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City_Slicker

setting hook

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Well guys the last couple of times I have been ice fishing I have been getting lots of bites but when I go to se the hook the fish is gone for ever 10 bites I probley pull up 1 fish. The fish I am fishing for are crappies and I have been fishing for them in about 26f of water. Any tips on how to catch these little buggers before they spit the hook out.

thanks

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First off, are you using a bobber? If you are, make sure that it is properly balanced. You want the slighest weight to pull it down, if a crappie feels too much weight it will spit that jig. Ice Buster Bobbers are great for this, cut down as much as you need so that the float is just barely staying a float. Then once a crappie comes by and sucks in the jig it won't feel any weight and the bobber will sink like a feather and the crappie won't know the difference.

I personally don't use bobbers. I good rod with a sensitive tip and light line works awesome. I like 2 pound test line for crappies. Watch for movements in the line or the slightest bit of slack, that will often times indicate a crappie strike/inhale. Anything out of the ordinary can be considered a strike. Also, when setting the hook use a constant motion instead of big jerk. Crappies have paperthin lips and the hook can rip right through them. Crappies will often times inhale and exhale tasting the bait so fast that you won't have more then a split second to react. So, at the sign of anything "different", set the hook.

Crappies are notorious for being light biters. They will bite "up" on a lot of occations and it can be hard to pinpoint strikes. Get a feel for the jig you are fishing with and know what it feel likes throughout the jigging sequence. If at anytime it feels awkward or you are marking fish and its seems as if they aren't biting, they very well could have just inhaled, tasted, and then spit it out. If you ever get a chance to watch crappies feed on an underwater camera take the opportunity. You will be amazed how many times a crappie sucks in your jig and spits it out without you even knowing. Using an underwater camera to catch crappies is tough, because you are always on the move chasing and finding the fish. Out of all the times I hit the ice last winter, I think I used the underwater caerma twice to catch crappies, always on the go and no time to set up and fish. A few minutes at each hole and on to the next one.

One more tip, try using small jigging spoons for crappies. Those treble hooks are tough for crappies to break free from, and spoons can be dynamite on hardwater crappies. Small 1/8 or 1/16 oz spoons are one of my go-to lures for crappies through the ice. If they don't want it, they will often times atleast appear and let you know there are fish down there. But you will be surprised how many times those crappies will attack a small spoon packed with maggots or a minnow head. Not to mention the cruising walleyes like them too wink.gif

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

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First Choice Guide Service

[email protected]
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait
MarCum

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Cityslicker,
You may be setting the hook too hard! Crappies have a very soft mouth and the hook rips out easily. If this is not your problem try this:
My number one cure for soft biting crappies is to use a very soft,limber noodle rod. I like a 30" rod.
If you are using electronics you will be able to see the fish approach your bait. When it is about 1 foot or less from the bait, start lifting the bait "slowly" away from the fish,watch the rod tip and as soon as it bends even slightly give the rod a quick lift, keep the line tight, and start cranking!
This is usually very effective for me.
Good Fishing!
Cliff

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Cliff's Guide Service
CliffsGuideService-LakeVermilion.com
Lake Vermilion
Phone: (218) 753-2005

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Nice post Matt. A bobber should be balanced so the minnow just takes it under a tad when it struggles. Fish feel less and will take a minnow better. Also a lighter jig or a bare hook may be your ticket. Ice buster bobbers are nice for this because they can be trimmed down easily. I carry about 12 different sizes or just deadstick on my rock n reel.

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Are you setting the hook right away? or later? I know so far this year I have been setting the hook right away and havent missed to many fish.
You dont need a monstor hook set either, like someone else metioned.

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Be sure the hook is sharp! Paper thin mouths still require a sharp hook and don't get fooled into thinking that "new" tackle always has sharp hooks. Check the gap at the hook end of whatever you are using. The point of the hook should angle slightly out away from the hook shank.

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Sure life happens- why wait....The Crapster....good fishing guys!
[email protected]

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I would echo what Cliff W said...when I started ice fishing, I missed a lot of fish, until I figured out that I was setting the hook way too hard. If you are using a jigging rod, watch how far the lure moves when you make your hookset motion. If the rod tip is pointed down when the fish bites, you don't need any arm action...just a sharp wrist snap is enough to set the hook. Well, for perch and crappie anyway...walleye and northern are a bit different.

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I knoticed one time when using the camera,that the line and the rod did not indicate a bite untill the fish was blowing the jig back out. I would watch the fish suck the bait in and blow it back out in the blink of an eye,and not untill the fish was blowing it out did I fiel anything. For thoes days when the bite is lite get a camera.

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Does your hook/jig come up empty after you set the hook? Here's the reason I ask, a couple of years ago we were fishing for perch/walleyes up on Leech, it was the first time I got to try out my new underwater camera. I was amazed at how the perch would get the minnow into their mouth, pull the bobber down into the hole 3-5 inches and never get the hook into their mouth. Before using the camera I would set the hook and at least half the time come up with a empty hook. What I found by watching the camera and the bobber at the same time is, the perch would take the minnow into their mouth and start to swim away, thus the bobber would go down, the fish would then rearrange the minnow in their mouth and the bobber seemed to come back up the hole. Once the fish had the minnow and hook into it's mouth the bobber went back down second time, that was the time to set the hook. Of course sometimes the fish comes in and slams the bait and you don't have to do any waiting.

Ole

[This message has been edited by Ole1855 (edited 12-18-2003).]

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