When you are ice fishing, it is important to use the proper jigging action to attract fish to your hole and get them to bite. Often these are two different cadences.
The Lift & Flutter Can Pull the Fish In
If you are using a spoon or fishing jig, the “lift and flutter” works well. It is simply giving the bait a quick “pop” up anywhere between six inches and two feet. Then let it flutter back down by giving it a little slack. If you don’t see any fish approaching on your fish finder, adjust what you are doing to bring them in.
Once you have a fish looking at your bait, you will most likely have to change your cadence to get them to bite. Knowing how to change up your cadence when you react to fish can certainly add to your success as an ice angler.
1. One option is to just let the lure sit there, as the lake current or the movement of your hand will be enough to give a subtle action to the bait. This works really well if your bait is tipped with a minnow head or fine plastic.
2. If the fish mark on your fish finder screen shows that it is even with the bait, a quick upward movement will usually trigger a bite.
3. If the fish is passive, try to slowly lift away. The fish will think that the bait is trying to escape and bite if it thinks it is getting too far away. It is important to make sure you do this slowly. Only raise the bait about a foot at a time and watch to see if the fish follows.
4. The next step is to add in a small three-inch hop. If the fish swims away when you make the “hop”, don’t do this the next time.
5. The last thing to try is dancing the bait. Be sure that you get a rhythm going with your rod tip that keeps the lure bouncing in one place. A combination of dancing and lifting is also a great way to get a bite!
Editor’s Note: If you have questions or comments on this or other articles of mine you may have read, contact me through the website The NextBite.