Best fishing line for musky fishing

The Best Braided Fishing Line for Musky Fishing

The musky, or muskellunge, is a freshwater fish that can grow to over six feet long and weigh over 60 pounds. Due to their elusive and aggressive nature, many anglers consider muskies the ultimate freshwater game fish. Whether you're a seasoned musky angler or hoping to catch your first, this guide will give you the insight you need to land your next big one. 

Characteristics of Muskies

The musky is known as the fish of 10,000 casts because they like to hide and are sedentary. You have to cast where they are if you hope to tempt one with your bait. 

They're also smart — evidence shows they learn when anglers are around and actively avoid lures. Genetics may play a role. People harvested muskies for years, and the less intelligent fish were caught, leaving the wilier fish to pass on their sneaky genes. 

Finding Muskies

You can't just head to your local lake and expect to catch a musky. Though native to the U.S., they're found in only about half of the states. Many prime fishing locations, such as Florida, are too hot for oxygen-loving muskies. Muskies need at least five to six parts per million of oxygen to thrive, which is found in water cooler than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

And while they'll eat a wide range of smaller fish, including shad, cisco, carp, and other oily fish, you'll need to ensure the lake you have in mind stocks these forage species. You can check with your state's DNR, a local tackle shop, or online forums for this information. 

The Best Equipment for Musky Fishing 

Musky fishing isn't a cheap hobby, so you may be tempted to buy the least expensive options whenever possible. However, investing in the right equipment upfront will not only help you succeed but will keep your costs lower in the long run. You'll need the following equipment to get started. 

Release tools

Yes, before you arm yourself with the tools you need to catch musky, you need the right tools to release them. With their sharp teeth and aggressive nature, releasing musky can be almost as difficult as catching them.

We recommend using a good pair of gloves designed to protect your hands from braid cuts, scrapes, and bites. Some fishing gloves are even made with material stronger than Kevlar!

We recommend you always release muskies. As top-of-the-food chain predators, muskies will always be the lowest-density fish in any lake. While they aren't endangered yet, their population is in decline. 

You'll need the following tools: 

Rod and reel

Given their size and weight, you need a strong fishing rod for muskies. A heavy bait casting rod and reel combo is your best option. You'll be casting large, heavy lures, and a baitcasting reel can give you the drag system you'll need to fight such a big fish. Baitcasters also do well with the type of heavy braided fishing you need to reel in muskies. This is one area where you shouldn't skimp. A cheap reel won't withstand the force of reeling in a musky. 

We've had the best success with rods that are at least seven feet long with fast action. Fast rods give you the heft you need at the end but are limber at the tip. They're flexible enough to cast heavy lures and have the strength to fight an angry musky. If possible, get a rod that's all one piece. Storing it will be harder, but the extra strength is worth it. 

Line: What braid is best for a musky? 

A braided fishing line is the best choice for catching muskies. Although you can buy a heavyweight monofilament line, a braided line has several advantages that make it a superior option. 

The best braid for musky fishing.

A braided musky fishing line is thinner than a monofilament line of the same weight. It's more sensitive and easier to cast. A braided line can easily handle the type of large bait muskies crave and will make it easier to reel the monsters in. The best line for musky that we've found is FINS XS Big Game Fishing Braid in a 50 to 80-pound weight. If you're feeling lucky or just want the extra strength, go with the 100 to 150-pound weight


Musky can be caught with live bait, but we usually use lures. We'll cover some recommendations below, but first, you need to know about figure eight casting.

When fishing for muskies, every cast should end in a figure eight. This type of casting mimics the erratic movement of an injured fish. You use it when a musky has spotted your bait and is following it but has yet to strike. It works with any type of lure. 

To perform a figure eight, cast your bait out and retrieve it in a straight line until it gets near the shore or boat. Then make a sharp turn with your rod and reel it in using a figure eight pattern just under the water's surface. It can be challenging to master, but this technique is very effective for landing an elusive muskie. 

Here are some of the best bait options for catching muskies: 

  • Soft plastics: While these don't resemble anything muskies eat, they're quick to take the bait. 
  • Bucktails: This popular bait produces vibrations that attract muskies. 
  • Glide baits: These are tricky to work with but good for cooler water or when you can't get muskies to respond to anything else. 
  • Topwater strikes: These are fun baits that can lead to action-packed strikes. They're an excellent option for warmer waters. 

Landing Your First Musky

Few things are as exciting for an angler as landing their first musky. In our experience, musky fishing can be a rewarding adventure for people of all ages and skill levels. With a little research, practice, and patience — along with the right equipment — you won't have to cast 10,000 times to catch your first musky.

Looking for more information about choosing the right fishing braid?

The experts at FINS are ready to help. Contact us today!
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