Man holding a muskellunge fish on a boat in a lake.

Best Muskie Fishing Lures That Work 2020

A Muskellunge with a lure in its mouth.
Great Lakes Muskie by BenitoJuarez98 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Catching Muskellunge is one of the fastest-growing sports in the industry. With this, the market has become saturated with different baits and some gimmicks. The best Muskie fishing lures are the ones that can catch fish year-round in many different water conditions.

They are created exclusively for catching fish of this species. Normal tackle usually will not cut it because they have rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth. The most commonly available options are generally big, durable, and take up a lot of space in a traditional tackle box.

The actions of these are generally different from other baits. The fish of 10,000 casts love to pick and choose. They are elusive and the baits focus more on producing strikes. They are pretty hard to catch but having the right baits on hand can help you hook up with them more often. There are so many kinds too. Hundreds of different choices. How do you go and select the right one? It never hurts to continue to use the ones that produce for many anglers. They are reliable and continue to work again and again.

How To Choose A Muskie  Fishing Lure Easily

Size – The most critical factor in lure selection is size. You want to make sure it is big enough to make them commit to a bite. Since they are naturally huge by nature, bigger is usually always better. When is the last time you heard of one caught on worms? Exactly. Do not ever be afraid to throw huge baits. They are natural predators of sufficient hunger and they do not eat every day. When they do eat they want a full belly. Give it to them. They eat big meals in the wild all the time. This is their biology.

Action – The action of your choice must fit the situation. You don’t want to fish topwater when they are on the bottom. Also, you don’t want to fish aggressively in cold water. The action is important because there are so many different types. It is not about which action works better but which one works best for the situation. They all catch fish and they all work. One may be more effective than another.

Price – The last thing to be aware of before you go out and purchase 38 tackle boxes of different baits is their price. Fishing lures for Muskie are a little expensive. You may have to undo the wallet and spend some money. While one would pay only $3 to $10 for Largemouth Bass fishing equipment, species-specific pike lures start at $10 and can even cost much more. This is not a hobby that you want to get into if you’re a limited income individual. If you are, the price has to justify the value that it gives you.

1. Rubber Baits – Regular Bulldawg

Musky Innovations Bull Dawg fishing lure.One of the most effective and most popular lure styles out there is a rubber bait. The Bull Dawg is an excellent fishing lure with a very great record of catches. The Bull Dawg can be found in the tackle boxes of many of the professional guides and tournament anglers in the sport.

This is because it is effective and it targets big fish. It is extremely attractive. It has many features that make it worth the price. First, it has a very aggressive ribbon tail on the back. This can make all the difference in cold water or in heavily pressured fisheries. Big predators hone in on that action and see it as a very easy meal to catch and eat.

It is designed to fall down at an acute angle. It rocks back and forth on the retrieve as the tail kicks around. It comes in a lot of great colors that will match almost any baitfish in a local area. In comes in an impressive and staggering 13 different color patterns. It is extremely versatile and can be used as a crankbait, jerkbait, or even a jig. It is hard to find an angler that catches pike species without one in their tackle box. They make up a lot of trophy catches. It also comes with great quality hooks.

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2.Bucktails – Mepp’s Flashabou Single Blade

Mepp's bucktail fishing lure.No tackle box would be complete without the most popular lure out there. A bucktail. There are a lot of bucktails that exist and they all work well.  The Mepp’s flashabou single blade bucktail is a classic. Mepp’s have been creating bucktails for anglers for many years and are one of the top manufacturers.

Bucktails can be used in a variety of conditions and are classified as a year-round lure. They are primarily popular with the figure 8 motion that has landed thousands of great fish right near the boat. How deep one dives varies depending on what blades you use as well as weight. It typically will dive to around 14 feet. You can get them in a few different sizes. There are normal sizes for traditional, average, size catches, and magnum versions for those huge trophies that just love to eat big meals.

Mepp’s is also known for creating spectacular color patterns and this one is no different. It comes in a wide range of exotic and frankly beautiful colors. They are enough to match the forage in your area. The flashabou skirts are extremely shiny which will help fish locate it from far away, especially in sunlight. It comes equipped with a single colorado blade that displaces a ton of water. The hook is a single Gamakatsu brand treble hook which is the best in the world. The price is also decently good for a huge bucktail which can cost over $40 sometimes. This one is usually around half of that price.

