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The Kayak Musky Challenge is an online tournament dedicated to the Muskellunge (Esox Masquinongy), a powerful Apex freshwater predator, and the unbelievable guys and gals who enjoy the challenge of catching them. The Kayak Musky mantra is simple; ‘Angler safety + Healthy release of the Skiis!’

With this slogan in mind, below are 8 steps for safely measuring a Muskellunge from a seat perched a foot above the water. In the four years of measuring Muskies from a kayak, I have found this process to be the most efficient. A quick, healthy release is the goal. These delicate, noble creatures deserve nothing less!

The tools listed below are what I would consider necessary if you plan on targeting these colossus sushi connoisseurs. Musky-specific measuring boards are essential for tournament anglers registered in the Kayak Musky Challenge and/or the Fish’n and Yak’n multi-species tournament or similar (check your local tournament regs).

Tools needed:

Musky sized net

Musky-sized rod and reel (especially if the big gurls are known to lurk in your area)

Long nose pliers

Hook cutters (small bolt cutters)

Left-hand 60″ Muskie Bumper or Handlebarz Bumper

1” x 6” PVC sleeve to keep the measuring board locked in place at the hinge.

GoPro or similar


How to hold and handle a Musky (YouTube)

Step 1. Catch a Musky. Net a Musky.

Step 2. Unhook the Musky. Cut hooks if necessary.

Step 3. Take a deep breath and calm your nerves. With your magnificent Musky “chilling” in the net (aka live well), there is no need to rush at this point. Next, slide your seat back as far as you can (easy to do when my Jackson Coosa FD seat slides on rails!) Now you’re able to lay the board flat in front of you, supported by each side of the kayak (move accessories from the side rails if necessary).

*Tip- An extended board laid across your lap is a recipe for disaster.

Step 4 aka GAMEPLAN. This is a very important step!!

Plan out the placement of tournament identifiers so they can be seen in your photos and video. I traditionally use my tethered phone to take a board photo, however, I’ve been deducted inches in the past when an awesome catch didn’t fit inside the frame. Since then, I have utilized GoPro footage as backup.

It’s a good idea to have your GoPro recording mounted in a position to capture both your board measurement and HERO shot. I find it best practice to have the GoPro (or similar) three or feet in front of my seat and pointed towards me. In this position, I can reach forward and press record if needed. I use a YakAttack Panfish Pro camera mount which gives me a ton of options for camera mounting anywhere on the gear tracks that run the length of my Jackson. Bonus- a GoPro angle from the front allows the angler to put two hands on a larger Musky.

Examples of both methods. Phone camera above measure vs. GoPro angle from front measure.

*Tip- A junk photo will frustrate the tournament judges and could lead to deducted inches or a DQ’d fish. As with any kayak fishing tournament, measurement photos need to be “on point!”

Step 5. Unfold the Musky measuring board.

*Tip- Use something to lock the hinge in place to ensure the board remains flat. A channeled piece of 1″ PVC seems to be the most effective device.)

Step 6. Lift the Musky. For stability, it’s best to lift the net towards the angler vs. reaching over the side to grab the Musky. Once the fish has been lifted high enough, support the Muskies weight (somewhere near the pectoral fin) with your free hand.

*Tip horizontal hold GOOD. Vertical hold BAD. Great examples of proper holds here Kayak Musky Instagram

Step 7. Lay the Musky on the board, ensuring the lip is touching the bump. Take your measurement video or photos.

*Tip- The Musky should be on the board no longer than 30 seconds max. There is no time to check your photos while the Musky is out of the water. (see step 4!…GAMEPLAN)

Step 8. Lift the fish off the board, supporting its weight with both hands and lifting for a horizontal HERO hold. Let the camera know just how excited you are to have battled with this sublime species (Epic hero shots are great for memories, dating profiles, and family Christmas cards). Next, gently place the beast back in the water and admire its symmetry before it swims off (you never know how long it will be before you hook into the next one!)

A full video of how the eight steps of measuring can be seen on the Kayak Musky IG page. Thanks for reading!