A Good Musky Rod and Reel Setup

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musky rod and reel setup

If you've decided to try your hand at catching a musky for the first time then you might be aware that a lighter bass or trout setup quite simply isn't going to cut it.

Let's face it musky are the largest freshwater predatory fish that most people will probably target.

Unless of course you happen to be lucky enough to take a fishing vacation to some exotic place that have giant river monsters lurking there.

Musky are big;

Really big and you need the right tackle to handle them.​

Below we'll discuss a decent casting setup. Ultimately the ​best musky reel  that you can afford and the right length rod paired with a strong enough line is the basis for the right musky tackle selection.​

Musky Rod and Reel Setup

A good musky casting setup that is a proper balance between reel, rod and line will give you the best results.

A bad pairing of any of those with the others will certainly ​result in not getting the best possible performance from all of them.


A musky setup for casting is almost always going to require a baitcasting reel.

Sure a large size 4000 or 5000 spinning reel is strong enough to handle a large muskie but if you are casting all day on a heavy spinning setup it can become really tiring.

A baitcaster gives you the ability to cast one handed. Hit the button, flick the lure out and control with your thumb on the spool.

That being said there is a learning curve to using a casting reel so if you have only ever used a spinning reel then it really is worth taking the time to learn.

Most people fear the dreaded birds nest.

Modern baitcasters have come a long way so don't be deterred. The best bet is to get someone experienced to show you how to use it.

And yes as a beginner you may get a few birds nests and that may be a little annoying but everyone goes through the same process.

One thing for sure is that once you master the technique are likely to never go back to a spinning setup unless of course you are looking to use really light tackle as that is where it excels.​


​The best musky rod will have a heavy to medium-heavy fast action ​and is the usual the go to choice for musky fishing.

Length wise you should be looking at least a 7'6" rod. My personal preference is for an 8'6" fast action rod with a heavy power rating.

This may be a longer rod than you are used to be it is worth it. The longer rod with larger lures makes for some very long casts assuming everything is matched up right.

Longer casts give you the ability to cover a lot more water in a day. This is something that is often overlooked.​

A heavy action rod will have a lot more backbone than a lighter one. Musky are heavy fish and the rod really needs to be up to the job of absorbing a lot of the energy these big fish can put down against you.

The fast action is preferred for a good casting performance. A Fast action rod will start to bend a lot closer to the tip versus a slow action which will begin to bend closer to the reel seat.

Bending at the tip allows you to load the rod blank for a much longer cast. Think of the blank as a spring that is loaded on your back cast. You want all of the power that you put into it to whip the lure out quickly.​


If you are casting then the go to choice is going to be braid. Especially when using a baitcaster.

Most musky fishermen will opt for braid that is at rated at least 50 lbs . That's at a minimum. It is not uncommon for those targeting large musky to use 80 lb braid all season.

Braid not only casts well on a baitaster but it has the added advantage of being able to slice through weeds a lot easier than mono. This is due to the diameter being smaller than the equivalent rating monofilament line.

It also has a lower stretch than mono. A lower stretch in the line mean more precise hook settings and will generally give you a lot more sensitivity.​


A big strong wire leader is a must on any musky rod and reel setup.

Take one look into the jaws of a musky and you'll see row after row of sharp teeth. This teeth will make light work of either braid or mono.

A good wire leader should give you a lot more confidence once the strike comes that the fish will not slice it's way through your line. ​

  • November 28, 2018
  • Musky
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