13 Essential Musky Fishing Lures!

top 18 Indiana game fish species

13 Essential musky fishing lures

This post will list the 13 essential musky fishing lures. While musky can certainly be caught using live bait, most are caught by anglers casting lures. Most of these are larger versions of lures designed for bass and other species. Muskellunge have a mouth full of teeth. For this reason, most anglers use a 12” to 18” steel leader. This also results in quick and easy lure changes.

13 essential musky fishing lures

Here are the top 11 Musky fishing lures;

  • Mepps Musky Killer

  • Eppinger Daredevil

  • Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait

  • Musky Double Cowgirl

  • Heddon Zara Spook Saltwater

  • Whopper Plopper

  • Suick Thriller

  • Reef Hawg

  • Bill Lewis RAt-L-Trap

  • Lixada Swimbait

  • #14 Rapala Shad Rap

  • Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow

  • #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

These 11 musky fishing lures will catch musky in every situation than an angler will encounter. Many will produce when both cast or trolled and they cover the entire water column.

Best musky fishing tackle

musky fishing lures

In most cases, anglers fishing for musky will do best with medium or heavy baitcasting tackle. These outfits are better suited to casting heavy lures and dealing with truly big fish. A 7′ rod with a fast action (strong butt section, limber tip) and a matching reel spooled with 40-50 lb braided line is a good all-round combination. Anglers choosing spinning tackle can use a similar rod with a 5000-6000 series reel

Anglers can click links to shop Amazon for musky baitcasting and spinning rod and reel combinations.

Best 13 musky fishing lures

Here is our list of the 13 essential musky fishing lures. These lures will cover every fishing situation that a musky angler will encounter.

1) Mepps Musky Killer

musky killer

Click this link to shop Amazon for Musky Killer spinners

The Mepps Musky Killer is aptly named! It is an inline spinner and is number one on our list of top 13 musky fishing lures. In terms of musky lures, it is fairly light, coming in at a little less than an ounce. It is 7 inches long. The Mepps Musky Killer is a legend amongst veteran musky anglers. It will catch fish and just about every situation and in any location. It is large enough to attract trophy musky while being light enough to cast for hours at a time.

Musky fishing video

This is a very versatile lure. It can be fished on or near the surface or as deep as 10 feet. The Musky Killer can be cast or trolled. It will catch fish in all seasons as well. They come in a wide variety of color patterns to match the local forage. In the waning light of late afternoon, a gold blade with a brown and orange tail is a good all-around combination.

One great thing about the Musky Killer is that it is very easy to use. The blades rotate easily, putting out a lot of flash and vibration. All the angler does is cast out, allow it to sink to the desired depth, then reel it back in using a steady rhythmic retrieve. As with all fishing, angler should vary the speed until a productive pattern emerges.

best musky fishing tackle

2) Eppinger Daredevl


Click this link to shop Amazon for Daredevl spoons

The Eppinger Daredevl is another iconic fishing lure. While many anglers associate it with northern pike, is extremely effective on musky as well. Most anglers go with the 1 ounce size, which is about 3 3/4 inches long. Like the Mepps lure above, it is relatively light in terms of a musky lure. This makes it fairly easy to cast for a long period of time. Some may consider it a nuisance, but as an added bonus it will catch plenty of northern pike along the way.

These spoons have a lot of built in action, making them easy to use for most anglers. The lure is cast out and allowed to sink a few seconds, then reeled back in using a steady retrieve, with some twitches and pauses in between. Again, the retrieve should be varied until a bite occurs. It is fairly versatile, and can be used over submerged weed beds, along weed lines, and even deeper around structure breaks such as channel edges and points.

top musky lures

The old school red and white daredevil spoon has caught a lot of fish over the decades. It is still a good choice for musky today. However, some anglers have gone to some of the more modern colors and finishes. Silver is a good choice on sunny days while gold works best on cloudy days and under other low light conditions. It is a versatile and durable bait that should be in every musky anglers tackle box!

3) Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait


Click this link to shop Amazon for Pikee Spinnerbaits

The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait is another very productive musky fishing lure. Again, this is a fairly light baits coming in at just over one half an ounce. This makes it a great choice for anglers who prefer to use spinning tackle or don’t have the stamina to cast a heavy lure all day long. Don’t let the size for you, it will catch plenty of trophy musky!

top 11 musky fishing lures

Most anglers choose models with bright colors. It has large blades which put out a lot of flash and vibration. This bait is specifically designed by Booyah for musky fishing, therefore it is a bit more durable than other baits made for bass and pike. It is a fairly easy lure to use with a ton of built in action. Steady retrieves work best and it can be worked throughout the entire water column. Spinner baits are also a bit more weedless than spoons than in line spinners, making them an excellent choice in heavier weeds.

4) Musky Double Cowgirl

double cowgirl

Click this link to shop Amazon for Musky Double Cowgirl lure

This bait made by Musky Mayhem is another excellent musky lure with a proven track record. It is very durable and built to last and is one of the best spinners for musky. It is number four on the list of top musky fishing lures. This is an excellent bait for novice anglers as it has a ton of built in action and works well with a slow, steady retrieve.