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3. Soft Swimbaits – Chaos Tackle Posseidon

Chaos Tackle Posseidon swimbait.

If you are fishing heavily pressured fisheries to any degree, you already know how difficult catching Muskellunge can be. That is in addition to how it is already. With heavily pressured and nervous fish, you need a lure that is natural and enticing. A great one that fits this perfectly is a soft plastic swimbait with a tail.

Soft plastic swimbaits are noticeably chewy, natural, and lifelike. This can provide all the insurance you need in cold water. The Posseidon from Chaos Tackle is a perfect choice. It is 10 inches in length. It is a perfect representation of a real baitfish. It is a year-round fishing lure with zero restrictions on seasonal use. Swimbait fishing of any kind is good in cold water because food is scarce at this time.

There is a 10-inch model and a 12-inch model. There is also a selection of 21 great colors, enough for every situation. The Posseidon has a very realistic, wounded baitfish, wobble. The paddle tail displaces a ton of water because it almost rotates into a perfect circle as it swims. It comes with 2 very sharp treble hooks that will increase your hookup ratio. The price will only run you slightly over $20.

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4. Crankbaits – Rapala Super Shad Rap

Rapala Super Shad Rap crankbait.While Rapala has been manufacturing the classic wounded baitfish wobble ever since their founder picked up a carving knife, they have gone on to produce some of the best fishing tackle in the world. One of the most popular lures is the shad rap. It has a big brother called the super shad rap.

The super shad rap is a huge deep-diving crankbait. Rapala is the original inventor of the wounded baitfish lure and for crankbait fishing, they are the best. Rapala lures are used on every continent humans live. Crankbaits are generally good every time of the year and even better during spring or summer. It dives from 5 – 9 feet so it is excellent for trolling as well as casting.

It comes in a single size that works well for targeting bg predators. It is decently huge at 5 1/2 inches and weighs over an ounce. Rapala is not scarce with the color options either. It comes in an astounding 20 different color options to choose from. The original shad rap is already known for being one of the best crankbaits already but they supersized it. It comes with a couple of black nickel-plated VMC hooks. Since Rapala has made them so readily available, these are relatively inexpensive.

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5. Bladed Swim Jigs – Z Man Jack Hammer

Jack Hammer Chatterbait.A category of baits that not many anglers would consider for Pike or similar species, is a bladed swim jig. This is also known as a Chatterbait by many. A bladed swim jig has a vibrating blade.

It pushes water around to create a ton of disturbance on the retrieve. The Z Man Jack Hammer is one of the best rated bladed swim jigs on the market. Z Man is the company who invented the original Chatterbait so there is no issue in calling it one. It is a swim jig with a blade.

They have established themselves as a top name in the field. It is hard to beat the vibrating blade in dirty or dingy water where clarity is limited. Also, they have a reputation for being able to fish cover and weed-lines. This is exactly where the big females love to hide. It comes in 12 different colors. The hook is extremely sharp and extremely sticky. The price is also nice. It isn’t very expensive at all.

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6. Topwater – Hawg Wobbler

Hawg Wobbler topwater fishing lure.

There are quite a few times when the fish are biting topwater, specifically in warmer months. A good topwater is one that has good water displacement and a ton of action. The Hawg Wobbler does exactly what it says. It has a very tantalizing wobble and it lands good fish. The Hawg Wobbler is a topwater walking bait and is a mix between a spook, a walker, and a propellor lure.

Topwater is usually always more effective during times of the year when the fish have a high metabolism. During this period, they get more aggressive and will hit a good topwater bait. A great one to have on hand is the Hawg Wobbler. The Hawg Wobbler has a very slow roll and a very interesting action. You can hear the swimming, the clacking, and the rattling from inside. It is that loud.

It is a great lure to invoke a big reaction strike. It does not dive at all. it is more for working the surface and watching predators bust the top. It comes in a basic size as well as magnum sizes to target anything, big or small. It comes in great colors like shad and frog. It has a couple of needle-point hooks that are specifically designed by Muskie anglers. It produces noises that just work. It also spits a ton of water at the surface. TIn addition, it comes at a price that most typical anglers can easily afford.

