The Great Tungsten Ice Jig Debate…

First off, that is a waste of time, call this a size guide and when to fish them.

Secondly, not a word about the heater in the corner, it was cold that winter ūüôā

Thirdly is actually a word and this has nothing to do with the latest debate about the effectiveness of lead versus tungsten ice jigs. In my opinion tungsten users cash the checks, and lead is for the fun fishing….in certain situations….OK I hardly ever use lead.

This debate is about what size of tungsten jig to use, and when.

2 mm:¬† The 2 mil, that hidden gem that most don’t even know exists.¬† It is a unique size for¬† calm waters and fish that have been pounded on local lakes. Perfect for rigging a single spike (maggot) or wiggler (mayfly larvae) in shallow water.¬† Use with 1 lb test line and let the jig drift down the water column to entice those tight-lipped bulls.¬† I said bulls, which is slang for bigger gills, and this jig is really more for bluegill, pumpkin seeds, redear …etc. Negative points, it is a slow falling jig and often the hook gap is pretty tight.¬† To remedy this, carefully take a pair of forceps and slightly open the gap up, while being careful not to pinch down on the hooks tiny barb.

2.5 mm:  The work horse of the tourney angler, fish it hard and fish it fast, or fish it slow and subtle in water 12 foot or less. Whether tipped with live bait or micro-plastics, the 2.5 mil is the jig used in most situations by anglers drilling 50 plus holes (closer to 100) through the ice each day. Tipped with a couple of spikes, a waxworm or some slightly bigger plastics, the 2.5 allows you to fish several styles or presentations.

3 mm:¬† The tiny jig of the “Average Joe”, that intrepid angler venturing into the sport for the first time that gets blasted by social media by only three sizes of jigs available by multiple sources.¬† The experienced angler uses the 3 mil for scouting or, as I look side to side to make sure no one is watching, for that honey hole you know absolutely no one else has found.¬† The fresh fish that just haven’t been pounded by the hoards.¬† The tourney angler loves to be able to fish a #3, because it usually means the weather has been stable for a few days and the fish are actively feeding up and down the water column.

4 mm:¬† The work horse for the “Weekend Warrior”, with its #12 hook it closely resembles those legendary lead jigs of days gone by, but with a smaller profile.¬† The experienced guy looks at certain situations where this size can shine above the rest.¬† That 12 to 15 foot depth of water, or shallower waters that might hold some current.¬† Pack on a few extra spikes or start fishing those larger tail type plastics.¬† The heavier body can be finessed in that deeper/current application, or fished aggressively with live bait and imparting a lot of action while using plastics. Careful now, there are actually two types of 4 mm on the market, and they work better with certain baits.¬† One 4 mil has a short shank hook and works best with live bait, and then there are some longer shanks that work really well bigger plastics.¬† The point here is that beware about the fact that some hooks will impede the action of smaller plastics, and you will want those bigger baits so the tail will still dance and entice those bites.

5 mm:  Hardly used by some, the experienced angler uses the 5 mil for the aggressive biting deep water crappie.  Tipped with a small minnow or just the head, three to four spikes or those bigger plastics that imitate minnows. These jigs with their #10 hook fall fast through the water column and are often met halfway up the column by hungry specs.  Another bite would involve deep water perch hugging the bottom. It should be understood that this is more of a niche application than the norm, but can be highly effective under the right circumstances.

6 mm:¬† The last installment of this piece, I could go even bigger, but since I have only dropped down a 6 mil three times in 14 years, I wont touch the bigger sizes.¬† That said, deep water, jumbo perch or big perch in a lot of current.¬† That’s it, are there other uses…yes, it can be a good size if you are fishing for whitefish, and rainbows in deep water…etc. Waxworms, minnows or jumbo plastics are the most commonly used baits used with the #8 hook on this jig size.

That wraps this article up, a common guide for using the different sizes available in tungsten panfish jigs.¬† I always say that general rules applied to anything fishing are just that, generally speaking.¬† You will always have exceptions, and I have even had a few…except the 6 mm, that one is pretty much written in stone for my uses.

