Being one of the biggest freshwater fish in the US it's of little surprise that a Musky's teeth are one of it's most notable features.
If you have ever caught or seen a musky in the flesh then you probably agree that the teeth are some of the biggest and intimidating of anything you are likely to catch in freshwater.
Row after row of sharp teeth adorn it's mouth with the sharp canine's that line the outer edge of the jaw being the most impressive.
Muskie fishing line needs to be heavy for a reason and a lot of anglers will use a heavy wire trace as their leader purely because of just how sharp those razor like teeth are.
Musky are ambush predators and like all large fish or animals that have evolved to be near or at the top of the food chain in their environment musky have a very well developed set of teeth that are designed for catching prey.
A muskies head has a flat, duck-billed shape that is designed for grabbing it's prey and then swallowing it head-first.
Each type of tooth performs as specific task.
The main teeth that are used when hunting are the large canines that can be found on the outer rows of both the upper and lower jaw.
A musky will generally ambush smaller fish. As it strikes it can open up it's large flat mouth a considerable distance giving it the ability to attack larger prey that can be up to 20% of it's own weight.
The roof of the mouth has mush shorter almost brush like teeth that are used to help grip it's food as it tries to swallow.
Unlike some other larger saltwater predators such as sharks the muskies jaw and teeth are not designed to take large bites out of it's food. Instead the teeth are designed only for grabbing.
Once a musky catches it's prey in it's canines it will use the rest of it's teeth to grip the prey and turn it so as to swallow it head first.
It turns it's food to a head first position as it is easier to swallow this way. And when swallowing smaller fish such as perch and walleye it can flatten down the dorsal fins that contain sharp spines.
This will vary greatly by age and size. Most muskie have probably hundreds of the smaller brush like teeth that they use for gripping it's prey as the swallow them.
The number of larger canines in the mouth can vary. You can usually find that the mush larger older fish will in fact be missing quite a few of their main teeth. They probably break off due to age and use.
Without a doubt trolling for musky can be on of the most productive ways to cover a lot of water, especially if you are new to the lake that you are fishing on.
Easily the most popular method to catch large muskie at it's core it's pretty simple:
Drag a lure behind your boat at the right speed at the right place and depth
Sounds so simple a child could do it.
However there are a few subtleties that can make all the difference between skunking out and landing the tiger muskie of a lifetime.
Most people who troll for musky will generally do so on the edge of a weed bed in a large lake.
This is by far the most popular way to find them and then present them with a lure.
Lure size, location, time of year, trolling speed and depth are probably the most important variables to get right.
The main tackle is usually a good quality trolling rod for musky, either a conventional or a baitcasting reel and heavy main line such as 80lb paired with a wire leader.
For deeper trolling you may wish to use a downrigger or even lead core line depending on the situation.
Given that they are one of the largest freshwater predators around it is perfectly natural for a beginner to choose as big a lure as possible.
That's not always the case however and musky have bee known to hit some pretty small crankbaits and swimbaits.
All they need is plenty of shine and a little bit of wobble put in front of them to bring out their inner predator. If a muskie is hungry enough they'll even hit a plastic worm!
That being said larger lures do tend to attract the larger fish. One nice side affect of using a large lure is that smaller fish are less likely to hit your lure.
Although a big lazy muskie will hit a lure that's just being twitched on the water surface most people do prefer to troll somewhere in the range of about 2-10 miles per hour:
Of course the depth and type of lure that you use will have a huge impact on the speed at which you troll.
Muskie are mostly ambush predators and given their markings it's easy to see why they favor weed beds and other dark structures that can help to camouflage them from their prey.
Given their size they do tend to stay out a little bit deeper than say a pike would but they will still generally both patrol and lie in wait along the deeper edges of larger weed beds.
In summer months they can be found in shallower waters and some will actually spend a few hours motionless quite close to the surface sunbathing during the summer heat.
Mushy tend to stick to two different locations and that is usually dictated to as to the time of year and the temperature.
In spring/summer months they will tend to move towards the shallower waters and the temperature is around 60 degrees.
In the winter months they will move to the deeper waters at about 40 degrees.
As mentioned above the time of year has a big impact on the depth that you will find muskie.
Trolling along the edge of a weed bed using a fish finder is by far the most consistent way to troll where the fish are.
However you can also target the bigger fish in much deeper waters. You'll need some specialist tackle to get your lures down deeper than they are designed to swim such as:
Everyone has there preference as to which one to use personally I will always favor a downrigger as I believe it gives the best possible control of the depth that your lure is swimming.