If you have the heartiness to spend days out on frozen ice trying to land slow moving and cold fish, you deserve to have the benefit of tips and techniques learned through the years by hard-core ice fishermen. Knowing a few of these inside tips and tactics helps you land the fish you seek, making the time spent in the cold worth it.
Using the proper lures helps stack the deck in your fishing favor as well, hopefully resulting in a full creel for your efforts.
Vertical jigs for ice fishing are designed with the shank of the hook running parallel to the line. For days when the fish are sluggish and not enticed to chase the lure for strikes, try using a vertical jig These flat and long lures do wonders to entice these slow and sluggish fish into strikes, reports the anglers at Ice Leaders website, an online site dedicated to ice fishing.
Try a Shrimpo or Speckled Grub jig. These lures are very good at crappie and bluegill winter time fishing, as they mimic the natural feeder fish these species prefer.
Horizontal jigs are designed with the shank of the hook running perpendicular to the fishing line. This design gives the jig a sort of kicking motion as the tail end of the jig bounces up and down, while the front, or head of the jig remains fairly still.
These lures are effective during most conditions, but are particularly successful when the fish are moving and ready to eat. Bounce a Pumpkinseed, Rat Finko or Ratso off the lake bottom for wintertime bluegill, crappie or pike. The anglers at Ice Leaders employ these lures with success in the northern Midwest states.
In addition to using either a horizontal or vertical jig, try setting the line with an Ice Buster Bobber, a sort of foam bobber that shows the subtle strikes of winter time fish.
Deadsticking is an effective way of getting your daily limit when fishing for species that are easily spooked or prone to being skittish. Place a rod holder next to your ice hole, or use any method of restraining your reel and rod. Tip downs are effective for deadsticking as well. Place your reel and line over the holder and set the line to a specific depth. After this, keep your hands off.
This method keeps the line at a static level and you away from the edge of the hole where the fish may hear you, smell you or otherwise be driven away. Keep your eye on the line as you set away from the ice hole, until the line begins to move. At this point, get up, grab the line and set the hook.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.