Mono A Mono for Summer Pike and Muskies

When it comes to choosing a type of line, superlines get most of the attention when it comes to pike and muskie fishing, and rightfully so. For most casting applications, where heavy hooks, big, hard-fighting fish, and large lures are the rule, the tough, no-stretch properties of superlines like Berkley Stealth are definitely the way to go. Same goes for trolling around rocks or heavy weeds, where the abrasion-resistance of braid shines.

But there are certain circumstances where monofilament is the right choice for pike and muskies. Two situations in particular call for unique properties of monofilament: open water trolling with planer boards, and casting small-hooked baits like small crankbaits or spinners.

Total Solutions Technique

Trolling with Boards – When muskies and pike are using open water to chase pelagic baitfish like ciscoes, smelt, or whitefish, trolling over open water with inline planer boards can be hands down the most efficient means of catching them. Planer boards allow you to spread lures away from the boat, covering more water, and help catch fish riding high in the water column that may spook when a boat passes overhead. Monofilament is a definite plus when hooking big fish on inline boards. The inherent stretch of monofilament prevents hooks from tearing out when a fish takes a lure and ‘buries the board,’ and acts as a shock absorber during the time between when a fish hits and when the board is retrieved and removed so the rod can be brought into play. Not only that, but monofilament also holds better – no sliding down to the lure – when clipped into planer board releases.

Casting Downsized Baits – We all prefer the fish to be aggressive and chasing our lures, but conditions like cold fronts, sunny, clear ‘bluebird’ days, intense fishing pressure – or worse yet, all of the above – can mean the need to downsize lure selection for summer pike or muskies. Under tough conditions, small 5- to 7-inch minnow baits, small deep diving crankbaits, or bass-sized spinnerbaits can be a great choice for salvaging a difficult day on the water. But often, these downsized lures have, by necessity, lighter, thinner wire hooks. Hook a hard-fighting big muskie on heavy tackle with no-stretch line, and these small light-wire hooks can pull out, or even straighten out, when hooked fish take hard runs at boatside. Once again, the small amount of stretch in monofilament line acts as a shock absorber, helping to prevent you from over-pressuring fish and pulling out small hooks.

Total Solutions Equipment

Monofilament for pike and muskies still has to have one key characteristic in common with superline: supreme durability. Berkley Trilene Big Game fits the bill for both casting or trolling tactics. Big Game is tough, abrasion-resistant and shock-resistant enough to handle the abuse muskie and pike anglers put line through, yet still flexible and manageable on the spool for both casting and trolling.

For trolling, Big Game in the 20 to 30 pound test range match well with Fenwick Lunker Stik Casting Rod in the 7 to 9 foot range. Spool the Big Game on an Abu Garcia® Ambassadeur® Mörrum® ZX. Linecounters allow you to precisely duplicate successful combinations of lure distance from the board.

Casting tactics call for somewhat lighter gear. Spool 20 to 25 pound test Big Game on a low-profile Revo Inshore matched with a 7’6” Fenwick® AETOS for a light, powerful combo with the responsiveness to cast light baits long distances, and more than enough fighting power to land powerful pike and muskies.

Berkley Big Game®

Abu Garcia® Ambassadeur® Mörrum® ZX

Abu Garcia® REVO™

Fenwick® AETOS