I was brought up to hunt and fish by doing things differently. “If you do what every else is doing, expect the same results”, is what my Father always told me. Trying different things brings different outcomes.
There is not one most important thing when fishing. That is why no matter how long we fish, there will always be a new lesson to learn or remember. The other day ice fishing was the perfect example.
The lagoon that I was fishing was full of yellow perch. Fishermen with electronics were marking fish. Most fishermen however were getting skunked. The first hole that I dropped my rig into produced a fat keeper. Fishing was hot and heavy as several other fishermen came nearby to see what I was doing differently.
Warm water fishermen are way different than fly fishermen. They share information and snacks when fishing. Ice fishing on a lake is like fishing in a bar. Everyone is talking and sharing another round.
Their rigs were similar but with some simple differences. First I noticed that I was the only one using colored line. My hi-vis Golden Stren line was easily visible in the low light. I had straightened the line to remove the memory that often coils in most ice holes. My 4 lb. test line was way lighter than most guys fishing 10-15 lb. test. I also attached a small barrel swivel to my Golden Stren and attached a section of Florocarbon tippet. My jig also had a small split ring to help maximize all of the movement.
I also use longer rods than the “short rodded” ice fishing brotherhood. What many do not realize is that short rods are needed in small ice houses or tents where space is limited. A longer rod will allow you to land bigger fish, and set the hook more quickly. It also allows you stay away from the open ice hole so you don’t spook fish near the top. A reel with a good drag is also important when playing bigger fish. Top off your longer rod with a spring bobber and you will see way more bites.
My hook was sharpened and tipped with some meat! I used maggots or wax worms to entice the “Yellow Neds” that were admiring my “fancy pants rig”!
The final outcome was a fish catching frenzy! New buddies around me were adding bait to their rigs and the bite was on. If I had to put my finger on one thing that made a difference, it would be “Presentation”.
When I go fishing, I expect and plan on catching fish. Every cast is a new opportunity to get a bite. If I am not getting any action then, I am moving, experimenting or making new friends. This is why fishing is so much fun. There is always the next cast, a new friend, some new tips, and dinner too.
Tight lines and hot Ice holes!