Ice fishing the "Figure 8"
- Blog Post by: Josh Hagenmeister
- January 24, 2013 - 11:15 AM
Jigging, twitching, rocking, and coasting are descriptives of the movements an ice angler instills into the bait while ice fishing through a 8"-12" platform (fancy term for hole in the ice). Not alot of wiggle room in the old ice hole to create horizontal movement which can be extremely important in the realm of ice fishing with microscopic baits--especially when your talkin' panfish. That's where the triggering tactic --"the figure eight" -- which is used to trigger muskies at boat side-- can come in handy while ice fishing.
I'm guessing that 95% of most ice anglers use some form of verticle movement when trying to trigger a strike from a non-commited panfish, or walleye, or bass, or... you get my drift. They are ultimately forgetting about the obvious--horizontal movement. I am not sure why more anglers do not try to immitate horizontal movements through the ice--no matter how small the movements are. It's another one of those small details that will catch more fish. Turn back the clock a few years. Jigging Rapalas and airplane jigs are a common example of the effectiveness of horizontal movement under the ice. Using a "figure 8" pattern in the hole can put a bunch of bonus fish on the ice when using just about any ice fishing bait. Heck, why is everyone buying the horizontal hanging baits that work so well but only moving them vertically? Hmmm, ooops.
I typically will start out using a variety of verticle movements with the bait and catch the most aggressive fish first. After the bite slows a bit ( I have already caught the most aggressive fish ), I begin to key on the other fish (that are still there either visually or via Vexilar) that are not as aggressive and need a little more persuassion. I start to move the bait around the edged of the hole in a circle pattern and then ease into a full fledged "figure 8" pattern (I'm not using a bobber by the way). I have found that using a slower horizontal speed works the best probably because there is a lag time or pendulum effect from the rod tip to the actuall movement of the bait. The shallower you are fishing (less line out), the shorter the lag time is and visa versa. I have caught some of my biggest bull 'gills, perch and walleyes using this simple switch-up. If ya think about it, the majority of the baitfish population in a body of water is moving horizontally at any given time so why shouldnt you?
Short but sweet and something to think about, give it a shot the next time you hit the ice, if anything, it's good conversation and your fishing partner will probably laugh at the idea--until that fish start to pile up. Good Luck, Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com
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