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The New School of Ice Fishing


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Over the years ice fishing gear has come along way baby.

How does it all help me catch more fish?

Well that's a deep subject and to thouroughly talk it over it could take hours.

Here'some key issues that I think are important.

To start I think we have to address clothing.

Standing on the ice all day a fisherperson really need to have a good set of boot and wool socks.By good boots I mean a boot that can wick moisture away from your feet .Sock that have those same characteristics are important too.Wool should never be overlooked for sub zero climates.

Next a good set of bibs with padded knees and a jacket that have the ability to keep you dry as well as cutting the wind when she starts a blowin like a banshee.

Layered under garments come into play here to.Remember you can always take off those layers ,but if you can't add if you do not have them with you.

A good hat and mits are a must as well especially if you are on foot.Lastly a set of ice cleat for early and late ice will definitly keep you from falling.

Oh ya,ice picks should be a mainstay for those same late and early ice times.

When temps fall having a portable and heater really help for several reasons.

1st off getting warm keeps me on the ice much longer which improves my odds of getting into more fish.

2nd Being out of the wind also aides me since I'm using a spring bobber for the majority of my fishing, wind can and will mess with my ability to read that spring.

3rd If I choose to hide my catch the portable has me concealed.

4th Privacy for those special times when a BM overtakes you.

5th The portable enables me to pile all of my gear into it for hauling out to the ice.

6th Not being pinned down and being able to run and gun, a portable allows us to stay right on top of the fish.

Electronics such as flashers and cameras have really stepped our fishing game.

Now we can see exactly what is going on down there instead of being blind and guessing.

Having the ability to read structure,fish's moods

and species has got to be one of the most important improvements in our gear.

Rods and reels have come a long was as well.

We now have the same quality gear that we use on the open water only in smaller ,lighter and more sensitive.

I can remember in the days of old how I used to bust off on those bigger fish on my panfish gear.

With the new reels that have liquid smooth drags that bust off has been reduced by better then 90%.

Our lines are better and the rods are no longer the cut offs from our open water rods.

They are made specifically to load up properly and to handle that load with grace under pressure.

Those of us that have landed 15-20 pound pike on 4 test will agree on how these upgrades have improved our abilities to land those monsters on light tackle.

Lighting,augers,heaters have also improved greatly.

They are lighter,less bulky making it easier to haul.

When you look at today's gear there is something

about being highly mobile and super deadly that's so exciting.

Make a point to upgrade a piece of gear every year and you will see just how much more fun it can be.

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Great info CK. I have most of what you have mentioned and it helps a lot. I'm still learning the flasher and can't really tell structure or species yet. I've been out with Hanson and see that he says it's a crappie or eye and he's been right when he pulls it up. Is there a way to post how you tell this info?

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Of coarse with a camera you can see exacly the structure and species ,but how do you do that with a flasher?

As to structure.Keeping your gain as low as posible ,the leading edge of the sonar signal will be red if it's a hard bottom like sand or rock.

A green or yellow signal depending on the brand of flasher you have will indicate mud or a soft bottom.

Weeds can be identified with the lowest color setting or like the color a fish makes as it 1st enters your sonar cone.

As to identifing the species of fish,well that's a bit trickier.

You 1st must understand where those fish travel.

For the most part walleyes and perch follow the bottom.

Blue gills and crappies suspend somewhat.Not all of the time ,but it's pretty common.

I've seen perch rifle up to hit my bait on jet mode.

After you watch your flasher enough you gain a 7th sense of what's what.

You can also tell on how they fight.

Really it just takes several expierences before you can start to hazard a good guess.

Keep fishing and you'll start to get the idea.

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Identification of fish species on the flasher really pulls together a number of things. Can you tell by looking at the mark or marks on the flasher? Probably not. Can you tell by how that mark reacts to your presentation? Most definitely, but there will always be a fish or two that throws you a curveball. It really comes down to the body of water, knowledge of fish species within that body of water, lure & presentation, and then how that fish reacts or behaves to your presentation.

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Part of this new school is mobility.

In the ole days you caught fish if they were there you didn't if they were not there.

Being able to pick up and move at the drop of a hat is crucial to being mobile.

Add in our power augers and flasher sonar we can drill holes until we find those fish which is or at least can be the ultimate battle.

Finding those fish is really the hardest thing as a fishermen we will do.

It takes an understanding of the cyclonic nature those fish have as the seasons change.They move from wintering areas to pre spawning areas to summering areas and then fall areas .Knowing what stage they are in will help in locating those fish you are after.Once found the main battle is over,but you can thank your flasher as your line never had to even get wet.

Once found that power auger can buzz a few holes.That new slush out scoop will clean them and that portable is set up within a few short minutes.Your heater is now pumping 15,000 btu's and your drag is screaming with FISH ON!

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I agree that mobility is important, but I do think that ice anglers can and do move too often. I think we oftentimes fish holes instead of fish.

There is a lot of value in searching and staying on a school, but there is also a lot of value in finding that great transition spot and setting up the 'ambush' or calling them in with your buckshot and noodle combo.

I think a lot of the gear can be incredibly helpful, but it can hurt as it handicaps us from being better fisherman, or even approaching fishing in the right frame of mind.

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So true Chode2235 is some respect.

I guess I was referring to something a bit different,like not being pinned down to 1 local without a big production to move helps us fish where the fish are.

Even hitting several lakes in 1 day can make or break the day.

Fishing URL I may move several times in a day if I'm not marking those fish.

This is where my flasher pays big dividends.

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Agreed, I think it is important to do your homework and have several places of where to go and set up. The planning that goes on before hand really separates the good from great ice fisherman.

I think a lot of people have one spot, and start drilling hole after hole hoping to mark fish. Find a good spot, set up and fish it. I don't know how many times I have 'called' fish in, and caught a ton. Fish fish and not holes.

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I'll have my H2O out while the bite is slow looking at the next hole, funnel ,trough to hit.

Investigating structure is how I'll find those new sweet spots.

A lake map is only so good.

You just never know where the spot on the spot will be.

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 Originally Posted By: crappiekeith
]A lake map is only so good.

You just never know where the spot on the spot will be.

i believe this is where underwater cameras shine. I myself have not used one but i believe cameras make finding the spot on the spot a whole lot easier.

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I bought the camera first, got the flasher as a gift shortly there after, but the Flasher definately has much more uses than the camera.

The camera is nice or when the bite is slow and you can still see fish, but I have only caught a few fish with the use of the camera. The flasher becomes more and more a tool that is a must, especially since i got my ice armor suit!!!

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 Originally Posted By: tisosy11
The flasher becomes more and more a tool that is a must

I agree. I hate the feeling of getting to a lake and A) you find out you forgot your graph or B) You find out your battery is dead. Once you use a flasher it is so hard not to.

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My roommate, who I admit knows 10x more about ice fishing than I do, told me that you'll out-fish the competition with a flasher v. no flasher 5 to 1. I think he was wrong, it's more like 10 to 1. First trip out this year with the new fl-18 produced a 14.5 inch crappie, tough to complain.

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I didn't think flashers did that much. Then I got one, I'm still learning to read everything on it, but I can tell when there are fish down there. It helps so much, I won't ice fish without it. I turn back and go get it if I forget and I always charge the battery when I get home so it's ready. I even carry a spare to run my lights in the house. I'll go without lights before the flasher.

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I agree, the flasher is the first thing in my truck when I load up.That being said I feel As the flasher has evolved, the fish and the fishermen have evolved along with it. Having a flasher,and constantly being able to be on top of the fish. Has led to a very "finicky" bite. Im not saying I dont have my days where the fish will be very aggressive and willing to bite. But seems like you have to be on top of your game to be successful out on the ice. For example there is a metro area lake that has a few deep holes in it. These holes will almost always hold suspended crappies in them all day long. The down fall is that it gets hit pretty hard. It is not uncommon to show up and share holes with 3-4 other guys. Everyone out there is marking fish but few can get them to bite. If your not enrolled in the "new school of fishing". You might have to get out those old pictures from back in the day when you used to catch fish. p.s. Im not really this cocky....lol

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The camera is a great way to see the speices of fish. You see the bottom and its content, the fish and your presentation if you can rotate the camera.

But, you can also turn a sweet spot into a dead zone. Simply drop your camera down to quick to where it hits the bottom and like a atom bomb blast..... you have a cloud of silt that will be the spot killer. I did this for the 1st time yesterday on a lake that was producing mix of crappies, gills and nice perch all in one. The camera identified all three. But, the clip hold ing the camera off bottom let loose and KABOOM....

I drilled holes as far as 50 feet of the spot before I re connected with the fish frenzy I had enjoyed ealier. I did go back and check the spot where I created the cloud of silt. it fouled the Vex reading for over an hour. I am sure though the fish found it to be a good way to remain feeding. They probably had a buffet of delicious morsals created by the bomb by the camera lens. But I coudn't see zilch with either the camera or the locator.

Yep, the camera is neat. Water clairity playes a role in what you'll see. I looked at some walleye spots this winter in preperation for next spring/summer eye ball search and found interesting rocks, gravel and boulders. I was also looking for a lantern that went down in that vicinity about 10 years ago. Didn't see it...... Yet. HadI owned a GPS back then, mabey Id have a chance to find it now. Probaly ran out of fuel by now, yah think.?

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