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Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor Blog for Stories, Tips and Reviews

Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor Blog for Stories Tips and Reviews from Outdoor Men and Women.

 

Top Ice Fishing Lures You Need

Troy Thomas

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In last year’s Ice Fishing Guide, In-Fisherman Editor In Chief Doug Stange picked his Top 10 Ice Lures of All Time. He focused on lures for larger predatory fish: walleyes, pike, bass, lake trout. His choices were (in no particular order of preference) the Acme Kastmaster, Custom Jigs & Spins Slender Spoon, Jig-A-Whopper Rocker Minnow, Northland Forage Minnow, PK Flutter Fish & PK Spoon, Nils USA Hali, Williams Nipigon, Rapala Jigging Rap, Nils Master Jigging Shad, and Livetarget Golden Shiner. That’s actually 11 top choices, but he included the two PK items together as one.

We asked three noteworthy members of the ice community to make their choices. Cory Schmidt has been writing about ice fishing for decades and is a longtime In-Fisherman field editor. Tom Gruenwald also is a longtime writer on ice topics and a TV host, who has for many years worked in various capacities with HT Enterprises, a well-known ice-industry company. Jason Mitchell also is a well-known writer and TV host, who has been instrumental in designing ice equipment. Their picks are offered in no particular order.

Sebile Vibrato—I love the horizontal posture and vibration. It’s an overlooked option in most ice locales.

Rapala Jigging Rap—The #7 and #9 are big-fish hero lures.

Bay de Noc Lures Do-Jigger—My favorite flutter-style spoon of all time gives off subtle, baitfish-like flashes on the upstroke and has a beautiful shimmy on the fall.

Salmo Chubby Darter—In-Fisherman Digital Editor Jeff Simpson’s creation is the best predator “fish call” ever made.

Custom Jigs & Spins Slender Spoon—Another exceptional light flutterspoon.

Northland Tackle Macho Minnow—Catches pressured fish like few other spoons.

Reel Bait Flasher Jig—I love this jig in dark water, tipped with a lively fathead or shiner, worked within a foot of the bottom. Works deadsticked on or near bottom, as well.

PK Lures Flutter Fish—Every time I fish this spoon, I wonder why I don’t fish it more. Always catches fish.

Jig-A-Whopper Lazer Rocker Minnow—First offered by Gary Snyder’s Jig-A-Whopper brand, HT Enterprises now markets this aggressive-working spoon—another all-time great.

Lucky John Maiko—After one season, I think this one could become another classic. It’s a swimming minnow with a wobbling action you have to see to believe. A great fish caller, and they eat the heck out of it when they get there.

Schmidt: “There’s something satisfying about still being able to tie on the same magical silver-blue Do-Jigger I used 25 years ago to catch walleyes. And even after all this time, walleyes in most icy environs still also react aggressively to a #7 Jigging Rap. Indeed, last winter, I broke out an old orange-and-gold foil pattern Jigging Rap I purchased from Dave Cook’s Sporting Goods in Denver, Colorado, around 1979, and caught my biggest walleye of the season.

“My wish for new entries in the swimming lure category were granted this year. As I held Berkley’s Snap Jig in my hand, even in the heat of Orlando’s July 2017 ICAST show, my mind immediately pined for first ice. It has a tail resembling the Jigging Rap, giving it a wide gliding action. It also has a barbed keeper for rigging with your favorite softbait. Small flukes come to mind. Z-Man’s Slim SwimZ has been a recent favorite. The new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flat Nose Minnow is another good option. This, along with some of the new walleye-sized tungsten jigs, such as Fiskas XL Walleye Jig, give anglers hope that good things are happening on the ice lure scene. And yet, we know our favorite old Do-Jiggers, Swedish Pimples, Rocker Minnows, and Kastmasters can just as easily emerge from the box when a fish needs catching.”

The post Top Ice Fishing Lures You Need to Try appeared first on In-Fisherman.

