Terry Tuma

It’s almost here! Preparation for ice fishing

My personal favorite fishing season almost has arrived. I thoroughly enjoy hard-water fishing, and one reason I’m successful is because I prepare my equipment weeks in advance. If you haven’t done so, the first thing I’d recommend is inventorying your tackle. I have a walleye ice tackle box and a panfish ice tackle box. That strategy makes fishing so much…

Our last shot at open water: rivers

By now, fish in most water bodies are starting to move toward their winter haunts. On rivers, our last bastion of open water this time of year, I focus my walleye search on current breaks, like wing dams, clam beds, eddies, or anything that breaks the current. Such seams are logical attractors for transition-season walleyes. I fish some of these…

Making the case for pre-ice crappies

Crappies definitely change locations after the summer, and earlier in the fall, they’re relating to green weed edges. When these weeds start to die off by early November, however, everyone forgets fall crappies. My advice? Check the rock piles. Freshwater plankton and algae need sun to grow, and these shallow, open-water rock piles nurture that growth. This attracts minnows, and…

Fall fishing equipment changes

With the preponderance of specialized fishing gear and tackle these days, one might believe that hardcore anglers own specific tackle for every open-water season. My terminal tackle stays mostly the same after the hard-water disappears but techniques and presentations change. There are ways to match that gear to just about any species during open water. That said, I make some…

Fishing 101: How to catch big boss bluegills

’Round about late summer, I fall into big bluegill mode. Not every lake has them, so I first find information about a specific lake that will produce those big ’gills. Sometimes I’ll be fishing  walleyes and pick up a big bluegill. Most people might think “fluke,” and move on. Mark that spot! You may have discovered something no one else…

Top fishing tactics for any weather

Few topics drive more questions at my fishing seminars – open water and hard water alike – than weather. How does weather affect fishing? So many factors come into play, but I generally sum it up by saying that fish prefer stable weather. I find my best bites occur after three to four (or more) days of stable weather. Now,…

Have a fall fishing game plan before hitting the water

So often, guys at the boat landing or bait shop will tell me they’re fishing for “whatever bites.” They’ll drop a bobber with a worm and see what happens. It’s better to concentrate on one species, and have a game plan. I can’t emphasize enough the need for planning your fishing, then fishing your plan. This definitely comes into play…

Reintroduce yourself to slip bobbers

I’m seeing renewed interest in slip-bobber fishing for walleyes, a technique that can be extremely productive along inside weedlines, rocks, and reefs – especially in wind-blown areas. A prime way to fish, for example – if you have wind coming into a rock pile, reef, or weed edge – is to drop a jig or hook with some live bait…

Fishing plastics: the method

While fishing, I observe lots of angler behavior, and I can definitely say many people tend to fish plastics too fast – especially for bass – whether it’s a tube rigged wacky or Texas-rigged. We need to slow down and try new techniques for retrieving a lure. Most anglers simply work the lift-drop, lift-drop. There’s nothing wrong with casting out and…

It’s always time for crankbaits

Crankbaits are one of my favorite multi-species lures, but they don’t perform unless you employ them properly. Set your crankbait at the correct depth, or in a tough bite or with less-aggressive fish, fish won’t chase it. Use your electronics to mark the location of fish, then put the crankbait in their zone. We need to match crankbaits with conditions….

Fun fishing in early walleye territory: crankbaits!

I hear from anglers who assume that crankbaits only work in warm temperatures. Not true! Crankbaits will work opening weekend and all the way through summer, trolling or casting. Most people troll crankbaits, but in a rip-rap area or other structure, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with some crankbait casting. When trolling cranks, you have three choices: long-line, use lead-core, or…

Early season walleye jigging tactics

I love using jigs but too many anglers aren’t fishing them correctly. Just starters, understand that you won’t always feel the thump of a walleye when it strikes a jig. Guys expect that sure bite or hit. Many times you don’t feel it. So often you  drop the jig down and it stops. Maybe you’ll just feel some extra weight….

Late ice-fishing walleye jigging actions

Our sole job when fishing any species is to attract an individual and get it to bite. As the hard-water walleye season winds down, I’m using a lot of vertical jigging spoons and short-shanked jigs. Both enable me to bring fish off the bottom during a tough, late-season bite.We specifically want to find and target aggressive fish. That means if…

Add a bead for winter crappies and bluegills

When using a bobber for ice panfish, consider adding one 3- to 4-mm bead. For crappies and bluegills, put the bead on the line, then tie the hook on, so the bead slides up and down the line. With this tactic, we're adding some extra bulk and color to our offering. As for color, pair opposites with the bead and…

Thoughts on color and style of ice jigs

We've talked about color a lot in the past, but ice jig color came up a lot at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show last month. In general, color and style of jigs is a frequent topic at seminars, and my standard response (and belief) is that all colors will work under certain conditions. I address this fact of fishing…

Low-water ice-fishing locations

I’m hearing lots of questions about how low water levels from this fall – the result of low precipitation that continues this winter – affects fish location. Indeed lake levels are quite low this winter. That doesn’t mean we need to dramatically alter how we search for fish. In high or low water, they’re relating to food sources. We have…

Jigging tips, including thoughts on Jigging Shad Raps

Jigging Shad Raps have been around for years, but I think some people have quit using them because of the success of jigging spoons (which indeed are a great fishing tool.) I also sometimes wonder if we associate Jigging Shad Raps too much as a concept for strictly aggressive fish. Not true! We associate Jigging Shad Raps with the lift-drop-hold concept, and…

Presenting your ice offering properly

First let's chat about bobbers. A bobber is great because it allows us to immediately check the mood of the fish. The size of your bobber, which is a strike indicator and depth setter, is big factor. Generally speaking, I see ice anglers using too big of a bobber. Fish will feel that drag resistance. They'll blow out the bait…

Random thoughts on cusp of another ice-fishing seasons

Enticing what lies beneath an ice hole is a mystery, and as anglers we need to solve that puzzle. In our hurry-up society, that’s a challenge. I see too many ice anglers fishing too fast, jumping from spot to spot, and in general leaving too early. Guys don’t devote enough time to fully working with different baits and lures. Anglers…