Tag Archives: Maki Plastics

Tools Of The Trade

Tools Of The Trade
(The Modern Pan-Fishermen)

The first jig rod I ever caught a fish on was hand-made, nothing more than a crafted piece of wood. Today, 15 years later my rods are custom built from the finest graphite blanks and designed to catch specific fish and detect the lightest of bites. Ice fishing has gone through a major revolution in recent years. By all means, what you’ve got will work, but if you are willing to adapt to these new methods and tools then you will see more success on the ice.
The modern age of ice fishing has created the finesse ice fishermen. It has become common practice to put down the large wooden jigs sticks with 10lb test and pick up a lighter graphite jig stick spooled with 2-4lb test, have boxes full of jigs, and carrying a Vexilar from hole to hole. All of these things are an essential tool for me while chasing panfish in the lakes and rivers of the Northeast.
I have three rods that I use. The first is a True Blue made by Clam, the second is a custom built “Meatstick” by Jason Mitchell, and the last (which I use the most) is a Riversider. Each rod has it’s own productive qualities that help me detect bites in different situations. All of these rods are in my rod case because they are durable and they get the job done. These rods are also very affordable for the average “weekend warrior”, they are all pretty much under forty dollars.
More important than the rod, is the jig. I mostly fish for bluegill, perch and crappie, having a variety of jigs is a huge advantage for me in catching fish. Believe it or not, I have found that smaller is usually better. There are two types of ice jigs on the market today, vertical and horizontal. Vertical jigs are soldered jigs and are for most fishermen their “go to jigs”. My favorite vertical jig is an orange and chartreuse teardrop Caty jig tipped with 3-4 spikes. These jigs are small, but the teardrop shaped blade gives it a deadly downward flutter, often times triggering the fish to bite. This action allows the fishermen to fish the entire water column, targeting the most active and aggressive fish. The second type of ice jig is a horizontal jig. These are somewhat new to the market and these jigs consist of molded metals in all shapes and sizes, and now metals, including tungsten which is heavier than lead. These jigs offer the fish a different presentation. Unlike the vertical jig, these jigs swim. They have a sudden side to side up and down movement that mimics small bait fish or a small insect. Teamed with a micro plastic, this bait can be very productive. My go to horizontal jigs are Custom Jigs and Spins Diamond Jigs, and their Gill Pill. One of these jigs tipped with a micro plastic, say by Maki Plactics, will surely put more fish on the ice.
Out with the old and in with the new, well only if you want to. The old techniques will always work to a certain extent, but I encourage you to finesse more fish on the ice this season and try some of the tactics of the Modern Ice-Fishermen.

This Article can be found in The New Hampshire Vermont Outdoor Gazette

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2-6-12 – Scouting Day

I headed out early this morning to test out a new spot on the Connecticut River. I was on the ice at sunrise with not much of an idea of where to start but I had checked out google earth satellite photos last night and pinpointed a few areas that got my interest. I had a hunch that there were crappie lurking somewhere and being that were was deep water I figured I’d start there. A good chunk of the water looked to be shallow so I didn’t even bother checking it all day.

The first set of holes I punched didn’t produce so they were quickly abandoned. They ranged in depth from 15-22 feet which was about what I was looking for. I moved on to location number two which looked very similar from above but was shaded by the north eastern tree line. After punching about 50 holes I figured it was time to wet a line. When I put my Vexilar down and turned it on, the screen lit up just like I wanted it to! I had 10 feet of fish stacked up from the bottom.

It took me only one hole land my first fish… Too bad it was a shiner! The fish were very sluggish throughout the entire day but I still managed a decent number. A few holes later, I was able to work a crappie out of the school below my jig. It was a solid 9″ fish. Throughout the rest of the day I iced 13 legal crappie and numerous shorts. Other than crappie and shiners, I caught and released around 2 dozen perch, some of which were 14″+, a bunch of pumpkinseed, some very nice bluegill, and 2 pike.

As usual, I tried to only fish above the cluster of crappie and pick them off the top so I didn’t disturb the bunch but that didn’t work. In general, I found that the fish on top were not active and the fish in the middle and on the bottom would at least check it out. In most cases I was only able to catch one per hole. In holes that had perch, pumpkinseed, pike, and bluegill there were no crappie suspended. All these fish were picked from right off the bottom and were unwilling to move more than a foot up.

I tried using my Aqua Vu camera today but I wasn’t able to see much. The water was cloudy and being so deep I could not see much beyond a foot or two. I tried just about every combination of jig, plastic, and spikes that I could put together. The two set ups that I found to be effective were a horizontal gold jig, black Maki by Maki Plastics, no maggot, and horizontal white (glow) jig, milky pink Guppi by Maki Plastics, and red maggot. Any bright color made the fish disappear in a hurry.

