Bob Turgeon

Bob Turgeon has a passion for chasing big muskies anywhere, but he guides locally on Lake Minnetonka.

It's not over untill........well.....actually it is over.

Posted by: Bob Turgeon under Fishing, Muskie Updated: December 9, 2009 - 9:11 PM
A cold start, a warm close and a lot of nothing in between made muskie angling a challenge this summer here in the land of a bunch of muskie lakes. Thanks to the efforts of the MN DNR and contributions by independent organizations like Muskies Inc the opportunities for MN anglers to fish for muskies have never been better.......but getting the bites were tougher for most this season. One of the lessons you should take home from this season is when the weather does not cooperate the most consistent bite will be on the deeper edges and structures rather than shallower. I wrote early this season that when weather conditions are inconsistent ie: cold early in the season fish will seek the stability of the depths were temps remain steady. As the waters warm mid-season there is usually a progression of fish to shallower water....this year not so much as water temps statewide generally remained close to or below 70 degress.... a temperature that signals a rise in activity both in the summer as temps go past it on the way up and ironicly again in the fall as they fall below it on the way down. So what really DID work this year....what can you count on in the years to come with similar weather patterns.

Night fishing and specifically slow rolling large Bucktails over deep cover: Running a SuperModel of deep weed beds after dark was my bread and butter for much of the season. Pre-dawn and after Sunset nothing worked better. Slow rolling in this case involves a retrieve that runs just barely over the weed tops...ticking them once in a while to know you are in the right zone.

Big Rubber in the depths: the lack of a thermocline this summer meant that fish could use almost any depth they chose with good oxygen content everywhere. Normally a great early and late season presentation that slows a bit midsummer Big Rubber baits worked well all season. The ability to run them at any depth is one of the keys to this baits versatility.

Big Minnow baits over deep weed tops: For a while early this fall it seemed like only the biggest baits would move fish....I'm talking about stuff 13-20 inches long and longer. A bear to throw and retrieve they get a fishes attention at times when nothing else will....especially in the fall and around weeds.

Burning the biggest blades......on the rare occasions when the water would heat up and the sun was high and hot the traditional bucktail bite worked....but really putting the heat on supersized  baits like the double 13 SuperModels really shinned. Running these lures ultra fast over and around thick weeds paid off  for those that could stand....and produce the heat.

Trolling Big Blades at speed: I wrote early this season about a potential open water bite on weighted inline spinners during the warmwater season...well this year that warmwater never happened and neither did that bite....what did happen was a few individuals who trolled big blades at 4-5.5 mph and using up to 8oz of lead to keep the bait down did really well....on the edges. One friend of mine had a highlight reel of photos with a boatload (released) of thirty plus pounders on this pattern.

Maybe next year will be "normal" maybe not. If it repeats this years weather pattern keep these productive techniques in mind for a better chance of getting one of the big girls to come out and play......Hey it's only about 7 months to get ready for next years action !!!!!

Bob Turgeon
FishMuskies@aol.com

Go big or stay home

Posted by: Bob Turgeon under Fishing, Fishing Techniques, Muskie Updated: October 26, 2009 - 9:11 PM
If you read the article about the huge muskie just released on Vermillion a couple things should stick out, first off the anglers caught a great fish and released it, will we ever know exactly how big it was...no. What we can conclude is it was a great cacth and more than likely would have surpassed the current record fish by a fair amount. Congrats to both the anglers involved.

What can you learn from this event, first off that great angling opportunities exist right here thanks to the DNR with help from angling groups like Muskies Inc who help raise stocking monies not provided from state coffers. So what can you do to take advantage and have a chance at one of these bruisers.....UPSIZE !!!!!! Big baits on trophy waters are generally more likely to attract larger fish and this time of year generally don't hurt your chances at numbers as fish ramp up on food intake. Sure you will always hear about the walleye guy who gets a monster on a number 5 Rapala but by and large you will increase your odds of a large catch by using the largest baits you can cast or troll.

Lately my action has been the significantly focused on the biggest lures in my box, SuperModels, Pounders and Two Pounders (yes a bait that weighs 2 pounds), Mega Suzies, 14" Jakes and the largest  Grama lures, Believers and Suicks. This past weekend I tried a new lure called "The Intimidator" ...picture a 15" 2x4 and then carve away the wood that doesn't look like a fish.......actually not bad to throw for its size. XH action  rods up to 9-9.5' work best for these larger baits and quality reels hold up to the pounding they dish out. If you are not up to the task on casting ....troll away as  most of these lures troll great. If you elect to troll keep in mind that muskies like to follow and a follow while trolling is an unseen opportunity, give that presentation a speed change or rod rip from time to time to trigger a follower.

Big lures stick out and show fish something different, they also match what size food the bigger fish prefer so give them a try.

Confused about what these funny sounding names mean or looking for the right gear to present them with...check out Thorne Bros tackle in Fridley...........muskie experts. 

It's not over untill we say it is........

Posted by: Bob Turgeon under Muskie Updated: October 13, 2009 - 12:10 AM
With the fall cool down well under way the muskies have been putting on the feed bag. Muskie anglers who have not put away the Rods in favor of Guns and Bows are catching the largest fish of the season. Muskies bulk up in the fall...especially the females who are starting egg production and storing energy in the form of fat to fuel that task. The "normal" early fall season when water temps drop from the mid 70's to the 60 range happened in one day. The lack of stratification as a result of this summers cool temps kept surface temps cool and one windy cold day was all it took to really cool down and mix what little there was in the form of layering.So we now find ourselves in a late fall weather pattern and the fish have responded with periods of feeding activity unseen thus far this season.