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Ice Fishing, Ice Products, Panfish Fishing, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

Tightline, Free Fall, Spinning or Schooley?

Wisconsin Slab

This seems to be the big debate the last few years in the ice fishing world, so this is my take on it.

As far as spinning reels, love my Daiwa’s but when it comes to fishing for panfish through the ice they pull limited duty in¬† the arsenal. For myself, these get used in deep water while targeting crappie.¬† I want to get the jig down to where the fish are as fast as possible, sometimes they are hugging the bottom, sometimes they are suspended six or seven foot from the bottom.¬† That’s it, only application for me that fits in my methods.

Nice seed!

That said, I would tell a new person to the sport, that they are ok for one or two fish at the start of fishing, after that the line becomes too twisted….unless.¬† Don’t you just love these little stipulations that get thrown into my articles?¬† Its just because there almost always exceptions to the rules and I like to try to be fair and balanced without insulting folks.¬† OK, back to the unless….Unless, you pull the line out of your rod tip while fishing in shallow water bites, and for this point, I would call shallow water twelve foot or less.¬† Pulling out your line is a good idea for several reasons, for line twist which I think is on everyone’s mind, it helps the jig unwind the twist while slowly going down the hole. After a while it wont matter, the line is always going to spin your jig.¬† Another good reason for doing it is that the slow approach to where the fish are won’t be as likely to spook the fish.¬† Wind, that natural breath of ice, not only will will it make your neck cold, but will also blow light line off your reel and make a mess.

Schooley Reels

The Schooley Reel, made in Michigan and will cost you at the most six bucks. Add in a simple modification to make this hidden gem more functional (Schooley Modification) and it might cost you $2 for the Fuji eye and a buck for some crazy glue.¬† Read it, you will understand.¬† Now, to get away from that shameless plug, back to the reel.¬† The original tightline reel, and might add, the first choice of numerous tourney champions.¬† Again, I am using the method of pulling the line out through the rod tip, or if you prefer, spring bobber.¬† You can actually “undwind” a Schooley to let the line out, but when using really light jigs, the line can get wrapped around…well you name it. The spring, the reel itself or even the fuzz coming off your woolen gloves.¬† This does work for deeper water with a heavier jig, or when fishing inside a shanty.

Sidenote:¬† You can remove the spring if you really want a “free-fall reel”, but it will take some practice setting the hook, a bass fishing exaggerated hookset will be a catastrophe!

Am I biased in my addiction to these nylon reels, you bet.¬† There are less parts to screw around with, they work in any condition Mother Nature can throw at you and most importantly, they don’t add twist to your line.¬† Let all the fish do that for you!¬† There is a side bonus, you can get 15 to 20 reels for the cost of one of these new fab contraptions ūüôā

Copyright, 2017

 

Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Ice Fishing, Ice Products, Panfish Fishing, Perch Fishing | Leave a comment

Greasing Your Ice Reels…..

….DON’T DO IT!

I had a customer ask me at our local outdoors type store, what was the best grease to use with his spinning ice fishing reels.  I told him none of course.  If your reels are dedicated to just ice fishing rods, meaning you either leave them taped up or on the reel seat all year, then for one thing, the grease that came in the reel originally will last for years.

Second point, it is really easy to “over” grease your spinning reels.¬† If you have ever over greased a reel,¬† and then tried to fish with it, you probably already know where I am going with this.¬† The grease thickens to the point it actually becomes hard to turn the handle.

If you think your reel is in dire need of some lubrication,¬† I suggest you either look around the garage, or run down to the local hardware and get some 3-IN-ONE oil.¬† Because of the cold weather on the ice there naturally isn’t has much heat build up on the bearing and gears.¬† Just a few drops of this lightweight oil will keep everything spinning smoothly and allow you to turn your hand, and fight the fish with ease for years to come.

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Ice Fishing, Ice Products | Leave a comment

Extend the Range of Your Vexilar

If there is one thing when it comes to ice fishing that I absolutely cannot fish without, it would be my Vexilar flasher.  After using every single model that Vex offers over the past 16 years and seeing the competition in tournament after tourney, nothing holds up to the quality of Vexilar.  Another reason I love my Vexilars is the ability to adapt my units to several different conditions.  I don’t just mean using my units on the open water either,  the company offers many accessories that will help you improve you catch rate on the ice as well.

