Jim Saric of Musky Hunter Magazine
Musky are large predatory fish that many anglers have an obsession with. There is nothing like pulling a 3-4 foot long fish into the boat that has razor sharp teeth and is as aggressive as a great white shark. Jim Saric from Musky Hunter Magazine makes his living chasing these fish. He probably spends more time on the water in a year than many anglers do in a lifetime. His job is to put big musky in the boat and he consistently does that by employing a few tactics year after year.
THE BUCKTAIL SPINNER
One of the most common questions Saric gets asked is which lure attracts big fish the best and his answer is consistent. “There is no silver bullet. What works one day might not work very well the next day. It is very important for anglers to have a variety of lures in the boat when they go fishing. Bucktail spinners are one of my favorite lures and I make sure I have loads of them with me when I hit the water,” Saric explained.
COLOR IS KING
When it comes to catching musky and lots of them, Saric believes it is all about color. “It is amazing how much lure color can affect the bite. I can be fishing for hours without much luck. I switch bucktails and suddenly I start catching fish. This is why it is important to have many different colors of spinners in the boat. The more bucktail spinners an angler has and the more variety of colors they have, the better chance they have of finding that perfect bucktail that’s working on a certain day,” Saric noted.
CUSTOMIZE AND BUILD YOUR OWN SPINNERS
One of the biggest problems with bucktail spinners is they are very expensive so it is hard for many anglers to justify spending tons of money on a variety of different colored spinners. For anglers on a budget, Saric suggests purchasing a Bucktail Twister tool from Dubro Fishing. “This tool allows the angler to build their own bucktail spinners, fix bucktails that are bent or need to be fixed after being destroyed by fish, and customize their bucktail spinners if they find that one color is working better than another. If a person doesn’t have piles of lures but finds one color is working better than another, he can go home or back to the hotel after a long day of fishing and use the tool to quickly build bucktail spinners or take apart and add colors from one lure to another to come up with the perfect color combination for the next day of fishing. The tool works well, can save money and give anglers an edge when they are fishing,” Saric suggested.
SELECTING THE PERFECT SPINNER
The hot color in one lake might not be a hot color in the next body of water. Saric has a tip to help anglers select the perfect bucktail spinner while fishing. “Some lakes are clearer than others. Some lakes have muddy brown water and some days the bright sun affects the way the water appears. I tell anglers to put the lure in the water they want to use and if it looks like a blob with hooks and they can see the outline of the lure, avoid using it. When I drop a lure a couple feet in the water and it is bright and stands out but doesn’t look like bait, that is a setup I want to use. It is important that the lure stands out but you can’t easily see the hooks or the outline of the lure. It should flash and glow in the water as it dances around in the water. This is why I want all kinds of spinner color and blade combinations because what works can change from lake to lake and from morning to evening. To be successful, I really have to have a wide variety and be able to adapt quickly,” Saric explained.
Saric likes to have three or four go-to lures when he is going after muskies so when he starts catching fish on one color, he will have a buddy who is fishing with him start fishing the color the fish are hitting. Then he will start using a variety of other colors until he finds another hot one. “Like big bucks, big muskies only move at certain times of the day. Moon phase and other factors affect when they move. When they decide to move, I want to have several lure options up my sleeve that I know will work so when I have a buddy in the boat with me, he will often fish what is working while I experiment. This approach has worked very well for me,” Saric said.
BIG LAKES PRODUCE BIG MUSKY
If an angler wants to catch extremely large musky, Saric believes they have to be a detective. “Really big musky are hard to come by. To catch one, anglers have to focus their time on large lakes that have the potential to produce big fish. If I am going to a new lake, I like to check out resorts on that lake. If I don’t see big musky pictures on a resorts’ website, I won’t fish that lake. If I see many pictures of large musky, that is a lake I want to hit.” One rule of thumb for Saric is the larger the lake, the better chance he has of catching a big musky. “All the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, and many of the huge lakes in Canada produce big fish because they are big bodies of water. You’re not going to find big fish in a small lake very often,” Saric stated.
Catching large musky is no easy task but like killing a big buck, if you spend much time on the water, use the right gear and study the sport like a high school kid studying for exams, chances are eventually you will be successful, especially when Saric is your teacher. As you can see in the photos above, Saric knows how to get the job done!
Written by: Tracy Breen