We are getting closer to my favorite part of the winter season. Ice fishing is right around the corner. Dropping tip-ups in the lake is my ideal way to start the year.
Tip-ups are an excellent way to get to kids involved, without them getting bored of watching a bobber float all day. When the jiggle stick fishing slows, break out the tip-ups and hit the weed beds for northern pike.
Tips ups, to me, are the most straightforward way of fishing. There isn’t a reel, you pull the fish in by hand, in a hand over fist combative battle. Man VS Fish. A simple way of fishing with simple equipment. Hook, line, sinker. The spool of line is submerged down the hole, with your weight and bait. When the fish bites and runs, the spool turns, releasing a flag on a spring. The flag flips up notifying you of a bite. The rest is in your hands, literally.
Line and Hook
When choosing a fishing line for tip-ups, choose a braid with a higher poundage. I like to use about 70 yards of 50-pound test for my tip-ups. Its strong enough to pull in the monsters but its also thick enough to grip with your fingers without cutting them. Choosing a hook size depends on the size of the bait you are using. I typically use a 1/0 or 2/0 size J hook. Some people prefer treble hooks instead.
Drill holes about 25 yards apart and cover the water column with your baits. I set my baits anywhere from two feet below the ice to one foot off the bottom. Keep in mind what depth you are at because the fish will tell you where they are bitting
When looking for a spot to set up on the ice, think about what the water looks like in the summer. The pike are going to be cruising weed beds looking for lunch. I like to start out in 8 to 10 feet of water.
What To Tip Your Hook With
When I set out ice fishing for northern pike, there are two baits I always have. A half dozen of small sucker minnows, and a half dozen of shiner minnows. These baits are where I’ve had the most luck. When I set my minnows, I put the hook halfway between the dorsal fin and the tail. Be careful that you don’t hit the spine of your bait; it will kill it.
Getting your first flag is exciting, but take your time. All things considered, running on ice isn’t a great idea, for two reasons. One, it’s dangerous, you could slip and fall. Two, running on the ice can spook the fish, causing it to drop your bait. Once you arrive at the bait, wait for the fish to stop; when it does gently pull the tip-up out of the water, and spool off some line. Set the tip-up aside and slowly start to pull the line back, when you feel that the fish is still on the line and there is some tension, SET THE HOOK! Take your time pulling him in and be careful not to bounce the fish off the bottom of the ice. This could jar the hook loose and you could lose the fish.
Now that you have caught the fish, It’s PICTURE TIME! Congratulations
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