One such accessory are the two different lengths available with their transducer extension cables.

They come in either a ten foot cable, or if you prefer it comes in a 20 ft length too.  Add the additional 6 ft transducer cable and you can now use a 16 or 26 foot transducer.  You can actually go up to 60 foot if you add three 20 ft cables together without losing signal strength.

Sounds cool, but you are probably asking what does all this mean when I am fishing?  For me, with the now 16 foot of transducer cable it means I can monitor a hole outside my shanty with one of my Vexilars.  Couple that with a tip-up, deadstick or slammer type setup I can see what is going on in that hole while I am either jigging one or two rods inside my Clam shanty or hub with my other Vexilar for those rods.

Cameras are really nice, but they can be a pain to get setup in the right direction to monitor your lure/bait, and they are water condition dependent on whether they are useful or not.  A flasher doesn’t need clear water to tell you there is a fish interested in your presentation and you need to get ready to quickly react to a bite.

So if you have a Vexilar already, you made the right choice.  If you want to really improve your catch rate on the ice whether you are fishing for walleye or pike (just examples), then think about getting a second unit with an extension to expand your ability to catch more fish.

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Ice Fishing, Ice Products | Leave a comment

Choosing the right Ice Rod for Panfish

Choosing an ice rod for panfish sounds easy, just walk into the fishing department of a store and grab a 24″ ultra light rod with some reel and go fishing.

If you really think that, then this is probably the article you need to read the most, more than any other ice fishing piece you may read while considering what rods to get this year.

My philosophy came about almost 20 years ago while fishing my first Ice Team Trap Attack on a lake in Brooklyn, Michigan.  At first I just wanted to have more than a couple of rods so if something happened I would not be wasting valuable time trying to retie jigs in cold weather while dealing with numb fingers.  Within a year or two of that, I looked at the multiple rods bass anglers were using on open water and how they were specialized for particular techniques.

Taking that approach I started looking at various rods and how they might handle my approach to catching more panfish.¬† By that I mean, the different techniques I use for …you know what, lets scrap the panfish moniker, and just pick one, and in this case lets center on Bluegill.¬† Why bluegill, because they taste the best of course!

Looking back at that 24 inch rod off the shelf, although it’s not ideal rod for gills there are some purposes where the rod will shine.¬† Here in Michigan we are allowed three rods each while fishing any body of water, so if you are fishing multiple rods, why not have at least one rod as a bobber rod.¬† By taking a small slip bobber large enough to balance out with the jig you are using below, you have used up one of your three rods.¬† It’s also a great presentation for getting kids involved in the sport.

Taking that same rod, you can add a quality spring bobber to the end to make it more versatile tool. Where to start on the spring bobbers is the next question, luckily you have many options.¬† Depending on how you want to allocate your “fishing” funds, you can have set-ups for 3, 4, or 5 mm tungsten jigs.¬† If you want to start out slow, in my opinion I would choose the 3 mm set up.¬† ¬†On the tourney trail over the years I have learned you can never go wrong with a 3 mm in all situations.¬† If you are fishing lakes that aren’t pressured on a regular basis, then you can jump up to the 4 mm, specially if you fish some deeper water.¬† Will a 5 mm catch fish, yes, but in my book this is a highly condition specific type of approach that will rarely present itself to someone not fishing some deep water bite tourneys.

One last thing considering that off the rack 24 inch rod, and I know I stopped at only discussing gills for this piece.  That said, they make excellent spoon and swimbait rods for crappie and perch.  For a clear translation on swimbait, I mean a Jigging Rapala type presentation.

For the ideal adjustable spring bobber already on a rod, that will be covered by the Legend Ice Rod from St. Croix Rods. It’s a 24 inch ultra light rod with a unique “light” spring that can be adjusted for the weight of the jig.¬† This is accomplished by carefully pushing the spring in for heavier jigs, or further out for smaller presentations.¬† If I had to give a percentage on what a bluegill bite will look like while using a spring, it would be that 90% of the time a gill pull the spring down.¬† 5% of the time the jig will not move the spring, just straighten it out.¬† The other 5% of the time, although more common with fishing for crappie, the spring will jump up while fishing shallow water weedbeds where the gills come up to aggressively feed.

