Big Figure 8 Mistake – Musky vs. Walleye (more info) – Swimbait Tips

Big Figure 8 Mistake – Musky vs. Walleye (more info) – Swimbait Tips

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Stealth Tackle

Do you figure-8 backwards?

Night Musky

As a musky angler, you work too stinkin' hard just to blow your chance at a big fish thanks to a boatside mistake.

One mistake we see ALL the time is guys & gals figure-eighting backwards.

Here's Musky Insider co-owner Josh Borovsky's take on the topic:

"When it comes to the figure-8, there are so many nuances and adaptations for various baits and attitudes of fish. Proper execution not only means getting the fish to bite, but setting yourself up to control and land the fish.

"I see a fair amount of anglers on YouTube and on the water that are able to understand and apply some advanced level boatside concepts, but they are lacking some foundational principles and mechanics that would help them catch a lot more fish.

"If the first few steps of your figure 8 aren't up to par, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your maneuvers look after that....often times it's already over."

It's important to remember that just because you caught a musky in the eight doesn't mean you did everything right. Some muskies are "hungry" enough to eat despite mistakes we might make.

"An extremely common mistake I see is folks doing their figure eight backwards. What does that mean exactly? You want your outside turns to be moving away from the boat. This makes it easier to make a larger turn, but more importantly it makes it easier to set the hook back towards your body and the tail of fish.

Figure 8 Direction

"If you make your turns toward the boat instead of away, you'll get handcuffed on the hookset."

Bad Hooksets = Lost Fish.

"This happens a lot when people start mixing ovals and figure-8's. Remember, you need to wait until your oval is turning away from the boat before you switch back to the figure-8 otherwise all of your figure-8 turns will be back towards the boat.

"That's one of the issues I have with ovals – half the turns are correct and the other half are 'backwards'. That means you're only in the proper position for the hookset half the time (not good). It's not just about getting the bite, it's about converting bites into catches.

"That being said, there are several specific situations where the oval is the lesser of the evils depending on bait type, what the fishing is doing, and what you have done up to that point. But I will have to save that for the class and maybe a future newsletter."

Josh is running a number of musky classes starting next weekend where he'll be digging deep into a a few different topics – including proper figure 8 techniques.

Here's the times & topics for his classes:

  • Figure 8 Wizardry (April 25 or 28)
  • "The System" (April 30 or May 3)
  • Musky Research Masterclass (May 5 or 7)

All classes start at 7:00PM CST and are limited to 20 students.

[Click here for more class info]

Boatside Action

Alrighty – Let's take a quick break from the hardcore musky info to enjoy a few crazy action GIFS. 🤙

This glide bait thrashing resulted in an extra plump 49-incher in the boat for Musky Addict.

Figure 8 Musky

This 'skie went straight-up frisky as Oliver Ngy fought her around the boat – gotta love when they go airborne when you're reaching for the net!

Big Musky Dreams

Sometimes you need to do EVERYTHING right to catch a musky, other times they'll take a swipe at your bait when it's draggin' off the side of the boat willy nilly.

Musky bites Bait

....but don't worry, Tyler Amy has some dandy "success" videos, too!

Like this dang sweet boatside eat:

Glide Bait Musky Strike

Okay, enough popcorn. Let's get back to the musky fishin' tips/info....

Swimbait Leader Thoughts

What's the best leader for fishin' swimbaits?

The leader guru John Bette has a few thoughts on that topic (watch video):

Stealth Tackle Video

First things first, let's get one thing straight....

You can catch PLENTY of muskies with a standard leader, but if you want to up your odds, you might wanna give John's suggestions a try:

"If you want to get a little more action out of the bait, think about going to a solid wire leader. They create less resistance in the water and help give these baits a little more wobbling action.

"Eliminating the snap and going to a solid ring instead, also gives the body of the bait a little more action that pairs up nicely with the swimming action of the tail."

Just make sure you have a pair of split ring pliers in your boat for changing baits!

On second thought, you might wanna grab a few sets if you're the kinda person who's always forgetting where you left your pliers, scissors, etc.


The 'skies vs. 'eyes Debate

Most of you know that muskies aren't eating up truckloads of walleye like some less informed folks might think....

But are muskies gobbling up all of the walleye's favorite snacks???

An ongoing study in MN is looking at that exact topic right now.

"We’re taking diets from muskies, northern pike, walleye and largemouth bass in the sample lakes so that we’re able to compare diets between lakes and between seasons"

Okay, we're interested!

The study's not complete yet, but sounds like they have some preliminary results we can take a peek at from Lake Miltona:

"A total of three walleyes were found in muskies on Lake Miltona. That made up less than 1.5% of the muskies’ diet by number and less than 2% by mass. Yellow perch made up about 8% of the muskies’ diet by mass."

They use an 'overlap metric' to measure how much the species are competing with one another for forage. Here's what they found:

"It gives a number between zero and one. Anything below 0.4 is considered low overlap. For muskies and walleye, that was about 0.23, so definitely low."

Yellow perch are a staple snack for walleye. They also make up 8% of a musky's diet. That number is TINY compared to the other predator fish in Miltona:

"Northerns surveyed on Miltona had a diet of yellow perch that consisted of almost 70% by number and 40% by mass. Largemouth bass also had nearly 40% by mass of yellow perch, and walleyes relied on perch for their diet at 40% by number and about 60% by mass."

Add in the fact that muskies are low density creatures, and the numbers don't support that muskies are impacting the overall food sources available to walleye.

Another interesting tidbit from this preliminary data is that the muskies in Miltona like to eat big meals.

"They’re not eating extremely frequently, but when they do eat they’re eating some fairly large diet items. We had a couple muskies from Miltona that had white suckers in their stomach that were at or over 20 inches in length.

"One muskrat, one ring-billed gull, 11 northern leopard frogs and two northern pike were found in muskies on Miltona. A couple of bowfin, commonly known as dogfish, were also found."

Lookin' forward to seeing the rest of this study at the end of 2021!


– Tails of Tamarack – Ontario musky fishing (video)

– Musky spawn drone footage (video)

– Some Wisconsin boat ramps are now closed (link)

– Muskies Canada tourney on St. John River, NB (video)

– Big musky fly fishing on the figure 8 cast back (video)

– Minnesota DNR cancels spring egg take in 2020 (link)

– Musky tagging program needs help in James River, VA (link)

– Burnin’ Eights Q&A Seminar from WI Musky Expo (video)

– 49.25” Green Bay musky tournament catch, 2019 Titletown (video)

– Ohio netter charged with killing trophy musky and gar (link)

Musky Frenzylake labsbeavers baits


Looks like this Illinois musky downed a sack of potatoes before crunching @dmefishing's swimbait. Not bad for his first-ever musky!

Illinois Muskie Fishing

Feast your eyes on this 53-inch toad-a-saurus from Tim Connoy that lunched an 8/9 Stagger bucktail. Musky opener can't come soon enough up north!

Bucktail Musky Fish

This 50-inch nighthawk was a pleasant surprise for @mmdorow, barely squeezing into his walter-scoopin' net.

Night 50 inch muskies

Wanna be featured on Musky Insider? Send in your recent trophy musky photos by replying to this email. You might just see your pic in next week's newsletter. 🤙

Muskies Inc

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