5.THE ROUGH RIDER
▶ Hamernick’s take on topwater fishing bucks the mindset of other muskie hunters. “I’ll tie one on when the wind is cranking,” he says. “These fish can get really amped up when there’s a surface chop. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen them go after a bait three or four times.” When Hamernick sees 2-foot waves, he targets the shorelines and rocks that are getting most heavily pounded by the wind. He says the muskies often feed in the most turbulent water tight to the bank. “If you’ve never seen a muskie jump straight through a wave to hit a topwater, it’s quite the spectacle,” Hamernick says. He prefers propbaits for their ability to surf the chop and make more noise than the kicked-up water is making. Hamernick’s top lure choice— which he says can be fished in the nastiest weather—is the Drifter Tackle Pacemaker.