Some rods, specifically custom rods are made with different presentations already in mind.¬† I don’t need a rod that looks like its been designed to be hung on the wall like a piece of art, which is not to say they wont catch fish, just not my style. I do have some custom “noodle” rods from Minnesota that are very sensitive, and I don’t mean so much by the feel, but what the rod tip will visually tell me is going on below.¬† These rods are usually my scout rods when I am looking for fish with a multitude of presentations.¬† This way I can go big or small.

My sight fishing rods are SHORT, 16 inches in length, but no bigger than 18″ is where I would tell anglers to start with while looking for a good rod.¬† My dual purpose sight and spring bobber rods are 17 inch lights from St Croix’s Legend series.¬† For those not familiar with sight fishing, it’s a method where you look directly down the hole and watch the fish as they come in to take your bait.

Tightlining rods are usually 20-22 inches in length, and they designed, or used specifically for watching the line in your hole.¬† Michigan anglers came up with this method before the introduction of electronics like Vexilar. A common misconception is that you just watch the line at the top of your hole, but you are really watching the line in the hole.¬† What the line is doing will show an experienced tightliner whether you have a fish on or not.¬† Since one indication of a fish taking your bait might be your line showing some slack, it’s generally accepted that your rod be a stiff ultra light or light action rod in order to set the hook.

And that would be your starting guide for choosing a good rod for bluegills, many of the same rods can be used for perch and crappie though.¬† Once you decide on how you want to approach a lake, you can determine which set ups will work best.¬† ¬†Don’t be pigeon holed by what others are doing though, find rod that feels right for your methods, and don’t be surprised if you look at multiple rods to find the ones that will fill your arsenal and help you catch the most fish.

Posted in Ice Fishing, Ice Products | Leave a comment

The Deluxe Spoon Box from Clam Outdoors

Large Deluxe Spoon Box

My staff order from Clam Outdoors came¬† in yesterday to the house from Minnesota.¬† If you are Facebook, you probably saw me go “Live”¬† showing the features of the new Stealth Spearfisher hub shelter.¬† One of the other items I picked up was the Large Deluxe Spoon Box that Clam introduced last year.

The Spoon Boxes come in two sizes, small and large.  With my spoon arsenal for big water walleye, there was no way I was going to be able to fit everything  into the smaller box.  Even with 81 slots in the large box, I had to pick my very best spoons to fill the box.

Why get the spoon box?¬† Two main reasons that come to mind right away deal with protecting your investment.¬† Tackle isn’t cheap and you want to fish with these lures for as long as possible.¬† My first concern would be the paint jobs, when you have them loose in a plastic case, they bounce around which leads to paint being chipped off the lures.¬† I like loud baits, which means a lot of my spoons have rattles attached to them.¬† The best way for your rattles to come off is for them to be bouncing around while traveling to your best holes.

The spoons stay secured in their slots, protecting both paint schemes and rattles.  Of course the obvious reason for protecting your gear in the Spoon Box are those nasty tangles that will steal precious minutes of fishing time while you try to get that one spoon you really want to use out of the mess. Also, another reason to purchase the box is for protecting the fins on your swimming/jigging minnows and perfect for sizes that are 2.5 inches or smaller.

If you are looking for that one item to enhance your experience on the ice this season, or wanting to get something for the ice angler in your life for Christmas, I suggest the Spoon Box from Clam.  Just about every retail location you can think of has the boxes in stock right now.

Protect your gear with the Spoon Box!

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Fishing Websites/Stores, Ice Fishing, Ice Products, Panfish Fishing, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Underwater Cameras, not just for ice fishing!

Last month I shared that using my Vexilar sonar/flasher was an integral component in my success while fishing a walleye tourney on the Saginaw River.  Proving yet again, your winter equipment can really be used all year-long to enhance your fishing experience.  But what if I told you another tool in the tackle box could be used for something more than just fishing?