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7. Glide Baits – Phantom Lures Standard

Phantom glide bait.A good glide bait is something everyone should have. The Phantom is a great addition to the box. Glide baits are good during the spawn as well as in autumn when the water starts to cool off. They are known especially for their diving capabilities. They sink at a rate of a foot per second.

This makes it very good to use for suspended fish. There is a trio of sizes to choose from. It also has an impressive amount of colors at 13 different patterns. Many anglers choose this lure to catch fish that are suspended or deeper down. You can target fish at every water level with it.

It has a custom thread inside the body that allows it to accept Phantom threaded weights. This means you can change the weight with this lure to something heavier or lighter at will. It has 3 high-quality hooks that are razor-sharp. The price is a little expensive compared to comparable tackle on the market but we consider the customizations options to justify the price tag. It is worth the extra money because you get what you pay for with this glide bait.

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8. Jerkbaits – Suick Weighted Thriller

Suick Thriller jerkbait.The Suick Weighted Thriller is a suspending jerkbait that is one of the most productive lures of all time. It is made out of wood for a natural action. The Weighted Thriller is incredibly productive in every water temperature, including freezing. Since it is a suspending jerkbait, most of your strikes will be on the pause as it starts to float.

The depth it will dive to will vary depending on if you get the weighted or normal version. The weighted model will dive slightly deeper than its regular counterpart. This increases the hang time. There are a few size variations to choose from with magnum versions thrown in. It does not come in a lot of colors but what is offered should be sufficient. The Suick is one of the greatest pike lures of all time.

It has 3 really sharp hooks that are high in quality. The price is pretty expensive for what you get. Some may even consider something else because they cannot justify paying $30 on a single bait. Even so, it makes up for it in the amount of fish caught. We believe it earns the price it has. This has been a staple in the tackle boxes of pike anglers for many, many, years. They just flat out catch fish.

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9. Spinnerbaits – Warbaits Double Willow

Warbaits spinnerbait.The Warbaits Double Willow is a good spinnerbait. I do not see a lot of spinnerbaits ever mentioned. It seems may have forgotten about them. Even so, they really appeal to the predatory senses of predators. That what makes this one and others, so awesome. They just work.

Spinnerbaits can be used when the water starts to warm up, regardless of how hot it is outside. It can dive from 3 to 12 feet. It just really depends on how you use your rod tip. There is a single size to choose from. It is a 1-ounce spinnerbait. That is huge for a spinnerbait and about right for pike fishing. Big fish love big baits. Big baits work.

The amount of colors available is typical for most spinners. It has a single 10/0 Owner hook which is very excellent. If that is not enough, you always have the option of adding a trailer hook or treble. The price is certainly more than one would usually spend on a basic bass spinner but the sheer size and quality can warrant the expense for Muskie. It comes with a duo of willow blades that displace water.

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10. Casting Spoons – Strike King Sexy Spoon

Strike King sexy spoon.The Sexy Spoon from Strike King is a casting spoon of great quality. Many do not consider spoons particularly as pike lures or even big fish lures at all. Strike King is one of the biggest names for fishing tackle in the industry.

They employ professional fishermen as their staff and lure designers. While spoons can be used year-round, they are particularly good in warmer water because of how they swim.

Spoons will also produce fish in lakes that are half frozen. The sexy spoon will eventually get to the bottom but it has a slow fall. The sizes available are 4 inches and 5 1/2 inches. The bigger option is usually sufficient. There are 5 colors to choose from. It uses a single treble hook that is very sharp. The price is likely the best on the list. Not even $10 most of the time, it is extremely good or the angler without a ton of money. The action replicates a dying baitfish perfectly. This is what draws bites.

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Putting Everything Together

To summarize, the best Muskie fishing lures are the ones that consistently produce fish year-round. While they may cost more than traditional bass fishing tackle, it doesn’t mean they have to cost an arm and a leg to be successful. They are a fairly difficult species to go after and the right fishing lures only make it easier. Having the best lures in the tackle box as well as finding the fish are the very first key steps and getting hooked up consistently. Ultimately, good baits will never make up for practice.

They will not benefit you unless you are willing to go out and throw them regularly. Practice makes perfect. As with anything, there’s no bait that works well in every situation. Different types of water require different approaches. It is up to you to purchase a few of them, experiment, and decide.

Do you agree with this list? What is your favorite Muskie buster in the tackle box? Let us know in a comment below! We really want to hear what you think! You can help others with your comments!

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