As you've probably guessed by now, that little rod that worked great on bluegill and perch won't cut it with a 50-inch (127 centimeter) muskellunge.
Many musky anglers used to swear by rods that you could think of like pool cues - short and thick. Recently, however, more fishermen have been switching to longer, lighter rods. Six-and-a-half and 7-foot (2 and 2.1 meter) rods have become more popular because they allow greater flexibility and versatility, since you can get your line out farther and cover more ground with greater agility. And seriously consider the weight of your rod. You'll want to make sure it's strong enough to withstand an enormous fish, but light enough for you to handle. A few ounces may not seem like much, but after 10,000 casts to catch one fish, your arms will thank you.
Once you've selected the perfect rod, don't use just any old line. Previously, Dacron line was the most popular because it was strong and didn't stretch. However, just as anglers have been switching to longer, lighter rods, many have switched their preferences on their lines as well. The new braided super lines have become popular with many anglers because it's thinner and doesn't stretch [source: Myhre]. Though the weight of the line must be strong enough so that it doesn't break under the heavy weight of a muskie, many anglers say muskies can see the thick line and are less likely to go for your lures. Thicker lines also mean a greater water resistance, during which the water disruption can offend the fish -- not to mention make your arm tired even more quickly.
Since now you've got the basics down, polish up your wall plaque and call your local taxidermist -- you're coming home with a treasured trophy.