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Muskie Fishing -> General Discussion -> Procedures for following fish
Message Subject: Procedures for following fish
Posted 6/27/2018 1:47 PM (#910895)
Subject: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 12

I just got back from a weekend trip up to Vilas County WI. Over the weekend, I raised 6 fish - 4 on a bucktail, 1 on a Suick, and 1 on topwater. However, each one of them turned away as I was going into the figure 8, or after the fist turn. I'd think out of 6, I at least would be able to convert one of those follows. So it had me wondering, going into the 8, I usually put my pole down about 6 inches or so to give the bait a little depth, is it possible that was spooking the fish? One the fish was even following my bucktail that was trailing about 18 inches of weeds, so some of these fish were definitely not being shy. Just wondering if you guys have any advice or tips to help convert these fish. After each follow, I did make sure to figure 8 for about another 20 seconds or so just encase the fish was lining up out of sight to strike. Thanks in advance
Posted 6/27/2018 2:04 PM (#910897 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: RE: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 116

I initially learned from watching Saric. Ben Olson on Keyes tends to do everything right boatside as well
Posted 6/27/2018 2:09 PM (#910899 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 229

Location: MN
- More action to amp up followers during the cast. Speed bursts, direction changes, cadence changes with jerkbaits. The fish won't necessarily eat out, but you may have better chance boatside.

- Try running the bait deeper as you approach the boat, then a big turn with elevation change to bring the bait up high, slowing down slightly. I find a good % of catchable fish eat either on the L-turn or they cut the bait off in that first turn.

- If still following, try reading and amping the fish up with direction, elevation, & speed changes. Big turns, natural motions. If one type of action gets the fish going more, keep doing it. Don't be afraid to really get moving if the fish likes speed.

BTW, it could easily be the case that none of those 6 were catchable. Sometimes they are just not active enough to bite. Lazily veering off at the boat is not a great sign of high activity.
Posted 6/27/2018 3:24 PM (#910910 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: RE: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 12

Awesome, thank you for the info. Also, what kind of bait do you usually throw as a throw back after a follow, or for going back to the fish during a moonrise or following night / morning? Same bait or something downsized?
Posted 6/27/2018 4:44 PM (#910922 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 745

If I could consistantly convert one out of six follows everyone that owns a.muskie rod would know my name.....

Edited by T3clay 6/27/2018 4:45 PM
Posted 6/27/2018 6:45 PM (#910931 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 16303

Location: oswego, il
As stated, the mood of the fish can dictate how eager they are going to pursue into a figure eight. More often than not it's the agressive fish that get caught in the 8 and it's mistskes that keep them from eating. The non agressive fish can be caught but even the best figure eight fisherman won't convert alot of those.

Edited by ToddM 6/27/2018 6:46 PM
Posted 6/27/2018 10:11 PM (#910948 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: RE: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 104

I think you've been given a lot of good tips, and sometimes it simply is that they aren't going to hit, and other times no matter how bad you screw it up they will still hit.

I had a friend of mine with me in Canada. He was a bass and walleye guy and I brought him along to Muskie fish. He had a problem with figure 8's, (problem as I would define it by not making big enough swings of the lure, stopping before the turn etc...).

Finally it was the end of the day and I'm watching him bring in his lure with a follow, a really nice fish. I had gotten to the point that I didn't want to keep hounding him about making bigger turns etc... He sees the fish and sweeps his bucktail up out of the water and all excited he swings the lure toward me and says; "I just had a big follow, it was right on the back of this lure" I said; "Its still there, put your lure back in the water" He did and as the lure hits the water a 47" Muskie crushes it!!! Water splashing, yelling, screaming and I got it in the bag. We measure it, high five, fist bump, giggle, and what ever else grown men do when they catch a Muskie. We take pictures, release it and things calm back down. I then explain to him that a figure 8 is a "horizontal" movement of the lure in the water, not a vertical movement of the lure out of the water. In hind sight, maybe we've been doing it wrong all this time.

Posted 6/28/2018 7:15 AM (#910963 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 13

Never look them in the eyes
Posted 6/28/2018 8:35 AM (#910971 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Location: Contrarian Island
I'm the opposite, I do look them in the eyes, best way to 'read the fish' is their eyes, and watching their tail....
Posted 6/28/2018 8:50 AM (#910976 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 1836

Here's my technique: A couple speed bursts, 2/3 Of the way back I sweep the rod to the right, 20 feet out I sweep to the left and speed up with my rod in the water, smoothly go into the 8, then yell STUPID FING FISH when it doesn't open it's mouth or go around on the 8.
Brad P
Posted 7/6/2018 9:32 AM (#911652 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 816

Something else to consider: The Figure 8 is mostly the same once you are into the turns. By contrast, the lead in, which IMO is the most important part, can/should be highly varied depending on the presentation/lure type. A few examples:

For rubber, it is typically coming in deeper, a quick burst of speed in the last 10' of the cast into the 8 is a worth adding to your routine.