Finding the fish is not terribly difficult...simply take the areas that were holding fish earlier this season and move to the first significant deep edge near by... deep weed edges are generally the best edge right now. Look for concentrations of bait fish on your sonar to identify which deep edges hold the most promise and start fishing. Big baits mean big fish and lately my boat partners and I have been digging through my Justencase tackle box for the biggest baits we can find. Large muskies can easily eat fish in the 4-5-6lb range and throwing or trolling the largest baits  that you can deal with can up your odds considerably.

And actually it is over when the DNR says it is.......Nov 31st is the close of Muskies season so get some big fish action now while you still can, the lakes are uncrowded and the fish still have to eat.

As a friend of mine says, "In January you will wish you could have bottled a day like today and open up that bottle and take a sip." because musky fishing will not be on the menu in January.

Living with Jerks on the water...how to deal with it.

Posted by: Bob Turgeon under Muskie Updated: October 1, 2009 - 11:08 PM
As the water cools in the fall many anglers chasing muskies turn to Jerk Baits to be more productive. Popular Jerk baits usually fall into one of three catagories...Dive and Rise...Gliders.... and Suspending random action styles.

  Dive and rise baits like the venerable Suick, Bobbie, Wades Wobbler and the newer Big Daddy to name a few tend to run pretty straight with only a slight side to side action and the primary response to your rod manipulation is to dive on the pull and then rise...usually in reverse on the pause. Depending on how the bait is weighted it may even suspend a bit. These baits (also called "pull baits") work well in open water but really shine in late season weeds...they are surprisingly weedless and the backup action on the pause can really trigger inactive fish buried in thick cover. Most of these baits also troll really well with a lazy side to side action or can be also ripped with the rod tip while trolling.

Gliders tend to be neutrally weighted and will suspend on the pause, they are worked with a lighter touch and the goal is to either slowly "walk the dog" from side to side or you can work it more erratically using rapid twitches of the rod tip. A slowly worked glider can trigger fish that will ignore more aggressive presentations. Some popular gliders include..The Inticer, Phantom, Hughe River,Bobbie, Wabull, Manta and also some crossover baits like the Hellhound can be worked in a gliding style or really erratic. The key to working Glide baits is to use lighter taps of the rod and create slack line in between twitches to allow the lure to literally glide from side to side, often time fish will follow as if transfixed on the near hypnotic action of the bait....in that case spotting the follow early and speeding up the retrieve pace and cadence can be key to enticing a strike.
These baits can be worked around but not really in weeds and also excell in open water. Some of these baits actually troll at high speeds very well with a wide fast wobble that can really trigger bites from aggressive fish

Suspending baits with a more random action include the Hellhound, Reef Hawg, Jerko, and the B-FLat they can be worked either rapidly or slowly and tend to move in random directions on the pull...up , down, side to side and in between. The random action is the key and a good one can really make fish come unglued when nothing else seems to work. Experiment with adding weight to get the lure running deeper.....old timers still keep their Reef hawgs in buckets of water so they soak it up and become less bouyant...giving them a different action and keeping them closer to the bottom.

Tackle for these lures is a bit specialized....solid steel leaders still work the best, a moderate speed reel loaded with no stretch superbraid will transmit your twitches better and the best rod for Jerk baits may actually be the one you already own, Shorter rods have their place here...don't go too short or the hookset and ability to battle the fish will be comprimised but something in the 7-7.5' range is usually ideal with a few veterans hanging on to 6 footers........... "Just For The Jerks"

It would appear that fall is finally here, let a few Jerks into your boat and they might save you if things get a bit tough out there.

Bob Turgeon
fishmuskies @aol.com

Baits for this, baits for that

Posted by: Bob Turgeon under Fishing, Muskie Updated: September 16, 2009 - 3:30 PM
I don't often get on my soapbox and promote a new product but once in a while a great idea comes along and the fishing world will change for the better because of it.

 Bob Schmidt working out of a small shop in Minnetonka has quietly come up with bait storage solutions that will change how Muskie anglers look at that problem forever. Bob's fledgling company JustEncase takes a different approach to the problem of secure accessable storage of Muskie lures ....among other problems. Bob takes Poly-Carbonate plastics and handcrafts storage systems for homeowners looking to secure household items, business owners looking to secure computer equipment and MOST importantly Muskie Baits. Last winter Bob and I sat down at a sports show where he was showing off his new boxes and talked about building a casting deck that doubled as lure storage.....using the space in my boat more effectivly. This spring we co-designed and put together the first deck/box for my Ranger 620 multi-species boat and it has been a hit with every angler that has set foot in my rig. The clear material is crazy strong, permits easy viewing and even keeps my baits safe from UV exposure. Because the material is clear I can find baits quickly and that helps me keep more of them in the box and less on my deck...reducing the chance that I will step on one equipped with broadhead sharp 7/0 hooks. A non slip coating on top of the box makes a secure platform to launch monster casts from the back deck area and stays tacky even when wet. Bob also makes traditional Muskie storage boxes that come with locking latches and a system for attaching the box securly to your boat to prevent resturant and gas station "walkoffs" which can rob anglers of thousands of dollars of baits in a single incident.

So here is a vote for the little guy with a big idea.....one that actually works and will help anglers be a little more effective.

Bob Turgeon
www.fishmuskies@aol.com

Bob Schmidt's work is seen at  www.justencase.com

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