Ice fishing tips: Refining your jigging techniques for light-biting crappies and sunfish
Finding fish is only part of the angling battle. Next they must accept your offering, then you must detect their strike. When the bite is hot just about anyone can put fish on ice, but for finicky fish, you’ll have to refine those jigging techniques.
Using the proper gear is step one in fine-tuning a jigging presentation. Use a rod that is sensitive enough to detect the light bites of those fussy panfish. I prefer an ultralight noodle-style rod with 2-pound-test line and a small spinning reel with a smooth drag.
My jigging style varies depending on the mood of the fish, but my most successful jigging technique is a constant jiggle. Drop your lure down just above the fish and begin a cadence of constant rod tip vibration, then wait. Watch your sonar and see how fish respond while you jig and fine tune your stroke. Decipher what gets them to respond.
When it comes to lure selection I choose a hook that is just heavy enough to feel the jig as you are jigging. It’s not always about feeling the bite; sometimes it’s just noticing a slight change in the way your hook feels while you jig. A fish doesn’t always pull down when nipping at your bait. Often, a bluegill will approach your bait and suck in and spit out your bait thus causing the lure to slightly move sideways in the water column. We see on the underwater camera that it’s not actually pulling down on the bait. When you are jigging, you’ll notice that your lure didn’t fall to bottom of your jigging stroke for a split second, and that might be your only way to detect the bite. It might also be your only chance to set the hook! Watch the tip of the rod and monitor how the line reacts to your jigging.
Crappies, which tend to feed up, may deliver a completely different type of bite. When they approach your lure, they will often lift your bait causing the line to go slack rather than pulling and creating a tight line. So when you no longer feel the weight of your hook while jigging, set it! If you expect fish to always pull down, you’re missing a lot of fish.
Good luck fishing, and stay safe out on the ice!
To read more blogs by Jason Revermann CLICK HERE.