Use only a very large coated landing net! The NMA recommends the Beckman Fin Saver.
- NEVER BRING A NETTED MUSKY INTO THE BOAT!
- NEVER DROP OR LAY A MUSKY ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT!
- LEAVE THE MUSKY’S HEAD IN THE WATER SO THAT IT CAN BREATHE!
- If you plan on taking a picture, limit yourself to one quick photo!
- Never hold a musky vertically! Always support their belly and take a firm grasp of their gill plate (not gills) for photos.
- A musky should NEVER be out of the water for more than 20 seconds?
- Use very heavy rods, reels and tackle. Fight the musky quickly! Long battles decrease the musky’s chance of survival after release!
- Always Cut hooks! Don’t rip them out! The NMA recommends Knipex hook cutters.
- Leaders made from stainless steel wire are a must for musky fishing!
- Muskies can bit through fluorocarbon leaders! You are only fooling yourself if you think they can’t!
- Stringease Stay-Lok snaps are the most reliable snaps on the market. Use them or heavy split rings to connect your leaders to your lures.
- If you don’t plan on taking a photo of your catch, allow the musky to swim off without handling it at all.
- Only use jaw spreaders when necessary. Hand them to your partner open to reduce release time.
- We strongly caution against the use of cradles! Wear eye protection if you use them!
- Have multiple pairs of pliers on board in case you drop one into the drink.
- Wet your measuring surface before you place a musky on it. This will help eliminate slime loss.
- Larger fish are the key to our natural reproducing fishery and they are MORE prone to post release mortality! Please handle them with great care and always be nice to the ladies!
If the musky appears stressed, handle it as little as possible! The musky is stressed if:
- Its fins appear red or are bleeding!
- Its skin appears reddish!
- Its eyes roll back in its head or appear glazed!
- It can’t remain upright in the water! A belly up musky is really stressed and should never be removed from the water!
Do you really need another picture of a mid-thirty inch fish? Consider only taking pictures of special fish. My rules for taking pictures are:
- A partner's first musky.
- A partner's personal best.
- A tournament fish (required by our rules).
- A fish that I think will place in our yearly Top Ten.
- Most fish over 45-inches.
If you follow these guidelines, you'll over handle far less fish which will result in more healthy releases. It is very important to remember that larger fish are more susceptible to stress and post release mortality from over handling.
Take extra special care when handling larger muskies please!