@eastman03 Apparently you set the hook like a man-beast! That's one difference between heavy-duty fishing and some of the light-duty stuff. A muskie has a much stiffer face than a bluegill. I had a buddy who was a strict bass angler, and he set the hook in a way that would literally rip the lips off a crappie. I hope you connect with a big one, and I'm envious of your far-north waters!
In terms of the topic at hand, I make primarily smaller baits (around 3" ) geared towards bass and panfish, though I've done some bigger stuff, but still geared towards bass. For most of my bass-sized baits I use twist wires in .032" or .051". I also sometimes use .062" for larger joints (especially if there's only one wire connection in the joint). The .062" stuff is pretty hard to bend, and requires a little more muscle. I've only been doing this for a couple years, so I don't have any long-term data, but one of my poppers in particular has caught over 30 bass and is still going strong.
For smaller baits (around 1") I prefer to use a through-wire, as the bait itself is more delicate and more likely to break if surprised by a fish larger than a bluegill or crappie.
This summer I caught 3 largemouth bass over 20" on baits I made, with twist wires, and they held up just fine.
That being said, if I ever shelled out $100 for a bait of any sort (which will never happen, as I make my own baits largely to avoid such expenses) and it broke like that, I would probably cry.