Ice Team

2012-2013 Ice Annual

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WALLEYE here is a place for fishing with live bait. There are times when a dead stick or rattle reel teamed with a lively rainbow or shiner will out- fish anything. There can be many times however, when we catch more walleye by aggressively using lures in conjunction with a Vexilar. The Vexilar is your eyes underwater — you are the puppet master and the lure is the puppet. The name of the game is making that lure look like something a fish will eat. The advan- tage a lure has is that you can create more flash and water displacement, which can pull in aggressive fish from much farther away so you can greatly expand the water you cover as you fish. When fish are aggres- sive, you can trigger fish by raising the fish off the bottom or keeping the fish moving after the lure. There are exceptions, but often the worst thing you can do is to stop moving a lure as a walleye closes in. Keep the lure alive and make the lure look like it is trying to get away. T The best walleye anglers on the ice have an intimate understand- ing of what their electronics reveal. Knowing when to hold the lure still or when to move the lure up in a hard snap only happens when you know exactly what that fish is doing. Reading the fish is paramount and what we are going to discuss in this article. When you are ready to master reading the body language of a fish, nothing beats a Vexilar for several reasons. A lot of companies want to talk about watts of power or separa- tion, but there are many misleading numbers companies use to mar- ket sonar. Vexilar has ruled the ice because they are extremely reliable and functional. Ice anglers helped shape Vexilar, not military engineers. Open water anglers, for example, appreciate high pixel count. Vexilar has the most lines of resolution for the size of the dial. Other flasher companies use a filter to sharpen the lines of resolution but when you sharpen the resolution, you loose some of the real-time speed and intimacy of the signal. That is why the lines will look choppy on most other flasher units when you drop a lure through the water column. This is why I can tell when a fish moves or stops when using a Vexilar. I can tell when a walleye raises the dorsal fins and gets into the attack posture. The raw analog signal that a Vexilar uses is the best, but only if you know how to read it. Below are a few tips on reading that signal and in turn, catching more walleye through the ice with aggressive jig- ging techniques. Visualizing fish is important, as is visualizing the lure. When I am adjusting the sensitivity, I want to keep the sensitivity as low as pos- sible, where I can barely see the lure. In shallow water less than 20 feet, I often use the low power mode, especially with horizontal lures that emit a stronger signal. This clears the screen so that I can look for fish. I can also tell where the lure is. For example, when a lure swings out to the edge of the cone angle, the lure will make a weaker signal until the lure coasts back below the hole. When walleye approach, the signal will often get stronger as the fish moves in below the hole. Walleye often rush in, so the earlier you can tell a fish in on you, the better. Bigger fish will make a much stron- ger and wider mark as they get next to the lure. the signal and visualizing how far the fish is from the lure. Often when a fish is approaching the lure, the signal of the fish will look like it is coming from the bottom. In reality, fish are not rising from the mud but approaching from the edge of the cone angle. The key to what makes Vexilar so good: when a fish moves, the signal will flutter. When a fish floats still, the signal Reading the fish is interpreting "Some fish want the lure moving aggressively and these fish smoke it. 14 ICE TEAM.COM >> THE ICE ANNUAL " BODY LANGUAGE WALLEYE'S READING WANT TO CATCH MORE WALLEYE THIS WINTER? HERE IS HOW ONE OF THE TOP ICE ANGLERS IN THE COUNTRY DOES IT. // BY JASON MITCHELL, ICE TEAM PRO STAFF

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