Seven Lessons for Bigger Winter Pike

Troy Thomas

I was so smitten with pike that I pursued the big toothy critters with abandon throughout the winter months. That drive laid a foundation in my understanding of pike and taught me lessons that I’ve been able to refine to this day.

It helped, too, that I was able to bounce my on-the-ice observations off some of the greatest minds in the science community. Four decades later, we’re landing more and bigger pike than ever before.

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Tactics For Hunting Locked-Down Bucks

Troy Thomas

In early November deer hunting, those just-out-of-bow-range bucks seem to be everywhere—and you just know you’re going to kill one as soon as you can carry a gun to your stand. Then dawn breaks on opening day of firearms season, and you can’t spot a rutting buck to save your life. 

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The Search for Giant Perch

Troy Thomas

Yellow perch hold a special place in the hearts of hardcore panfish anglers. Seasoned anglers can recount the precise details surrounding the capture of their biggest yellow perch from decades past as though it was yesterday. Others spin tales of the day they got into a mother lode of jumbos and filled a fish basket too heavy to lift.

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How to Buy a New Fly Rod on Any Budget

Troy Thomas

Walk into any fly shop from the Rockies to the Catskills and you’ll see a wall or two full of trout rods. Most shops carry a half-dozen brands at least, and the prices range from the bare-bones value of rods like the ECHO Base, all the way to the pricey G. Loomis Asquith. I’ve spent my entire life chasing trout in the American West, and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about “good” trout rods.

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When (and How) to Use a Bleat Call to Stop a Buck

Troy Thomas

Sometimes bleating to stop a moving deer can actually be disastrous, turning a makeable shot opportunity into a spooked buck bounding out of your life forever. Nobody is saying you should abandon the bleat call altogether, but you do need to learn to use it wisely.

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After the Shot. How to Keep the Meat Fresh

Troy Thomas

I love oversized antlers. And big bucks in general. All of that. But as I grow older, the most satisfaction I get from any hunt that comes in a tangible, touchable form is the meat. There is something about peering into my chest freezer and seeing dozens of pounds of meat that makes me feel like things are alright.  

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Vertical Fishing for Walleyes

Troy Thomas

Walleyes seem genetically programmed to react to rising and falling prey. One of the easiest meals for any predatory fish is crippled or dying baitfish. They often dart upward erratically, only to lose momentum and drift downward. This up-and-down movement draws attention. For this reason, vertical lure motion is fundamental to walleye fishing.

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Finding Walleyes

Troy Thomas

If there’s one thing you learn in over 30 years of walleye fishing, it’s that good spots are good spots, sometimes even independent of the season. Along the location trail, it’s common to uncover spots that look appealing on a lake map, but don’t attract walleyes because they lack baitfish, vegetation, or other critical habitat; or sometimes it’s as simple as the structure is in the wrong part of the lake; or it’s not exposed to the right current or wind. 

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Deer Hunting Mistakes Guaranteed to Ruin the Rut

Troy Thomas

The rut is the Super Bowl of whitetail hunting. Bucks that typically behave like ghosts are suddenly vulnerable, and your chances of tagging a wall-hanger are at their highest. But whitetails are still whitetails—always cautious and rarely pushovers. So there are plenty of ways you can go wrong. Here are ways you can turn the annual breeding season into a surefire flop.

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Muskie Fall Fishing Secrets

Troy Thomas

Few freshwater experiences rival the adrenaline rush you get when a monster muskie shadows your lure to the boat. But this addictive surge of epinephrine can make it hard to focus on the best course of action to convert follows into strikes and, more importantly, get the fish in the boat. 

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Late Season Means Bigger Fish in Smaller Water

Troy Thomas

Last year featured our first extended fly fishing seasons in Wisconsin. Early trout fly fishing season here opens on the first Saturday of January, and you can now fish through to the 15th of October. For many years, our season typically ended September 30th, but state fisheries biologists determined that our spawning trout would not be adversely effected by adding 15 days to season.

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