Man, I can't even estimate how many tiger musky I've caught over the last 3 or 4 years at Lake St. Clair, that's how much the tiger population has exploded. And what's cool is, this hybrid species of musky and pike is actually naturally reproducing in Lake St. Clair compared to a lot of the other lakes across North America that are basically stocked.
I remember 9 years ago when tiger musky were just itty bitties, lol, like this small tiger I caught here. A lot of the tiger musky have increased in size, now I'm sure there's plenty of small one's roaming around, but they don't seem as common as they were a decade ago. Many are have grown up!
Fire Tigers are an incredibly fun fish to catch, if you've caught at least 2 or 3 of them by now you've probably come to the realization what a hyperactive species of Esox this is. They don't have the typical characteristics of the great lakes musky also known as the spotted musky. I mean yes both musky are known for their fighting skills, but the way these tiger musky strike, fight till every second till they're netted, and even then they never stop thrashing in the net. I've noticed quite a few different characteristics in tiger musky versus spotted. And overall, it seems I've caught more tiger musky in the shallow regions of the lake versus the deeper, I suspect that might have to due with the genetic makeup of them being part pike. However, I know many musky charters still get some mammoth size tiger musky out in deeper water from time to time.
Boy did this tiger musky at Metropark hit my Blue Fox Super Bou like a freight train, I usually anticipate a followup strike when I'm reeling up my bucktail spinner near the edge of the shoreline or boat, but he totally caught me off guard and I could of never anticipated the way this tiger musky struck my bait. Or should I say thunderstruck, yes, that AC DC song comes to mind. He T-boned my bucktail right near the breakwall when I was about to pull my spinner out of the water, almost ripping my rod and reel out of my hands. It almost seems to me like this tiger musky was following the bucktail spinner soon as it entered the water and was running with his prey for quite some time. And that makes wonder why some musky sneak up on their prey from the left or right side, maybe they run parallel with their prey to avoid being noticed, kind of like stalking their prey what most predators do, maybe it's kind of like a blind spot to the prey? Musky without a doubt have evolved into becoming one of the best hunters in the lake, if not the best predator of the lake or should I say Apex Predator. It's very interesting how they pop their head up over the water and swim around like a snake, some say they are just venting their gills, while some say they are actually hunting.
From my experience, It seems a lot of tiger musky hit at the time when they're about to lose eyesight of their prey, which tends to be near the boat, near the seawall, shoreline, or when you're about to pull your bait out of the water. And really that's why I think a lot of fishermen get so many musky to strike on the followup, it just entices them to bite as they think they're prey is about to escape their clutches. As well as the figure 8 which kind of teases them a bit into striking. If you've seen the movie Jurrasic Park with the T-Rex, as Dr. Grant put it, T-Rex doesn't want to be fed, the T-Rex want's to hunt. Even Jon Bondy remarked about how some of his customers would just set their bait right on the musky head and expect the musky to bite, sorry it doesn't work that way.
They need to be teased in some sort of way to bite and usually that involves doing the figure 8. Sadly, it's not very easy performing this action from the shoreline, but I have seen some fishermen do it. However, I recently talked about why I think musky fishing from the shoreline actually invokes more strikes versus fishing on the boat. I suspect it has to do with the way the bottom meets the waterline at a rapid pace, from the musky's perspective, they almost feel like the walls are closing on him and he has limited time to bite before his prey gets away. I think in a way this either gives the fish anxiety or puts them into panic/attack mode to striking their prey.
But hey, not every bottom meets the waterline at the shoreline, as where I caught this tiger musky there was a cement wall and it was still 7-8 feet deep, but who knows, maybe the solid wall triggers a strike as well, Jon Bondy also referred to the breakwall triggering strikes. However, he kind of used an analogy of the boat being the breakwall, which he thinks also triggers strikes because musky tend to think the boat is a breakwall. I think he's right per sey, but I still don't think the boat triggers as many strikes as a solid cement seawall does or when the bottom meets the shoreline, in my experience. Out on the boat, a musky can basically swim by your bait and then just duck right underneath your boat, I've seen it happen many times. Way too many times actually! But hey, that's what the figure 8 is for to keep the musky enticed on the boat in deeper water, but it's a lot easier said than done.