For someone who has never musky fished, or has done it only a couple times, you don’t need to be intimidated by the big equipment and big price tags. For an entry level musky hunter, you can get yourself a quality rod & reel along with some good baits for less than $150 dollars………….
As an entry level musky hunter, don’t even concern yourself with the $200-$300 rods you see from the best brands. Only the very experienced fisherman really understand the subtle differences that these rods offer. You need to be looking for a musky rod less than 50 bucks.
So how do you know what size is right? Generally, you can just look at the biggest rods on the rack (unless you are near saltwater gear). But when you are searching online for the right rod to buy, you need to look at the Power and Lure Weight rating (and also length of the rod).
Each rod is deemed a flexibility power (UL, L, ML, M, MH, H). Most musky rods will be Medium (M), Medium Heavy (MH), or Heavy (H). For your first rod, I would strongly recommend a Medium Heavy power. This will allow you to cast very large baits and even some of the smallest.
For most freshwater fish, the lure weight rating will be somewhere around 1 ounce and below, but when you are talking about big bad muskellunge, you need to look for something a tad bit bigger. You will want to try and find a rod with a lure weight rating of something like 1/2-3, or 1-4 ounces. By choosing a rod that has a rating around 1, and up to 3 or 4, you can use a wide variety of lures/sizes. This is definately something to keep in mind for the beginner musky hunter.
I’ve added a section for length, not because I think it is important for your first rod to be the right length, but for your knowledge when buying future rods. Different lures work well with different rod lengths. A long rod tends to have more whip to it, when you cast it, allowing a lighter lure to go farther. But casting a really heavy lure on a long rod can sometimes be too much of a load on the rod and you end up with birdsnests in your reel, because of a whiplash reaction with the line, reel, and rod. If that sounds confusing, let me just say that I recommend a rod between 6′-6’6″ for your first rod.
Keep in mind these are general recommendations, on the assumption you plan on using many different sizes/styles of lures.
Hopefully you weren’t overwhelmed by reading through most of the material above. The main thing I want you to focus on is the Key Features for Your First Musky Rod section. If you stay close to those recommendations, you will be happy with your purchase, and should rarely find yourself in a situation where a fishing lure doesn’t work for you.