the depths and cover large amounts of water. It can also allow you the ability to work different areas of the water column at the same time, with mutiple rods and lures that run at different depths. This can give you the freedom to try various presentations at the same time through the process of elimination to come onto a pattern that produces results. The use of planer boards gives anglers a wider spread and allows them to go and cover a larger area, not to mention gaining the attention of fish that could be spooked away from the sound of the outboard or just out of reach from the area behind the boat. Trolling speeds vary but the key is usually to slow down. Speeds of about 2 – 5 mph depending on water temperatures are usually the ticket at this time of year. Baits like Jakes, Nils Masters, Woodies, Ziggles and Headlocks all work exceptionally! Some anglers just love the sound of a peeling drag, while others like myself are suckers for the feel of that sudden thump and setting the hook on a tanker…

In search of what may come…

Casting can be extremely exhausting but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There’s something about being directly connected to that lure and feeling the ferocity of some of the most bone jarring strikes, that unless you have experienced it for yourself it’s hard to explain. In fall I use a variety of baits but around 80% of the time it’s some sort of soft plastic. Musky Innovations Bulldawgs, Bondy Baits and Waterwolf Shadzilla’s usually account for most of my fish. Trying a variation of different colours, sizes and retreives is the way I primarily target fall fish. When casting I would say that the figure 8 is about 50% of your cast… Whether it’s an eight or an oval or some variation of the two, you must always pay attention close behind your bait! Most strikes can occur at the last second and happen often when you go and take the bait out of the water.

In a nutshell, Muskie fishing at this time of year is addictive no matter whether you decide to cast or troll. The thug is the drug and Muskie fever is a real thing! So as I leave you to dream about tangling with these freshwater sharks, I leave you with one piece of advice… Cast untill you can’t cast no more, and troll untill you run out of gas, because the key to catching is persistence and you never know when that next strike will be that fish of a lifetime! Tight lines and good luck to all in search of their unicorn!

Shawn with a nice Muskie. Hard work pays off!!


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