This is a larger bait, coming in at around 10 inches long and weighing close to 3 ounces. The pair of blades put out a ton of flash and vibration, even at slower speeds. It is an excellent lure to try when the sun is out and the musky are a bit less aggressive. It is excellent when fished over and through submerged weed beds as well is around other cover such as sunken trees and submerged rock piles.

5) Heddon Zara Spook Saltwater

saltwater spook

The Heddon Zara Spook is a legendary topwater plug. It has no built in action, anglers use a ‘walk the dog” retrieve. This is done by keeping the rod tip low and twitching it. The bait will dance from side to side. The saltwater versions have stout hardware and hooks.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Zara Spook lures

6) Whopper Plopper

whopper plopper

Click this link to shop Amazon for Whopper Plopper lures

The Whopper Plopper is a relative newcomer to the fishing game, compared to some of these other old-school baits. However, it is extremely effective. This is a top water lure. It puts out a ton of commotion on the surface due to its concave face along with the action of the tail.

These baits are very effective at pulling fish out of deeper weed beds. It is an excellent choice in the summer time when water temperatures are a bit higher. The commotion of this bait will draw some heart stopping strikes! If there is one drawback to this lure, it is that it is not as durable as some others. However, this will not be an issue when a trophy musky grabs!

7) Suick Thriller

suick thriller

Click this link to shop Amazon for Suick Thriller lures

The Suick Thriller has been around almost a century. It truly is one of the original musky fishing lures and belongs in every serious musky anglers tackle box. It is a proven veteran still catches plenty of fish to this day. The Suick Thriller comes in several different sizes, ranging from 7 inches long to 10 inches long. Unlike some other lures, the Suick Thriller does not have much built in action, the angler must impart it to the lure.

This is basically a jerk bait. It is very effective when ripped through weed beds and is a very durable bait as well. It is perhaps not the best choice for novice anglers, as it does take a bit of practice to master the rhythmic retrieve that is required to catch fish. However, the effort put in to learn how to use this bait will pay off with trophy musky.

8) Reef Hawg

reef hawg

The Reef Hawg is in the family of glide baits. They are not as popular as they used to be, but are still very effective. This lure is made to work deeper than some of the other lures listed above. They can be used for both casting and trolling and are a good choice in cooler months when there is less weed growth and the fish have moved a bit deeper.

9) Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap


Lipless crankbaits are another effective family of musky fishing lures. The one name that stands out is the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap. These lures sink slowly and put out a ton of flash and vibration on a steady retrieve. The largest 3/4 ounce model works best, with a 1 1/2 ounce Super Trap available. Chrome with a blue back is the top color. These are very easy for novice anglers to use as they have so much action on their own. They will hang on weeds, so areas of more sparse vegetation are better areas to use them. Rat-L-Trap lures work very well when trolled.

Anglers can click links to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

10) Lixada swimbait


Click this link to shop Amazon for Lixada swimbaits

This segmented, multi-jointed lure is a bit of a combination between a crank bait in a swimbait. These segments cause a to swim in a very lifelike manner. The bait sinks slow enough that it can be worked both near the surface and at deeper depths. It is a very durable bait with large, quality treble hooks.

In most instances, a slow steady retrieve a few feet below the surface works best. This is particularly true over submerged weed beds. The flash in action are astounding and this is a proven musky lure. This is a big bait, coming in at a full foot long and almost half a pound. Smaller versions of this lure are available, too.

11) #14 Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

Click this link to shop Amazon for Shad Raps

This large crankbait is a very productive musky fishing lure that is popular with many anglers. It is a heavy bait and is effective when both cast and trolled. The yellow perch and fire tiger patterns work well. It has a lot of built in action. A slow steady retrieve with some hard jerks and pauses generally works best. Slow trolling with this bait is very effective in the wintertime.

12) Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow

blitx bite

The Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow is another very lifelike swim bait style lure. Anglers can tell from the first glance at it is a quality bait. It is 8 inches long and weighs 3 ounces. Like most of these lures in this family, a slow steady retrieve works best. The lure will swim through the water in a very natural manner. The bait is made from plastic and is fairly durable, all things considered.

13) #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

Click this link to shop Amazon for Husky Jerk lures

Rapala is the name in the industry when it comes to jerkbaits. It is no exception when it comes to musky fishing as well. That is why the #14 Husky Jerk finishes off the list of the 13 essential musky fishing lures. This is a long and slender bait that is fairly easy to cast and work all day. It comes in a variety of colors, with gold and fire tiger being proven finishes.

The key to the effectiveness of a jerkbait is its ability to suspend in the water column. The angler retrieves the bait for a few feet then twitch is it hard followed by a pause. During this pause, the bait hangs there, seemingly motionless and helpless. This is often times when the fish attacks! It works well when either cast or troll. It also has a rattle and it as well.

In conclusion, this article on the 13 essential musky fishing lures will help anglers select the best lures and in turn catch more fish!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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