• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On January 19, 2018
  • Comments
  •  5

Most level headed people righteously question the sanity of a hardcore ice fisherman, but that’s only because they don’t understand the payoffs involved.

I just got off Lake Hopatcong, tired and spent from a day drilling holes in the hardwater. Total tally of a day and half fishing? – 21 jumbo yellow perch to 15 inches long, 32 chain pickerel up to 3.5 pounds and two bucketmouth largemouth bass. Traditional ice fishing revolves around setting tip-ups out and chasing orange flags when they get tripped by the fish.

A general tip-up rig for pickerel and perch includes the dacron backing line on the reel, then a 40-pound Spro Barrel swivel, and a 20-inch section of 12 to 15-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader with a size #4 Gamakatu Octopus hook on the end. A size B to BB split shot is set just above the barrel swivel and a live shiner hooked just behind the dorsal fin is bait. A more active approach to ice angling involves jigging with stunty little rods and ultralight reels.

A good match is a St. Croix Silver Legend 24-inch rod, fixed with a Daiwa Crossfire 2000 spinning reel. Spool up with 8-pound Trilene XL monofilament. Jigs run all over the board when targeting perch, bluegills and pickerel. Common lures include Rufus Jr jigs, Rapala Jigging Raps, Buckshot Rattlin spoons, and Rat Finkie jigs. You can tip jigs with “mousies” or “spikes”, which are glorified names for maggots, yup maggots, but the panfish love ‘em.

You’ll find yellow perch school up in packs and where you jig one up, you’re sure to find more. Generally, drop the jig to the bottom and work it a foot or two off the bottom with a super subtle twitch of the rod tip. Pickerel will take a more aggressive presentation on the larger Jiggin’ Rap, as it swims around in circles with a subtle lift of the rod. Pick yourself up a pair of Corkers as well to get ground and sure footing on the slick surface of the ice. A day out ice angling is sure to put a smile on your face with plenty of action all day long. Just bring plenty of hot coffee!

Suggested Gear

13 Fishing

Wicked Ice Combos

The 13 Fishing Wicked Ice Combos feature a Toray graphite blank that makes it super-light and sensitive for detecting soft strikes, yet is stiff enough to land big fish. The rod also features an Evolve carbon reel seat and performance guides.



Crossfire 2000 Spinning Reel

The all new Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reels feature Daiwa Digigear, an aluminum ABS spool that is double anodized, a machined aluminum handle, infinite anti reverse, and more. Perfect for ultra light tackle freshwater and ice fishing.



Trilene XL Armor Coated Monofilament

Berkley Trilene XL Armor Coated, through Bi-component Technology, is a monofilament line with two bonded layers – an abrasion resistant sheath and an exceptionally flexible core. The two layers work together to improve abrasion resistance.



Jigging Shad Rap Lure

The Jigging Shad Rap has more pronounced movement, with slow circle down action. Raising in a sharp “snapping” motion will cause the bait to circle faster. A quick “vibrating” motion can also be used at fixed depths to prompt strikes from otherwise lifeless fish.



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