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The Musky Figure 8: Why does it work?

Cheeky Ambassador Brad Bohen hoists an enormous musky in WI

Muskies didn't earn the nickname "fish of 10,000" casts for no reason. Muskellunge are some of the most fickle fish in our waters. For decades, these freshwater beasts have driven anglers mad by their enormous size, yet seemingly impossibility to find and catch. They can grow to be enormous, topping 5ft in length and 60lbs, while packing all the explosiveness of the meanest northern pike. Yet for predatory fish of their size, muskies are remarkably reclusive. Many anglers have spent decades chasing these fish with minimal success. So you can understand why musky anglers have developed a repertoire of tricks and techniques over the years to help land these lunkers. Let's face it, when you're on cast 9,999, every tip matters. 

The figure-8 is the most well known musky tactic, and for good reason, it works. In this Pro Tips section, we'll break down what the musky figure-8 is, and why it's successful at generating strikes.

How to master the musky figure-8

The figure-8 should be performed on every retrieve when musky fishing and can be performed by both fly and spin anglers. Here's how to master the technique:

  1. Retrieve your fly or lure until only 18-24" of your line or leader is still in the water. You want to make sure you have control over your lure at all times during the figure-8.
  2. Dip the tip of your rod into the water 6-8". A longer rod here is better, as it will create a wider radius - giving a big musky more room to turn and follow your lure.
  3. With the tip of your rod submerged, write the number 8 in large arcs. Be fast, but not abrupt - try to maintain a steady and quick speed through the turns.
  4. Hold on. You likely won't see the fish lurking below until it strikes. If you do see the fish, REMAIN CALM, sudden stops or lurches will most likely throw the fish off its chase.

The 3-D action of the figure-8 can entice a leery musky to strike

Why does the figure-8 work?

Muskies are more wary than their quick-tempered cousins, northern pike. Drawing a figure-8 with your lure can entice a leery musky to strike more quickly, as it helps mimic a baitfish trying to escape, and will give your lure or fly a 3-D action that is hard to resist. The figure-8 is more than a last-ditch effort, it is an integral part of musky fishing, and should be performed at the end of every cast.

The ultimate musky fly reel: Cheeky Limitless 425

When you're casting 10,000 times, every ounce matters. That's why the insanely light Cheeky Limitless 425 is THE fly reel for musky fly anglers. At just 7.5oz, the Limitless 425 is a breeze to cast and packs more than enough power to stop the hardest-pulling musky without breaking a sweat.

Click here to shop the Limitless 425 now.

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