Ice Team

2012-2013 Ice Annual

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lure and the signal stops moving or fluttering, you know you had better change something fast to keep the fish in pursuit. There are other situ- ations where a fish coasts up to the lure but as you try to raise the fish or trigger the fish, the fish stops and doesn't respond to anything aggres- sive and you have to hold the lure still or shake the lure really subtly to coax a bite. One approach that I take when jigging for walleyes most of the time, is the strategy of process. I usually start out fish- ing aggressively. Hard snapping and pounding will get that lure to put off a lot of flash and noise. When there are no fish below me, I try to pull them in. There might be fish cruis- ing by 15 or 20 feet away, and by moving that lure hard, we can often bring them over to look. As soon as I can tell that fish are approaching, I watch for how they are approach- ing. If they are burning in fast, I keep doing what I am doing and hold on. that works JASON will stop fluttering. This is para- mount to understanding to maxi- mize your effectiveness on the ice. This phenomenon of being able to read the movement by watching the flutter vs. just watching the signal of a fish rise or drop in the water column allows you to become much better at catching walleyes. All sonar has a dead spot in the bottom signal which means that the closest signal from the bottom to the transducer shows up as the depth and everything further away gets lost in the bottom signal. approach the edge of the cone angle, they often get lost in the bottom, until they are close enough to separate from the bottom. In order to separate from the bottom, they have to be closer to the transducer than the shallowest point of the bottom regardless if you are using an LCD or flasher. Because As walleyes a Vexilar will pick up movement so well, you can actually watch for these fish on the edge by looking for movement or flutter within the bottom. The key is to keep your gain turned low. How I used to demonstrate what to look for when guiding was to just bob the foam Ice Ducer float gently in the water to get the bottom signal to flut- ter. This is what a walleye will look like on the edge of the cone angle, and by interpreting this signal, you will know much sooner when a fish is flirting on the edge. fast at you, you will know because the signal of the fish will not just get bolder or stronger but will also flut- ter. If you raise the lure or stop the When a fish moves or charges MITCHELL Professional fishing guide and promoter hailing from North Dakota. Ice rod innovator and owner/host of Jason Mitchell Outdoors. Some fish want the lure mov- ing aggressively and these fish smoke it. If you were to stop or change, you would have lost that fish. If the fish come in hot but get hesitant as they close the distance, I tone the jigging down and try and just coax the fish up to the lure. If they start to drop down or drift off, I get aggres- sive again until the fish responds or a second fish shows up, which seems to trigger aggressiveness. If a fish gets up to the lure and seems timid, we often gently coax the lure in short increments off the bottom, lifting the fish higher with us until they snap. Reading the body language allows us to do so much to trigger fish, making the right moves at the right time with each individual fish, which often acts dif- ferently each time around. Each fish sometimes takes a different trigger. Anglers who have mastered jig- ging lures like swim lures and spoons for walleyes catch an awful lot of fish each winter. By using a flasher effec- tively, you are engaged with each fish, and the knowledge you get will make you much more effective when jigging for walleyes. THE ICE ANNUAL << ICE TEAM.COM 15

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