How two novice muskie anglers from the Netherlands caught a boatload of fish—and brought a whole new perspective to muskie fishing
#3 TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If you’re starting to get the impression Biemond (above) marches to a different drummer, wait until you hear about the rods, reels, lines and lures he and Mellema used to catch their fish. As with most anglers heading to a marquee muskie destination, he spent hours online researching and purchasing traditional muskie tackle. When it came time to use the lures, however, he found most of them to be too big, bulky and heavily wired, with hooks that were much too stout for his liking.
“When I was preparing for the trip, I bought two muskie rods so I could cast 12-ounce soft-plastic baits—I used them for all of five minutes,” he says. “It is just not for me. Fishing is supposed to be pleasant, but casting large soft-plastic lures and trolling huge crankbaits requires heavy gear. The same applies to bucktails. I know anglers use them to bring a lot of fish to the boat, but I find it unexciting and backbreaking to cast a lure all day with a steady retrieve, then follow up every cast with a figure eight.”
Biemond also had a revelation after watching and listening to his guide the first day, and comparing notes with other guests at the resort. He figured the best way to trigger muskies into biting was by imparting sudden quick and erratic movements. So, that’s when they started fishing in the afternoons with the same set-up he uses in the Netherlands to trick trophy pike: a three-ounce rod paired with a fast 7:1 ratio reel spooled with 40-pound braid, and modest-sized 2½- and three-ounce Sybe hybrid jerkbaits.
“With big traditional soft-plastic muskie baits and large spinners adorned with flashabou, you have to strike hard to set the hook,” Biemond says. “You don’t have to do that with hybrid jerkbaits.” Instead, you can cast them a long way, and since they have much thinner Gamakatsu 13B trebles, he explains, it’s not hard to get a good hookset. “It is so easy to hook a muskie with them once it clamps down.”
And since you impart a fast, erratic action with the hybrids, Biemond notes, the fish don’t follow them. Instead, they either bite or leave them alone. Every muskie he caught on Eagle Lake, for example, struck during the middle of the retrieve, far away from the boat. As well, being able to quickly reel in and never make a figure eight meant he could cover a lot more water, and pick off active fish in a much shorter period of time. (Also see “Dutch treats on pg 7”)