Vexilar FS 8OO

That’s right, your underwater camera!¬† Of course you can use it on your boat, or even off of a dock, making it extremely useful all year-long, but that is not what I am talking about.¬† Across the Ice Belt there is another season happening right now, deer hunting season!

Whether in a tree or on the ground, you can use your underwater camera to your advantage.  Without the camera, you can see everything in front of you, you can even turn your head a little in either direction and see what is to the left or right of you.  It gets a little tricky though when it comes to seeing what is behind you.  This is where the camera plays a pivotal role.

This works really well on the ground in a ground or hub style blind or in a raised structure.  In a tree, you can hang it from a hook, and there is plenty of cable to reach the ground and place the camera there.  On the ground, place the camera on the in front of you, someplace out-of-the-way, but still visible.  Run the camera cable out the door and zip it down, placing the camera in your blind spot.  If you do not have a floor, just run the cable under the blind or over the wood you constructed your hideout with.

Now you are able to see what is coming up behind you without getting a sore neck, or making noise while sitting in a chair.¬† You can say that inside your blind you have a swivel type chair and don’t need the camera, but I promise at some point that chair will squeak!

You can choose the Vexilar FS 8OO or if you like to see things in color, you can use the FS 2000 or the Fishphone.¬† The Fishphone allows you to make use of your smartphone and connects to the camera system through its built-in wifi.¬† If you aren’t too worried what is behind you, but you want to take video of that trophy buck that comes into your blind or stand you can record the action on your phone, or get the DVR¬†accessory and with use of the remote, start your video when the deer come in.¬† This is a great way to keep your hunt alive over and over again, or perhaps record your young hunter’s first time out in the woods!

Either way, making a video of the hunt or checking out what is making all that noise behind you, your Vexilar underwater system isn’t just for ice fishing anymore!

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Electronics, Ice Products, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

The Saginaw River is Heating Up…

…and more fish are staging to come into the river.¬† With the cold temps coming this week, the fishing should only get better until the ice takes hold.

Obviously I just got home from the Saginaw River where I fished the Fall Brawl Tournament put on by the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club, the same great folks that put on the Michigan Walleye Tour. My partner and I headed up Wednesday afternoon for Bay City, got the gear unpacked and the boat rigged for a long day of jigging on the river while looking for fish. If you ever hit a new lake for ice fishing, think of it as drilling a bunch of holes looking for fish, but a whole lot easier on the back.

We did a lot of driving, and checking out the fishfinder to see what was below us.¬† A lot of zig-zagging was involved trying to cover the most ground, as quickly as we could since we were only going to be prefishing for two days. Found some spots on the screen where the fish were just stacked up bottom to top.¬† We also found some good spots void of any marks at all.¬† We used just about everything in the arsenal and even caught this big ol’ shovelhead while checking out a reliable spot upriver.¬† Unfortunately this flathead catfish was all we found, but it was a fun ten minute fight by both of us and it came unhooked easy and never left the water.

Thursday started out with a thud, not literally…just a small setback, found two holes in the old Crestliner just below the water line.¬† Nothing a little JB Weld didn’t fix, and with an hour to wait for the mixture to take a set,¬† I rigged the boat up for trolling the flats and the main channel down from the mouth of the river. On went the Traxstech Planer Board Caddy for holding my Church Tackle planer boards.¬† Grabbed my six St. Croix telescoping rods, and for this tourney I had my older set of Daiwa trolling reels rigged up with mono for trolling cranks.

The goal was to ride an edge along the flat right were it dropped off and fish both sides of it.¬† One side of the boat was rigged up with shallower running baits like Rapala‘s Jointed Deep Husky Jerks and big Shad Raps, those would ride up on the flats.¬† Then I would set my boards to take deeper lures like the standard Deep Husk Jerks to ride the shelf down about 15 foot.¬† With all this thinking in mind, nothing came of it, the fish we marked Thursday weren’t there on Friday, so we did some more jigging the rest of the day.

