Gear

5 favorites: Mueller’s power fishing posse

A two-time Bassmaster Elite Series winner, Connecticut angler Paul Mueller has established himself as a versatile angler who can win on shallow, weedy Florida fisheries like the St. Johns River or deep, clear lakes like Lake Hartwell. Mueller recently offered a peak into his 5 favorite power fishing baits.
When he’s not on the road for Elite tournaments or sponsor obligations, Mueller guides full time on Candlewood Lake. On these waters, he has developed a power fishing acumen that translates well throughout his nationwide range. As Mueller explains, he has a preferred bait for each season, along with one he considers an “anytime” bait.
Depps Balisong Minnow. Mueller calls this jerkbait his all-season power fishing bait as it tempts fish from ice-out prespawn to shad spawns on Lake Fork, to summer patterns on the St. Lawrence River and fall on a TVA reservoir.
Noting that the Balisong Minnow never leaves his boat, Mueller said he’ll use either the 130 or 100 size to match the hatch. For example, when Candlewood prespawners are eating yellow perch, the larger bait gets the call. When St. Lawrence smallmouth target smaller baitfish, he’ll throw the 100.
Depps Evoke 2.0. Favoring this squarebill anytime the water temperature is 50 degrees and warmer, Mueller lauds the Evoke’s blend of balsa-like buoyancy and deflection with the superior durability of a plastic body. And when he’s targeting pressured fish, the silent presentation helps.
In 2021, Mueller threw the Depps Evoke 2.0 at the Elite on Neely Henry Lake and finished second. As he explained, this bait dives deeper than the popular 2.5 size squarebills, so he can present a more modest profile where fish are not used to seeing it.
Ima Little Stick. Summer often finds Mueller reaching for the Ima Little Stick 135 or the Baby Stick 105. Both, he said, do a great job of mimicking adult alewives on his home waters, but anywhere the fish are feeding up, he believes this pencil popper profile will earn the bites.
Mueller fishes his Ima topwaters with dressed and standard trebles. The former not only adds a deal-closing note of aft appeal, it also creates more drag for a slower action. When he wants maximum motion for aggressive fish, Mueller goes with the standard treble.
Ima Deep Diver. Mueller said this new bait, which he helped design, has yet to be formally named, but he’s confident it will become a staple in the deep-diving game, as it reaches 18-22 feet without relying on the magnum crankbait dimensions. 
Favoring this bait for the fall season, Mueller points to the gnawed-up bill of his Ima Deep Diver as evidence of the bait’s ability to get down, stay down and consistently grind the bottom.
Homemade Blade Bait. With a Do-It Molds ZV-5 model topping his winter arsenal, Mueller creates silver and gold body baits and often paints the weight with different glow colors to alter the subsurface appearance. The glow colors, he said, break up the profile and enhance the appeal.
While twin treble hooks are the norm, Mueller modifies his blade bait by replacing the rear treble with a 2/0 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Dropshot hook. To ensure the effective upright posture needed for effective connections, he mounts that single hook on two split rings.