Bucktails and muskies have a long history together.
I spent a day on the water throwing a few of Musky Mayhem's line of Cowgirl bucktails with Travis Nielsen of The Hookup Fishing Guide Service. This Minnesota-based tackle company has taken the musky fishing industry by storm. I wanted to see firsthand what all the fuss was about. It didn't take long to realize why these flashy lures have earned such a positive reputation.
We utilized three different versions: the Double Cowgirl, Micro Double Cowgirl (MDC), and Jr. Double Cowgirl. These bucktails are perfect for buzzing over the tops of early season weed beds.
1. MDC Micro Double Cowgirl
Throwing gigantic musky baits for an entire day on the water can be exhausting. Weighing in at only 3/4 oz., this miniature version is heaven on the arms. We were casting them on typical heavy duty gear used for muskies, but they can also be paired with medium action bass rods and bait casters spooled with 50-pound braid.
These little flashers are perfect for burning, as Travis mentioned in his short video, which consists of speed reeling them over the tops of cabbage beds. This technique is perfect for the warming waters of early season. Musky metabolisms are really starting to heat up this time of year, and they can't resist the aggressive retrieve that's possible with such a small bucktail.
Micro Double Cowgirls are also excellent at catching a variety of fish. This appeals to Travis as a guide because it gives his clients opportunities to get some bonus fish in the boat. Some days musky fishing can be painfully slow, and his clients might not even get a glimpse of this toothy ghost. Pike, bass, and even the occasional walleye are attracted to this lure, too. I was lucky enough to experience this myself, as a respectable pike tested the durability of my gold-colored MDC.
2. Jr. Double Cowgirl
Slightly heavier than the MDC, Jr. Double Cowgirls weigh in at 2.3 ounces. They also create a stronger vibration in the water due to the beefier spinning blades. Musky Mayhem bucktails are famous for their hand tied flashabou skirts, and the Jr. Cowgirl comes dressed in an array of these sparkling tentacles. Varieties of all 3 versions of this lure can be found at Cabela's, and many other retailers.
Last year on Rainy Lake, Ontario, I used one of these for the first time. Compared to other standard bucktail hair lures, the results were astonishing. The intense flash and vibration exhibited by the Jr. Cowgirl attracted many more follows. It was clear to me that this newer version was much more effective.
3. Double Cowgirl
For Travis and I, the Double Cowgirl is what did the trick on our particular early season outing. Measuring at 10 inches long, this size is what appealed to the appetite of our target species. Travis made the switch to this meaty profile during a period of the day where we hadn't even raised a musky for quite some time. The switch paid off and we were two proud musky hunters. An observation that I had made about how many small largemouths were swimming in the area tipped us off. Travis selected a Double Cowgirl wearing a green and chartreuse flashabou skirt, matching the hatch as closely as possible.
Mayhem ensued as he casted down a weed channel which had been created by a vegetation mulching boat. These weed channels were being cut by the freshwater lawn mower as it sliced paths through the cabbage bed within the bay. Casting our bucktails down the center of these channels allowed us to locate numerous muskies. These areas were perfect ambush spots for predatory fish, and using weedless Cowgirls was essential to fishing this environment efficiently.
Travis and I tested these lures on two of Iowa's Great Lakes: Spirit and Okoboji. They are located over 100 miles south of Musky Mayhem's shop location in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. I was thoroughly impressed with the overall quality of their products. You can tell that each lure is individually crafted by hand, includes incredibly sharp hooks, and possesses the fine details needed to fool some of the weariest freshwater lake monsters.