Friday night before a tourney is always a work night, I picked out the trolling lures and got them on the rods with the lure wraps.  You have to have some semblance of secrecy while at the launch, but we probably had close to the same lures on as some other boats.  On the St. Croix Avids and Legend Tournament Walleye Series rods went on the jigs, most rigged with Fin-S Fish, but with the warmer water, also put on some Wyandotte Worms. I should have added another jig, but will touch on that later.

Saturday morning rolls around and we hook up with the other boats for the captain’s meeting at the Bangor boat launch near Independence Bridge and WW II ship, the Edson.¬† Saw some friends and talked some strategy with another boat we decided to team up with to save some time prefishing to check out different areas.¬† Everybody puts their boats in the river and we take off for our fishing spots at 8:00 AM on the dot.

A good chunk of the boats headed for our starting spot, but we were boat #3 in line and #1 and #2 peel off early and we get to our spot first.  The fish are there and still stacked up like we saw while prefishing.  We start our drift with the trolling motor just letting us slip back along the edge of a drop off.

This is where I have to veer off course for a bit and explain some of the technology I was using in the bow while operating the electric motor.¬† The Terrova from Min-Kota is equipped with universal sonar, which means I can hook up a number of different types of electronic devices to it to see what is below the motor.¬† My choice, based on my ice fishing experience was my Vexilar FL-22 HD, you can actually run any type of Vex you want like the FLX-28, 20, 12…etc.¬† I just love the 22, and know how to read it the best based upon my experience with it.

Back to fishing, seeing lots of fish both on the graph and Vexilar. A couple more boats come and start doing the same drift and it wasn’t long before we started seeing guys grab their nets while we aren’t catching.¬† With the help of the Vex, it was easy to see right away that the walleye were not interested in what we were putting down.¬† I could see them come in, take a long and then zip back down to the bottom.

We left the spot, went upriver and got rigged for trolling a combination of Rapala cranks.¬† Going with the current we were making about two miles per hour.¬† Set out the TX-22’s with the Double Action Flay System from Church Tackle and worked our way down to the power plant.¬† Unfortunately without a bite.

Went back to vertical jigging by the water intake at the old section of the plant without a bite there either.  Luckily my partner Cliff wanted to change-up lures and I tied on a Jigging Rapala.  We went back upriver and fished a break wall.  Soon into that drift, Cliff hooks a fish and it goes in the net.  I set the motor on anchor, and tie a couple on myself.  Finished that drift, and went back to the starting spot and soon I hooked into one too.  Unfortunately we only managed a couple of bites, but no hard takers and that was that, time to head back to the launch for the weigh-in.

Learned some valuable lessons, found some more spots to fish, it’s a growing process.¬† Always tie on one Jigging Rap as your go to presentation until the fish tell you differently, a very good lesson to be sure.¬† All this and some more information has already been written down in my log book for the Saginaw River.¬† Now next year, I can just go back and read all that information again to refresh my memory!

Huge shout out to the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club for putting on the event, cannot wait to go back next spring!

Copyright, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Tournament News, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Snapweights and Fall Trolling

Snapweights give walleye anglers an added tool in the tackle bag when it comes to going after the big fish that show up in the fall months prior to the winter freeze.¬† Big baits, small baits, rattling, suspending, all of these types can add up to increased catch rates when used in combination with these weights that are attached to¬† your line.¬† The purpose, at least in my book of “walleye tactics” is to get any type of lure down to where the walleye feed with the least amount of line out as possible.¬† Less line in the water equals less chance for something to go haywire.

Rapala Husky Jerk #14

 

Big baits equal big fish, that’s the story or perhaps the most common saying in fishing,¬† it ranks right up there with “match the hatch” or when it comes to muskie fishing, “You can use any lure you want, as long as it is black.”.¬† One of the most productive type of baits I have used are referred to as jerkbaits, and almost all of them rattle and suspend when retrieved or during the trolling process of making tight turns or momentarily putting your motor in neutral.¬† When used with a snapweight, this gets a bit trickier because the weight will dive taking your lure with you.¬† Be aware of the body of water you are fishing to make sure you won’t run into some nasty snags.¬† Instead of making tight turns, or throttling down, try more sweeping turns if the underwater terrain allows.¬† This will give you the extra benefit of covering a wider path and you will still get that slow down/speed up action that can entice walleye to bite.

