Perhaps one of the most versatile lures in the musky hunter’s arsenal, bucktails of varying styles and sizes are an integral weapon for the bulk of the season here in the upper Midwest. While weather and water conditions dictate which model to throw, here is a simple guide to one of the best choices for the “dog days” of August – the double-ten.

Double-tens have garnered immense popularity over the past several years and for good reason – they catch big muskies and lots of ‘em! With water temperatures at their peak in August and muskies metabolisms subsequently ramped up, the large profile and distinct thump of the double-ten makes it a veritable musky magnet. Double-ten bucktails, such as my personal favorite the Mepps H210, sport twin #10 magnum blades that produce maximum flash and vibration.

While double-bladed bucktails such as the Mepps H210 are indeed effective summertime musky presentations, to consistently and effectively fish for the oft-needed long periods of time requires the correct equipment. For starters, long stout rods are a must; models such as Wisconsin’s own St. Croix Rods 8’ 6” ‘Sling Blade’ and 9’ ‘Big Nasty possess not only the length and leverage to cast and maneuver these over sized offerings for hours on end, but the backbone to absorb the added resistance and vibration from the beginning of the cast all the way through the figure-eight at boat side.

Reels for fishing with double-ten style bucktails typically excel best when they feature lower more powerful gear ratios. Gear ratios of 4.6:1, such as on the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Winch help alleviate the strain of retrieving hard pulling lures like double-tens on equipment and angler alike. Spooled with a quality braided fishing line such as Sufix Performance Braid or 832, this powerful tool will make you appreciate its slower but powerful retrieve. When selecting a super braid, be sure and choose one with an equivalency diameter of at least 20# test, preferably more – the larger surface area will hold up much better to the constant heat and friction of retrieving a large hard-pulling offering than a line with a smaller diameter.

Double-ten bucktails are effective when worked over and around cover during the day, but especially at night. Weed beds, stump fields, underwater points, and rock bars are all excellent areas to begin casting double-tens for August muskies. The added thump, flash, and vibration allows the mighty musky to key in on the bait, even during the darkest of nights. For night fishing, a black/black H210 is an excellent choice; when fishing during the day, look to brighter more vibrant colors for stained water, while more natural hues tend to shine for clear water applications.

While water temperatures here in Northern Wisconsin are lower than typical due to the below-average temperatures, anglers still need pay heed to proper CPR – catch, photo, and release. As I have written time and again, the successful release of trophy fish require preparations on behalf of the angler. Preparation begins by keeping a “release kit” in the boat at all times and in good working order. Start by taking a Plano 1470-00 Large Polycarbonate Waterproof Case and filling it with the tools necessary for proper release of a musky: long-nosed pliers, bolt cutters, hook-out, and a fish-friendly jaw spreader. Release gloves are a good idea as they not only protect your hands from sharp teeth and gill rakers, but help minimize the amount of protective slime removed from the fish during landing and handling.

Aside from the ‘release kit’, arguably one of the most important tools when catching and releasing muskies, regardless of their size, is a proper landing net. Frabill, the hands-down leader in landing net design and technology, offers a couple of solid options for the musky hunter. My personal favorite, the 40” x 44” “Big Kahuna” – a net featuring Frabill’s Brute Hoop design and revolutionary PowR-Lok yoke system, also sports a special knotless mesh that is easier on a fish's sensitive scales, eyes, slime coat and fins.

August is H210 time – double your musky strikes with a double ten! I’ll see you on the water…

Tight lines,