Travis Frank

Travis Frank’s motto is "Livin’ the dream." That means he’s on the water or in the field 300 days a year. He’s been a fishing guide at Trophy Encounters for the past 10 seasons chasing Minnesota’s toughest fish, the muskie. When he’s not on the water, he's in the deer stand or chasing Midwest fowl.

A 'New' Muskie Lure for 2011?

Posted by: Travis Frank under Fishing, Muskie Updated: May 5, 2011 - 9:10 AM

 

Travis Frank hoists a 50 inch muskie caught during the 2010 season.

Travis Frank hoists a 50 inch muskie caught during the 2010 season.

Every angler wants an advantage.  In muskie fishing, this takes on a whole new meaning.  The smallest details make all the difference.  Whether its a longer rod, a high speed reel or particular moon phase, everything comes into play.  As a diehard angler and fishing guide, I am willing to try anything that may put an extra fish or two in my boat.  Anything!

The past few seasons I have been searching for a particular swimbait that would give the fish something they haven't seen.  No blades, no topwater plopping.  I wanted the lure to have good action, and the ability to retrieve at high speeds.  The problem was this.  I kept running into lures that would blow out sideways when I picked up the pace.  They just wouldn't run true.

That was until I found the Shadzilla.  it's a new soft bodied swimbait made up in Canada.  I called the owner (Mike) directly and asked him if these lures run true at high speeds.  He assured me that they did and I purchased 2.  The rest is history.  On my fourth cast I picked up the speed and ran it past a known fish.  A large fish.  In the middle of that cast I experienced a strike that I haven't seen in years.  The 50 incher t-boned the bait with such recklessness that it scared me stiff.  There was no follow or advanced notice.  She came out of nowhere and crushed it.  To make the story better, it was high noon on a calm sunny day.  No moon phase in sight.  It was a pure reaction strike.

Was it a fluke?  Not a chance.  The next day I hit the water and made two casts on another known fish.  Again, I was scared straight.  The muskie flew out of nowhere and smoked the bait sideways.  These fish were attacking without any hesitation.  I remember looking at my buddy in the boat and his eyes looked like they were ready to explode.  I hadn't seen this kind of response since the cowgirl was introduced.  It was awesome!  The fish had no hesitations and wanted it bad.

The key ingredient was speed.  It's no secret that muskies react to fast moving objects.  The faster the better.  Plus, many of these fish have been conditioned to our bucktails, bulldawgs and topwaters.  I was excited to finally have something to burn that didn't have blades on it.  Swimbaits have been around for years.  This high speed technique was purely something different. 

The rest of the fall proved that the muskies were also excited about the bait.  I didn't spill the beans on my new approach last year because I wanted to enjoy it with my clients and buddies.  Truth is, it brought back memories of my first years chasing muskies.  When you found a fish, they would eat.  No follows.  And, we caught fish on it until the ice locked us tight in November.

As this muskie season approaches, you may want to throw this lure into your bag of tricks.  If you have the willpower to burn it, I believe you will put a few more fish in your bag.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think the only place in the US that carries the Shadzilla is Big Wood Musky Lures.  The owner of this website is Kyle Knock.  He's a great guy and will hook you up with what he has.  Just know, that it isn't easy to get your hands on these baits.  Mike can't build them fast enough.  So there you have it.  My favorite lure for 2010.  I hope it serves you well as we enter another season of Monster Quest.  Until then, keep on livin' your dream!

Catch more at www.trophyencounters.com

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