The Gander Mt. Guide series is excellent stuff for the money. Go with the 7'6" MH musky rod and either the Guide Series reel or an Abu 6500 C3. A quality set-up at a very reasonable price. Spool up with 80lb. Power Pro and use a solid wire steel leader. Really look into replacing the snaps on the leader with split rings. It will eliminate most failures with your leaders and save you from the agony of lost baits and fish. With that set-up you'll be able to throw just about anything.
As far as baits go, you will definitely want some gliders. The two most fool-proof ones out there right now are the E.R. Hellhound and the River Run Manta. Perch and baitfish or crappie patterns will cover things pretty well. Phantoms and Bikini Baits like the Beer Belly and Turmoil are also must haves. You'll also need a few Jakes and Grandmas to cover you in the area of twitch baits and every box needs a couple Bulldawgs, the magnum dawgs are awesome. Topwaters can be summed up pretty easily. Weagles and Pacemakers. You need to get them. The Rylure will work awesome in the place of a Pacemaker though.
Most of the time on the water I rotate through 3-5 baits. The Weagle and the Turmoil are my 2 main baits and always see water. The Manta has really produced for me this year but mainly numbers not size.
For baits to use I'd go Local with the Hoosier Handmade Musky Baits. THe 6&7" Shad crankbaits are very good and his Gliders are as good as many that cost more, he even has topwaters now.. Another Indiana made bait is the Tippy Darter Glide Bait.
The Bikini Baits mentioned above are good. Haven't really given the Manta or Hellhound a good shot on the water, but will say the Hellhound is very effortless to work, darn near just reel without twitching the rod and it glides pretty good, add some twitches and it does more.
Rods reels, to start definitely a 6500c3 Garcia, when you get into it better then maybe start looking at your Calcutta400(Shimano), Penn International 965, and the Diawa cvz(I think thats the diawa model??). Avoid reels like Shimano's Corsair's, Catala's and I forget the third model.. The newer Corvalus isn't too bad so far, but I'd go 6500 to start. For rods I like St Croix Premier's, cost more then a Gander Guide rod, but are worth it.. Some guys really like the Bass Pro Pete Mania rods also.. What lakes you planning on fishing for Musky? That makes most of the difference as to where to find them. If you are fishing northwest In PM me and I can get you some ideas on what to use..etc.. I fish Musky mostly in NorthEast In around the Webster area, but have tried a couple in North west...
For leaders I'd ONLY reccomend Wisher brand: http://www.wisher-lures.com/ I have only had one snap fail and that was my fault for using a old leader.. If you want them without snaps you can order them from these guys that way. They are just starting to introduce leaders with split rings, they should be available at Fishing Connection in a couple weeks at the most..
For Ty Sennet's stuff try Fishing connection or acouple of the online retailers above may have them also.
Prices you should pay for Weagles: no more then $30-35 max, the new Baby should retail maybe around $20-30.
The Waubull(waubull is a glide bait made by the guy that makes weagles) $30-40 However demand has all these baits up pretty high right now. The Manufacture(Steve Cady of Musky Nut Tackle Company) should have some available on his website listed above around mid october.
Forgot about the Tippy Darters, only store I know for sure that has them is Number One Stop on SR13 about 2 miles south of North Webster, or contact Chae Dolson (the Manufacture of it) on the Webster Lake Musky Club website: http://www.websterlakemuskyclub.org/index.html
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