tackle comes in all different shapes, sizes, colors, weights…and
the list doesn’t stop there. Several lures can be used
for more than just one species, and others are designed specifically
for a certain species. With so many options out there for
ice anglers today, how do we choose what will best fit our
needs? Several tackle companies have designed lures to fit
the conditions that ice fishing brings, and these companies
have designed ice fishing tackle that is effective on what’s
swimming below the ice. Let’s learn about some of lures
out there available to ice anglers…
Most ice fishing tackle can be categorized as either vertical
or horizontal. Vertical jigs are when the shank of the hook
runs parallel to the line. Horizontal jigs are when the shank
of the hook runs perpendicular to the line. Exceptions would
be spoons and swimming lures. Spoons, like the JR’s
Tackle Flasher Spoon, Scenic Tackle Angel Eye, or the Phelps
Glow Spoon, would be classified as a vertical presentation.
Swimming lures, like The Minnow by JR’s Tackle, would
be classified as a horizontal presentation. Both spoons and
swimming lures come in a variety of different sizes and actions.
Some spoons will flutter and some will drop like a rock.
Swimming lures are designed to spiral as they drop in the
water column. This not only attracts fish, but it will trigger
them into striking as well.
Vertical jigs come in all shapes and sizes. The Shrimpo
by Custom Jigs and Spins and the Speckled Grub by Bad Dog
Lures are two productive vertical jigs. The Shrimpo is equipped
with a plastic finesse body that can work wonders on days
when the fish are in a negative mood. These plastic finesse
bodies can also be mixed and matched with different colors
and sizes as well. Vertical jigs are very versatile, and
can be used with just about any type of live-bait as well
with plastics to fit almost any situation. Vertical jigs
are great for tipping with minnows, because they will keep
the minnow looking natural when hooked behind the dorsal
fin and this is more appealing to the fish. Vertical jigs
imitate much of what a crappie or bluegill will feed on during
the winter months.
Horizontal jigs are designed to give off a “kicking” motion
when jigged. The back end of the jig will bounce up and down
while the head of the jig holds relatively still. This is
a very productive technique that can have great success throughout
the winter months. The JR’s Tackle Pumpkinseed and
the Custom Jigs and Spins Ratso and Rat Finkee are good examples
of horizontal jigs. You can benefit from a horizontal jig
in tough conditions…a horizontal jig sits parallel
to a fish’s body, and the action of the horizontal
jig already wants to move “horizontally,” so
when a bluegill inhales the bait you not only have the hook
in a position for a better hook-set, but you also make is
easier for the fish to inhale the jig. Horizontal jigs also
show up better on a flasher.
Using a float or bobber when ice fishing can have several
advantages. A float not only allows you to have a second
line in the water while you focus on your jigging presentation,
but it can also act as a strike indicator on a negative day.
You want to make sure that a float is properly balanced.
This can be very crucial when float fishing and a lot of
missed fish are a result of an unbalanced float. You want
your float to be pulled down with the slightest resistance,
so when those light biting crappies or walleyes come by and
grab the bait they won’t feel a thing. The Ice Buster
Bobber by Today’s Tackle excels in this category. The
Ice Buster Bobber is a foam slip bobber that can be cut down
to match the weight of any presentation. Having a rod rigged
up with an Ice Buster Bobber is second nature to me. You
can fine tune the Ice Buster Bobber so that just fraction
of it is sticking out of the water, and even the weight of
a couple extra water droplets will pull it down. This is
a very effective tool to have when out on the ice.
Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of what’s
in your tackle box this winter, and what can be productive
throughout the winter months.