By Montana Grant

Posted: February 20, 2020


If you do not see the bite, you will normally get skunked when ice fishing. Lat season ice means lazy and soft bites. Inexperienced anglers often do not know what to look for.

Spring Bobbers are a must when ice fishing. You will increase your catch times 10 if you see the bites. Early inn the season, hungry fish will drag your rod down the hole. During late season, they just kiss the bait, and that’s it. Even with this enhanced bite indicator, you need to know what to see. Once you understand the bite, you can see your buddy’s bites 20 feet away.

As usual, there is not just One Thing you need to do.

Sharpen the hook   If the hook hit the ice, or has caught a few fish, sharpen it! Also check the bend or shape of the hooks angle. Using a pair of forceps allows you to bend the hook point slightly up and out.

Spring Bobbers   My Favorite Spring Bobber is flat and about 5 inches long. It attaches to the rod tip with shrink tubing or a rubber base. Use silicon adhesive to help it stay in place. They come with green or red tips. The tip guide is rather small. It needs to be larger but… Use lip calm to keep the guides from freezing up. Sometimes, you need to put the tip in your mouth to melt the ice out and clear the hole.

Most bites happen when the fish approaches from under your bait. If they rise up to bite, your tip will actually come up. That is a bite! You may not see this with a bobber, unless you use a stick bobber. This style of float will lay down when the fish bites up on your bait. Normal bites mean the tip drops down. Regular rod tips with no indicator will not show you the bites. They are simply too stiff.

Set the Hook NOW!   During late winter bites, if you snooze, you lose. You must react on the bite immediately. If you wait for another bite, good luck. Start looking at your second rod for the next bite. Fish often drift over to the next opportunity. If you miss the bite, immediately drop the bait down, don’t reel in yet. After a few minutes, reel in to see if your bait needs attention.

More Rods Means More Chances   But, you need to look at more than one rod tips. You will also need rod holders. Try a simple wooden rack that will hold the rod parallel to the ice. You simply need to lift the rod up. Rod tubes require you to pull the rod out and then up. Odds are the fish is gone by the time you unholster your rig.

Longer Rods are Quicker…   and can handle bigger fish. The short rods are for inside small shanties. Sit facing the sun so you don’t cast a shadow over your hole. You will also see the spring bobber better. The longer rod allows you to stay away from the hole. The longer rod, or lever, will set fast when you grab the fulcrum, reel, and lift. You can also put the rod tip down the hole to play larger fish or guide them easily onto the ice. A great reel wit a great drag also helps!

Seeing is believing!

Montana Grant

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