Use a Double-Bladed Bucktail for Monster Muskies

These giant bucktails are the hottest muskie lures on the market, and for good reason.

One of them could be Daryl Hannah's earring from the remake of Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Instead, these gaudy bucktails are the hottest muskie lure going. "They're flashy, but they're not a flash in the pan," says Jay Esse of Rollie & Helen's "World's Largest" Musky Shop (muskyshop.com) in Minocqua, Wis. "They're proven big-fish baits." A pair of No. 10 blades form the basis of the lure. When retrieved, they vibrate through the water, creating a vacuum behind them. This imparts a lifelike motion to the tail, triggering a big fish to attack. Here's how to make them work for you:

1. The Baits The 10-inch, 3/8-ounce Double Cowgirl is the bait that started it all, and it's still a bestseller. But other large bucktails, like the Llungen DC-10 and Shumway Giant Flasher, are solid producers. "No one color stands out," Esse says. "Match the hue to the water conditions: black in turbid water, bright colors in stained, and silver in clear, for example."

** 2.The Tackle** "A long rod is key for casting and controlling these big baits," Esse says. Go with an 8- to 8 1/2-foot, heavy-power, fast-action model, like St. Croix's new PM86XHF, and a large, low-speed levelwind like the Abu Garcia 7000. "This type of reel makes for easy cranking with plenty of power, and the big spool gives you a good rate of retrieve." Load it with 80-pound Cortland Spectron or Spiderwire Stealth.

3.The Presentation Late in the summer, head out at night and crawl the baits over structure that's 5 to 10 feet deep, such as rock bars. Run the lure just fast enough to cause the blades to spin.

Plunge the tip of your rod into the water and make a figure eight at the end of each retrieve when the lure is about 3 feet from the boat. "For some reason, these lures really turn followers into biters at the boat. If a muskie is following your lure all the way back without striking, work the figure eight for 30 seconds or more. There's a great chance he'll clobber it."

GEAR TIP: Musky Mayhem Tackle Double Cowgirl

The Double Cowgirl packs a punch and carries a hefty price, but no one can question its productivity. Esse estimates that anglers using this lure caught almost 300 50-plus-inch muskies in 2007. The flashabou skirting gives it great action, and the two 7/0 Mustad hooks improve your chances of hooking up.
--D.H.