Written by Douglas Mefford in Fishing
Viewed by 51 readers since 02-24-2009
While it seems to be a very relaxed sport, there is much more to the challenging sport of ice fishing than chipping a hole in the ice and dropping in a bait. The biggest problem in making a successful catch quota occurs when the angler lets himself develop an unchanging routine. Developing multiple strategies for different parts of the hunt can bring much greater success.
The favorite jig of most ice fishermen is the tear-shaped vertical hanging type. However, after a few catches any remaining fish in the area tend to avoid them. Switching to a horizontally hanging jig will often renew the interest of the fish and more strikes can be made before having to move to another location.
It is also better to add more types of movement than the standard up and down motion that is so easily made. Altering the presentation of the bait by gently twisting or rolling the line between the fingers so that it maintains the same depth while still moving will enhance the chances of the fish being interested in it.
A slow circular movement around the perimeter of the ice hole can also change the pace of the bait and give it a more natural appearance to the prey. One can also occasionally ‘bounce’ the jig or live bait off the bottom surface. This not only creates a debris cloud that indicates movement but a sound that will carry through the water and attract more distant fish into your hunting area.
Similarly it is good to switch between live and artificial baits. Even if the fish, especially the pan fish varieties will soon tire of one type of lure. Mixing up the types of offerings made to the fish will increase the chances of more fish being caught. A variety of shapes and colors should also be used so that what may be ignored by one fish may be exactly what encourages another one to strike.
Another trick that can be employed to give the fish a greater sense of security is to float ice shavings or chips on the surface of the water in your fishing hole. This will cut down on the light intensity angling down into the water. You can also, provided you can maintain the position for long periods of time, extend your head over the hole and actually watch the way the fish investigate and strike at your lure. A horizontal jig is best for this, as you will be able to see it better and be ready to set the hook when they strike.
If the water in your fishing area is cloudy or has been stirred up, using a ‘glow-in-the-dark’ lure will increase its visibility for both the fish and yourself. Once you have run the gambit of variations on a hole and the fish have truly quit biting there, it is finally time to move to a new location, drill out a new hole and begin the process once more. By giving the fish a variety, you will find you are taking your quota much more quickly.