Ice fishing jigging technique and lure action

Posted on January 13, 2012

The fall and flutter of an ice lure is key to ice-fishing success. We want to see a slow, natural descending action, and in general, lighter lures are better at achieving this. I use a lot of No. 12 ice lures.

Do not use split-shots when jigging light ice lures. Split shots are fine for hard-water minnow and bobber fishing, but adding them to a free-falling ice lure completely alters the action. The reason is simple: The split shot falls faster and overwhelms the jig.

As for the proper jigging action for crappies and bluegills, I find that too often people employ no jigging action whatsoever, or they over-jig. You want to do whatever works at that given timeframe. Changes in weather and time of day often demand different jigging actions.

Our goal is to attract fish, then catch them. Quite often I'll raise the rod 3 to 4 feet then let it flutter down as an attractor.

Once you mark fish, will they automatically hammer the lure? No. I've had a lot of crappies hugging the bottom this winter, and I find myself having to tease these fish up, thus changing them from a negative to neutral fish. This works for walleyes, too, (even in open water.)

When you catch a fish, ask yourself, "How did I catch that? What did I do differently?"

Did you hold your lure longer, maybe use a smaller vs. larger waxworm? Try to duplicate exactly what you did before and establish a pattern.