Ice Team

2012-2013 Ice Annual

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"To catch the shallow fish, be very aggressive. " Pike, muskie, bass and walleye will feed upon crappies, but northerns and muskie are their primary predators. Yet crappie are ambushing too, looking for minnows, insects and microscopic organisms for ingestion. Crappies need to eat, but they're always looking over their shoulders for the big guys that might eat them. In exploring the shallow water, look for differences: JASON DURHAM A professional fishing guide and a national fishing educator, Jason is sought out as one of the best teachers in the sport of fishing. He has also written many publications on freshwater fishing. shops, call guides and ask the simple question, "How deep are the crappies?" Be specific, otherwise the lake you're fishing might not be the one referenced in offered information. The first key is to find that information. Seek out bait but they won't hit. That's the time to grab another rod, strategically placed in the rod holder of your Vexilar that's pre-rigged with a tiny jig and maggot. Simply reel in the spoon quickly and drop the jig down. The same presentations can be used in deep water, but small baits generally work best. Compact but heavy jigs tipped with Eurolarva are superb because you can get your bait down to the fish quickly. That's an impor- tant consideration when you're trying to pluck as many fish as possible out of a school. Yet locating deep-water crappies can be a little tricky. points, drop-offs, inside turns, saddles and the most important weeds. This is where your ice electronics are imperative. The technology and real time display of your Vexilar flasher not only makes it easier to find vegetation, but you can actually see the present fish, even when they're scattered about the weeds. Once you drop your presentation down the hole, you'll know immediately if fish are around by the tell-tale moving marks on your Vexilar flasher. To catch the shallow fish, be very aggressive. Tie on a jigging spoon and "shake" the fish up from below. Stick a couple Eurolarva on the treble hook of the spoon and work it with concentrated motion — very short strokes of the rod to make the hook and bait dance. Sometimes the spoon will bring fish in for a look, For shallow water crappies there is one element that must be available to make it a desirable area for the big slabs — weeds! If you don't have weeds in the vicin- ity, you're probably not going to have fish present. The vegetative varieties should be tall, leafy or bushy stalks that provide good protective habitat so the crappies can avoid predators and accommodate their own predacious tendencies. Crappies are stalked and stalkers all at the same time. You have to drill a lot of holes, so a team approach works best. Use your GPS to find small basins, often with depths of 20-40 feet, long points with fast drop-offs and massive flats. One key element will be present in your best crappie areas: a soft bottom. Just as your Vexilar helped you identify fish in the shallow water weeds, it can also show if you've got a soft bottom below. Finally, since you're going to be moving quite a bit as you crank out numerous holes to find the deep water crappies, travel light! A Clam Fish-Trap is the perfect solution, allowing you to pack up and move from hole- to-hole in seconds. THE ICE ANNUAL << ICE TEAM.COM 29

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