The Lunge Lodge

The Lunge Lodge on the Upper French River

I have a question about rods and reels for fishing for big Pike and Muskie. I didn't want to hijack the Big Pike and Musky discussion, which is about locations, because I want to know more about the gear.

Would anyone be willing to share their recommendations on rods and reels for fishing big plugs and big topwater baits? I'm wondering specifically what you think regarding length and action of of rods, spinning and casting.

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There are a lot of good rod manufacturers. I've been gravitating to St. Croix Premier of late (they have a line below Premier called Triumph and one above called Avid), although there is some good stuff with Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, and Cabela's name on them too. Most of my rods are 6'6" and 7'. Eight foot rods don't fit in my rod locker! If you look at St. Croix, model numbers are key: PM70MH would mean Premier Musky 7' Medium Heavy Action. I got fooled into buying a couple of PC70MH - the C means Casting - those are more of a heavy-duty bassin' rod, which aren't quite up to pulling big bucktails and other musky-sized lures.

For reels, I've acquired several St. Croix AC-250's, but Abu Garcia is great too. For my bass gear, I really love Quantum reels (although my Pfleuger President's are really smooth). I have one Quantum saltwater reel which is really heavy-duty: Cabo PT.

I've tended more toward braided line for my pike/musky combos - Cortland Spectron 80lb test.

Spinning rods/reels are a thing of the past for me, all my reels are baitcasters.
Thanks Tony.... I still like spinning rods/reels for bass stuff, but I too really prefer baitcasting for bigger stuff.

So from what I'm reading, you would recommend Heavy action bassin' rods and/or MH musky rods? What about some of the big, tough catfish rods? Any idea what they would work like with lures? Never tried one, but you can get big, long rods that are MH and H....

Thanks again,
~ John
I too just upgraded to St Croix rods and baitcasters. I use the Shimano Curado E series. I used them in Australia and they were fantastic. 30 lb braid for the light rig and 60 lb braid for the heavier rig.

For lures:
1. Big Spinners (Black or Chartruese)
2. Buzzbaits (single blade, larger size), Chartruese out of lilly pads in July caught a 44"
3. Tropic Angler 6" floaters (white color with red eyes is magical) I gave away about 10 of them at the camp last year to people who weren't catching anything and they all came back that day and said it worked well. Dad has caught a 36", 34" and one that snapped the line on these. This is not a sales pitch. I trade storage space in my office in Hong Kong to the maker for free lures.
4. Red and White Dardevlet or Dardevle size with the copper color back
5. Tropic Angler white shad with red eyes

Just bought some 10" inline spinners and some crankbaits per (Tony and john's recommendations) for this season to try out.

If you work the 8-10 foot weed beds areas the 1,2,3,5 wind up catching nice smalies and largemouth while you are going for pike.

I am still a musky rookie so can't offer a lot of advice.
Thanks Chris. What length and action rods to you prefer for the big, toothy critters?
In the past I wasn't very scientific about it. 6 1/2 ugly stick that I had used for years.

Now
30 lb braid with Curado 200 E7 , St. Croix (power stick medium I think for crank baits)
60 lb on 6' 10" St Croix medium fast for the spinners

Both were purchased about 2 days before I came back to HK so the exact pole names slip my mind.

A note on the spinners, use doubled blade willows last year with success but had quite a few short strikes, even after slightly trimming the skirts. I am adding trailer hooks this year to my spinners and buzz baits.

Most important thing piece of gear I can think to add is polarized sunglasses (I prefer brown lens). Talk about a game changer. Makes it a lot more fun to watch the action. Especially for the big guys that like to follow the bait. You can react and adjust presentation knowing they are following.

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