There were only a few other holes (other than the hundreds that I punched!) as its a haul to get to. It was a great day to on the ice and I think I’ve found a spot that I will be returning to very soon! Back at it tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Spot Selection

The weekend warrior of ice fishing needs to be prepared in order to maximize their time spent on the hard water.  How do you choose where you are going fishing each weekend? I’m sure we all have our go to spots that consistently produce fish, and I know it’s hard to leave fish to go find fish but D & B Ice Adventures enjoys the challenge. Here are a few things that we look for when searching for fish.  The first thing you need is a good updated lake map.  Your two best options are to go to the F&W page and print one off, or better yet, if you’re running a smartphone, buy the Navionics App.  With lake map in hand you should be looking for sharp contour lines, inside turns, deep basin’s close to weed lines and large flats.  My top two places to look for would be inside turns and weeds that come up out of deep water.  Fish will use these areas to hold up and ambush bait fish.  Points are always good spots to check, that point will continue into the water creating some great cover, contour and ambush spots for the walleye, perch and crappie.  When in search of panfish, I’ll look for large flats with green weeds.  These green weeds will hold the life mater in which the bluegill and sunnies will be feeding on.  For basin perch, find the basin and run and gun, these fish will be feeding on blood worms so pounding the bottom with a spoon of small jig should produce fish.  Maki Plastics makes a great bait for this situation called the bloodi.  Needless to say, spend some time doing your pre-fish homework and you’ll have better success when the time comes to get out and wet some lines!

1-24-12

I went fishing on Lake Champlain yesterday from 7:30 am to just before 5 pm. The bite was never hot and heavy nor were the fish of quality size. The picture below was my only seed over 9″. The weather report was far from what was called for not that I am complaining. The wind was suppose to blow 15-20 mph all day but luckily it didn’t pick up till later in the day. It was also suppose to be a sunny day but that never happened either. There was actually a fair amount of precipitation throughout the day. That’s ice fishing in Vermont for ya! As for the crowd, there were quite a few people out there fishing until the wind picked up. I think the lack of fish and deteriorating weather pushed people out early.

For the most part, every hole I fished had fish but the majority of them were filled with dink perch. There were a few areas that were replenished throughout the day though so I tried to get back while still searching around for better schooling areas. I found one spot that offered a good deal of snow coverage on the clear ice.  I punched maybe 2 dozen holes in a small area that was about half clear ice and half snowpack ice. My first few drops produced decent seeds so I kept pounding the area. I was getting pretty frustrated with how frequent the little fish were stealing my bait so I changed up my presentation to a larger profile that included a plastic by Maki Plastics.  Because the fish were still showing on the flasher, I put on the first plastic I found. It was a previously used red Maki that had turned to a maroon in my coat pocket. I then started having a lot of fish following from the bottom to just below the ice but not taking it readily like before while fishing meat. Three holes later, I landed my first crappie of the day. Over the next two hours I iced a dozen crappie and a good pile of gills and seeds. About the time the fish stopped showing on my flasher people started to clear out so I was able to move to other areas and not punch holes the rest of the day. The rest of the day was fairly consistent but still not a great bite.

I try to analyze my day after every trip. I think that if I don’t try to learn something from every fish I will never get any better. Some fish want it fast while some want it slow. Some want it put right in their mouth while others want it taken away so they have to charge. Figuring out what the fish want can make the difference between landing chips all day or catching a limit of quality fish especially on Lake Champlain where the fish are abundant. Some days it doesn’t matter though… You can do everything right or everything wrong and it could be the best or worst day on the water. My grandmother had a sign above her kitchen doorway with a picture of a cow in a green field on a beautiful bluebird day with its foot in a bucket with the quote: “someday’s you step in it, someday’s you don’t”. Not everyday can be a great day on the ice but one thing that I have learned is that it is better to work on new tactics and techniques and not catch fish than to go home early without a meal and twiddle your thumbs.

So looking back at yesterdays trip I ask myself, what did I learn? Well to start, don’t throw out your used plastics! Maki Plastics are durable and you can hook them anyway you want and still catch fish. Also, sometimes a new color can be made inside your pocket that is just what the fish want for the given day! When I switched from using spikes to a plastic not only did I weed out smaller fish but I started catching an entirely different species that was already in the area but I just didn’t know. Secondly, I changed my mind set that when there is clear ice, look for ice that has texture or snow to break up my silhouette. I caught more sunnies on clear ice in an 8″ hole than anywhere else. Lastly, get out on your own. When I caught my crappie I was away from everyone else. There were no holes and no one withing a short distance of me.

Maki Plastics

Right now, we are currently improving our skills on catching fish on micro plastics ice fishing.  Our current choice of bait to fish with are products made by Maki Plastics.  These baits are amazing.  There are so many choices in terms of colors and designs. Last weekend we we fishing a hole that was producing amazing numbers of crappies, but we were catching a lot of dinks running a small plastic tipped on a tungsten jig. We started fishing a larger sized bait from Maki and noticed that we caught as many fish but the size quality was a lot better.  Give them a try!

Here’s some proof