For Blades, IMO, the figure 8 starts 15' out as you speed up and take the bait deeper (Vertical direction change) into the all crucial first turn.

For propbait Topwater, you should be speeding up the last 20' of the cast. I like to make a small direction change at the start of this acceleration. Once you get one to eat there, you'll do it every time.

I'm sure there are tricks for other baits as well as variations on the three I just threw out there. Would be great if others shared. YMMV. No absolutes in this sport.

Edited by Brad P 7/6/2018 9:33 AM
Posted 7/6/2018 1:38 PM (#911674 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Location: Contrarian Island
having seen about 1,000 butchered figure 8s (my own included) these are probably the 3 things I see most people do wrong.
1. slow their lure down when they see the fish... bad mistake, most fish will likely become less interested when you slow the lure down. that said one year on LOTW they did oddly want it slow and methodical in the figure 8.
2. they actually go TOO fast, there is a fine line between playing cat and mouse and simply going too fast.
3. hairpin corners...don't tie the fish into a pretzel!

my 2 cents.

Edited by BNelson 7/6/2018 1:39 PM
Posted 7/6/2018 5:24 PM (#911685 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 7502

1. As soon as you see a fish following, speed up. More often than not that gets them to go from 2-3 feet behind the bait to right up on it.
2. Add in a sweep of the rod to get a small change in direction as you get closer to the boat. Don't slow down!
3. Speed up going into your first turn - this is where their little brains go "crap, it's getting away!"
4. After you come past your feet, up and to the outside, slow up just a little - they are parallel to the boat, and you've just turned the lure sideways in front of their face. That's where most of mine hit, and you're in a perfect position to set the hook while the fish is headed away from you.
5. Smooth moves... You kind of have to plan for the fish being there, so you don't make any abrupt movements and scare them away. It's surprisingly easy to scare them away.
6. Do not hit the fish with the rod. They don't like that very much.
Posted 7/8/2018 8:32 AM (#911776 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 43

Lots of good advice here. I'll add a couple more thoughts:

1. Don't give up too early even if you don't see the fish chasing through the eight. Sometimes they'll move off a bit, reposition and reevaluate to return and eat. You got the fish to come that far, give 'em the opportunity to finish. I've had fish take over 2 dozen eights to commit.

2. If something doesn't happen on the first turn or shortly thereafter consider adding a 3rd dimension to the eight. If I've lost sight of the fish I'm generally on my knees submerging the rod into the water, often right up to the reel. Keep the eights nice and wide while you vary the depth. Can't tell you the number of fish that have eaten with my rod buried to the reel.

3. Practice your eights ON EVERY CAST! Then when the opportunity comes your performance will be automatic and well executed. Might even get a few bonus unseen followers to go as well.

On hooksets - If you can keep your wits about you (yeah, like you're not totally cranked up ) I like to try to set the hook back against the direction the fish is moving. Most of the time they hook themselves like that and often the hookup is in the corner of the mouth. I've gotten too excited and set without doing that and pulled lures straight out of their mouths. Additionally I always have my reel in freespool as I execute a figure eight with my thumb locking the spool for an anticipated hookset. If I get bit and hooked up I can let the fish run on controlled tension instead of a locked drag, get away from the boat just a bit to finish the battle. A good fish on a foot or two of line and a tight drag begs for an unhappy end. I'm sure there are other schools of thought on that but it works for me.

Good luck!
Top H2O
Posted 7/8/2018 11:26 PM (#911846 - in reply to #911776)
Subject: Re: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 3467

Location: Elko - Lake Vermilion
1) Don't wear bright colored shirts.... red, lime green, blaze orange..ect..
don't waste your time doing an 8 if you wear bright colors.

2) Be calm, don't freak out and make any abrupt body moves.

3) Wide, wide turns and keep about 12-16 inches of Rod tip in the water... some times bury it deeper.

4) What Mr. Nelson said.

5) Don't put an Eagle sticker on the side of your Boat..!! Stupid Fish !

Posted 7/12/2018 8:50 AM (#912148 - in reply to #910895)
Subject: RE: Procedures for following fish

Posts: 4

Landed one Saturday , first time out since Missouri trip . I had just reeled in , the fish followed the other guys bait to boat and went under the boat , looked a few feet down . I jabbed my rod down a few feet as soon as I moved it 37 inch . So I would say 2' down and 6" to the right . At least on that one . We had been casting at weeds and shore for around 2 hours water was 80 saw nothing so I took them out to a 10/12 feet nothing around had 3 follows in the next hour caught the one .
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