Three Reliable Hard-Baits for Ice

News & Tips: Three Reliable Hard-Baits for Ice

Today’s ice anglers are spoiled for choice when it comes to lure selection. As a tackle junkie, I own my fair share of baits. Carrying an assortment of lures is important as fish can be particular about the presentations they’ll hit, particularly in winter’s cold waters. Below are three of my favorite hard-baits that catch an array of sport-fish.

Northland Fishing Tackle Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon

This is one of my go-to spoons. It has a moderate to conservative action. It rolls and tumbles well on the fall, but it doesn't erratically kick out to the side like super-action spoons or winged models. A Buck-Shot’s predictability makes it easy for a fish to track it and launch an accurate strike, which boosts hook-up rates. The exposed brass rattle chamber is another virtue of this lure as the ruckus attracts fish. Lightly hopping and shaking the bait to sound the rattles is a reliable tactic to get onlookers to bite. I often tips this spoon with a piece of minnow.

3ReliableHardBaits NorthlandBuckShot

Lindy Darter

The Lindy Darter is another excellent rattling bait. Unlike a spoon, the Darter has a horizontal profile in the water, mimicking a baitfish. The Lindy Darter is versatile and can be jigged with a broad range of actions. An aggressive snap-jigging motion can cause it to kick out to the side of the hole. A more moderate lift gives it an upward runaway swimming action. Working the rod with light hops and twitches causes the Darter to roll and shimmy to replicate a wounded minnow.

3ReliableHardBaits LindyDarter

Rapala Jigging Shad Rap

I won’t go fishing without a Rapala Jigging Shad Rap. This lure is a fish-catching machine thanks to its unique swimming and gliding action. On the fall it slowly spirals, replicating a dying baitfish, which is deadly for piquing fish interest. When it’s stationary, shakes and jiggles give the bait a nervous-twitch that works wonders to stimulate strikes. The Rapala Jigging Shad Rap is phenomenal out of the box, but tipping the bottom treble using a real minnow head or an artificial version by Berkley Gulp increases its potency at coercing neutral fish to chew.

3ReliableHardBaits RapalaJiggingShad

The above are three reliable winter hard-baits, but here are a few other great options: