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Suckers are known as the top bait to use for catching muskie. There are probably more muskie caught on suckers than any artificial lure. While most of the die-hard muskie anglers will fish with primarily artificial lures, the average angler isn’t going to go out and cast huge lures all day hoping to get one bite. Most anglers will fish for bass, northern pike, walleye or even panfish while they drag a live sucker behind the boat. Some of the biggest muskie are caught with live suckers. We highly recommend a quick-strike rig with suckers because it will prevent you from hooking muskie in the back of the throat. By getting a hookset in the mouth, the survival rate of released fish will be much higher.
Creek Chubs & Redtail Chubs are known more for being great baits for northern pike, walleye and big bass, but they will also catch muskie. The bigger chubs in the 6 to 8 inch range will definitely work for muskie, although, most muskie anglers would prefer to use a big sucker instead. Whether you choose to use a chub or sucker, you’re most like going to want to use a quick-strike rig because most muskie will grab the bait in the middle. If you have one hook running through the mouth of the muskie, you’re going to miss a lot of bites with the bigger chubs. The quick-strike rig also helps anglers release healthy muskie that can go on to be caught another day.
Muskie anglers typically don’t use shad as bait, but if you can get some big live shad as bait, you can catch plenty of muskie with them. Most anglers use artificial lures that imitate shad to help put more fish in the boat. There are several different companies that make some great shad-imitation crankbaits, swimbaits, soft plastics and spinnerbaits.