Church Tackle Snap Weight Kit

Most snapweight kits will range from or around 3/4 of an ounce up to three ounces.  Going with my philosophy of using the least amount of line possible, I generally like using the heavier weights whenever possible.  When it comes to the kits, that usually means dropping down the 2 or 3 oz weights.  When going deeper in the water column, or trying to get the most control in the depths I am fishing, that is when I go heavy.

Lock Jaw clips and heavy weights

When I start “depth bombing” walleye, out comes the heavy pencil weights, in 4 and 6 ounce.¬† This is my homemade kit, so if you want to replicate something similar, there is some assembly required.¬† No worries though, to attach the weights to the Lock-Jaw clips from Church Tackle, I used some big duolock snaps, which can easily deconstructed in order to attach to the weights.¬† Once put back together, choose the weight you want to use and snap onto the clip.¬† You can also use the new Mini Lock-Jaw clips from Church, either will work effectively, but I do like the original clips for the heavier weights.

Nothing knocks these clips off, and they actually make excellent weed guards to keep your lures running free and clear of any debris that might hinder their action going through the water.

#9 Deep Shad Rap

Besides the shallow running jerkbaits, the use of snapweights works extremely well with lures that run deep, but maybe not as deep as you would like them to run.  Case in point, the big deep diving #9 Rapala Shad Rap.  These lures are a favorite of mine for trolling on Lake Erie in the cold water from October through December when the weather allows. Unfortunately, their max running depth is right around 16 foot of water.  Now, with the snapweights I can drop them right down to the bottom if I want without letting out a mile of line.

Quick sidenote, remember to consider your running depth of the lure with the amount of line you let out before attaching the weight.  Normally I run out 30 foot of line, then attach my weight, and then drop to the desired depth.  The 50/50 method is thrown out the door, and I can then use less line after dropping the weight down.  The four ounce is my overall weight of choice because it helps eliminate much of the guess work.

Copyright, 2017

Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Perchnado V: the sequel x5

What an incredible perch fishing season we have had on the Michigan side of Lake Erie this season. ¬†Lines at Jeff’s Bait and Tackle (boats/trailers/trucks) are stretching back towards I-75 on the weekends. They are a pretty well oiled machine in there though, and get you in and out pretty quick. If you get out early, the lines aren’t bad at the Sterling State Park launch, but you might kill a half hour on the water while waiting to put the boat back on the trailer.

Michigan 2-Fly Rig

Went back out Friday and Saturday and had a blast out in 27 fow inside the line just Southeast of Stoney Point. ¬†Used nothing but my Michigan 2-Fly Rig and minnows from Jeff’s. ¬†I came up with the name for the rig from going back to my ice fishing heritage when a lot of people in Michigan used a fly dropper above their ice jigs, and it was called the Michigan Rig. ¬†Taking that a step farther, I tied another snell for using the second fly. ¬†One goes on the wire hook (lear) arm, while I attach the second fly to the sinker on the rig. ¬†I prefer an one ounce sinker for keeping contact with the bottom.

Michigan 2-Fly Rig

Friday the action was fast and furious and it only took a couple of hours for the Catch Counter to say it was time to go in.

You see a lot of the counters at the docks in the boats going out, and what a great way to keep track of how many perch you have in the boat. ¬†After each trip, the count was right on the money as I put them in the Tumble Drumms to scale the perch. ¬†Every bait shop in Monroe has them now, including Jeff’s outside the state park.

Everyone on Facebook is asking me where I have been catching the perch. ¬†Still on the same numbers from the original “Perchnado” article. ¬†Just Southeast of the point, and in 27 fow…still.

The water has been great so far, and all sizes of boats are coming out of the woodwork to get in on the action.  Its awesome to see so many families out there and watching the kids having a great time.

Flies for the Michigan 2-Fly Rig

Time to get back to tying those flies. ¬†Jeff’s sold out of the Silver Ice and Glow Pink, early this morning. ¬†Hopefully I will have at least two more colors available for this weekend. ¬†If you don’t seem them right away, ask for them at the counter….or they might be sold out already!

Copyright, 2017

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