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Airplane jigs

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I live in the northern protion of the NYC metro area, where I spend the winter months ice fishing on the NYC reservoirs. These bodies of water experience very little fishing pressure because a state license as well as a special NYC permit are required of those wanting to fish the NYC reservoirs.

Most of our favorite spots are in areas where the water depth varies between thirty to sixty feet. Occasionally, we fish depths of one hundred or more feet.

Minows are the prefered bait for yellow perch, brown trout as well as lake trout. When jigging for yellow perch on the bottom, I use nymphs with spikes. For the trout, I use special marabu ice fishing flies, which I tie.

It was of great interest to me when I read, on this forum, that you folks in Minn. use an airplane jig when fishing for lake trout. Without knowing which patterns and sizes are the most effective, I ordered some 1/2oz and 1oz. jigs from a source in Minn.

However, none of my fishing pals, several of whom have been ice fishing the reservoirs for many, many decades, as well as the local tackle shops have ever heard of airplane jigs. So, of course, no one can tell me how these jigs are to be fished.

Thus, my question to you experts, how is an airplane jig properly fished?

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Airplane jigs dart to the side when you jig up, and spiral slowly downward in a fairly tight circle on slack line.

Since lakers seem to like meat, I generally tip any jigging lure with a minnow head or strip of cisco (tulibee), although I've caught lakers jigging with no meat on the lure, too.

Drop the lure from top all the way to the bottom, paying attention to your line. If it stops before you think you've hit bottom, reel up fast and set the hook. From the bottom, work it up in stages to right under the hole. Jig it up a couple feet, let it fall back on slack line. Do that a couple times at each level, then crank the reel a few times and do it again. Lakers will hit anywhere from right on the bottom to right under the ice, and there's no telling from one fish to another. If you have electronics, it's even more fun to watch that big red band rush up 20 feet to smack your lure. If fish keep rushing up and stopping without striking, pull the lure away from them and make them chase it. Lots of times you will work a laker for a few minutes, teasing and taunting before it will strike. Other times, no matter what you do they don't strike. Even if you have electronics and don't see a fish, assume there's one outside the cone watching your lure. It keeps the attention focused, and I've had fish smack my lures that I never saw on the electronics, probably because they rushed in so fast from the side while my lure was toward the edge of the cone.

It can get monotonous, but that's the basic way to use airplanes. Also, if you're in a dark enough house you can watch the jig for a few minutes when you first start fishing it. Work it a couple feet under the hole to see how it's moving.

Good luck!

------------------
"Worry less, fish more."
Steve Foss
[email protected]

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Thank you for your detailed explanation. Hopefully, the airplane jigs will fool our lake trout.

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Don't be afraid to downsize with smaller jigging raps and spoons in typical walleye sizes. If you get lakers coming in like gangbusters but not striking no matter what you do, your bait might be too big. Coupla lakes up here in northeastern Minn. where that's true.

------------------
"Worry less, fish more."
Steve Foss
[email protected]

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there also is a new airplane jig out called the slider, it worked great in canada this year for lakers. its smaller size, and the trebles on the wings are not there, which we removed from the airplane anyhow since they tangle the line on hard jigs. best color is always been glow. good luck.

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