Tag Archives: Perch

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

2-8-12 – End Of The Week

I wrapped up my week of fishing today on the Connecticut River. I got there for sunrise and stayed for about 4.5 hours. The temperature was in the single digits so it was nice to punch a bunch of holes to warm up! I started off fishing for perch but was unable to locate a decent number of keeper size fish alone. I caught and released five that were 9″+. I gave up on the perch and headed shallow for the bluegill and pumpkinseed.

After punching a bunch of holes in the new area, I grabbed my Vexilar and started fishing. I caught a decent pumpkinseed in the first hole then nothing till the far end of my series. At that end, I found better numbers of fish and they were all bluegill! I had a group of three holes that I fished for about 30 minutes. In this time, I pulled a dozen bluegill that were 9.5″ or better along with some smaller fish! After I caught all the gills that were willing to bite, I kept moving . When I got into the channel, I started marking a lot of fish that were suspended. My first bite was an “up bite”. I figured it was a crappie… Wrong! I pulled it up and it was a shiner. A big one at that. Any pike fisherman would be more than happy to have bait like it in their bucket! I caught 6 shiners that were all around the same size before I got sick of it and moved on.

All my fish today were caught on maggots. I wasn’t catching pumpkinseed so I wasn’t getting my bait ripped off that often. The fish were holding tight to the bottom but were willing to charge up level to the top of the weeds. When they did bite they hit it hard so hook ups were no issue. Great day to be on the water… The sun was shining and there was no wind at all. I got a nice winter time tan to top it all off!

I did some math this afternoon and found out that I fished more than I work. I guess that’s a good thing! I fished for 50 hours and spent 15+ hours in the car traveling. Overall, I was on the road for around 660 miles.

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!