Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Chatterbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 11 chatterbait fishing lures. Chatterbaits are a fairly new addition to the fishing world. They are mostly used by anglers fishing for largemouth bass, but will produce other species in both freshwater and saltwater.

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

A chatterbait combines the bulk and action of a swim jig with the flash and vibration of a spoon. They are also known as “bladed jigs”. This combination works very well, particularly when fished through submerged vegetation. It is an excellent search bait when fish are a bit aggressive.

All chatterbaits share similar characteristics, though each has some subtle differences. They all have a strong, single hook which rides up, making the lure quite snag-free. Most come with skirts, some of which are removable. A couple use a soft plastic bait in place of the shirt. Some type of vibrating blade sits in front, creating flash and vibration.

bass fishing

Best 11 chatterbait fishing lures

Anglers have quite a few choices when it comes to choosing a chatterbait. Most companies that manufacture spinnerbaits offer a chatterbait as well. This is Capt Jim’s list of the best chatterbaits that are available.

Z-Man invented the chatterbait. Therefore, they have patents which other lure manufacturers can not use. The result is that many of the top chatterbaits are Z-Man products. Other companies offer versions of a chatterbait, or bladed jig, as well.

The best 11 chatterbait fishing lures are;

  • Z-Man Original Chatterbait
  • Z-Man Chatterbait Elite
  • Strike King Thunder Cricket
  • Z-Man Jack Hammer
  • Strike King Rage Blade
  • Booyah Melee Chatterbait
  • Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait
  • Terminator Shuddering Bait
  • Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait
  • Picasso Shock Blade Pro
  • Z-Man Micro Chatterbait

This list of chatterbaits and bladed jigs will cover all of the fishing situations that an angler will encounter. This includes both freshwater and saltwater applications.

Best rod and reel for fishing a chatterbait

fishing

 

While anglers can use spinning tackle when fishing with chatterbaits, baitcasting gear is the best choice in most applications. A 7′ to 7 ½ foot rod with a slower action works best. This allows the rod to load up as the angler reels up tight and sets the hook. Baitcasting reels also offer more power and faster retrieve ratios. Spinning tackle can be used with smaller chattterbaits.

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Best times and spots for chatterbaits

Chatterbaits are an excellent search bait, especially in fairly shallow water. This means that spring is a great time of year to use them. Chatterbaits can be effective most of the year, as long as it does not get too cold. The presentation is a bit too aggressive when fish are lethargic in colder water.

11 fantastic Tampa Bay fishing tips

These lures work great around vegetation and other types of cover. For many anglers, they are replacing spinnerbaits. In reality, a chatterbait will work well in any situation that an angler would use a spinnerbait. They also are productive in most water clarity conditions. Silver blades and white skirts are a good choice in clear water. Darker colors work best in darker water. Green pumpkin is an excellent all-round color.

Z-Man Original Chatterbait

original chatterbait

The Z-Man Original Chatterbait is the lure that started the chatterbait revolution. They took a swim jig and added a blade in the front. The result is a lure that combines a spinnerbait, jig, spoon, and crankbait all in one unit. The lure has a removable rubber skirt so that anglers can use a soft plastic body instead. It is a very economical bait. It is a very economical bait. It is available in ¼, 3/8, and ½ ounce sizes in 28 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Original Chatterbaits

Z-Man Chatterbait Elite

elite chatterbait

The Z-man Original Chatterbait Elite is an upgraded version of the original with a slightly higher price tag. It features a thicker, non-painted blade, upgraded hook and hardware, airbrushed head and hand-painted skirt. It is available in 11 colors and 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man Chatterbait Elite lures

Strike King Thunder Cricket

Thunder Cricket

The Strike King Thunder Cricket was designed by the Strike King pro staff of expert anglers. It includes a unique head design and has quality components. A wire keeper helps hold soft plastic trailers on the hook better. It is available in 3/8, ½, 5/8, and ¾ ounce sizes in 10 different colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Thunder Cricket chatterbaits

Z-Man Jack Hammer

Jack Hammer

The Strike King Jack Hammer Chatterbait is a premier bait at a higher cost. It is favored by many pro bass anglers. It features a specially designed head with a low center of gravity and special grooves. It has a thin but strong blade, premium skirt, and a double wire keeper to hold the trailer in place. It is available in 4 sizes; 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 1/4 ounce sizes and in 18 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Jack Hammer chatterbaits

Strike King Rage Blade

rage blade

The Strike King Rage Blade has a very unique design. The head is incorporated into the blade. This results is a terrific action along with a better hookup ratio and fewer snags. The twin tail trailers add action as well. It is available in 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes and 8 different colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Rage Blade chatterbaits

Booyah Melee Chatterbait

Booyah chatterbait

The Booyah Mellee Chatterbait is a great choice when anglers want to work the bait a bit deeper and over heavy cover. It features a uniquely designed head that keeps the bait down in the water column while putting out an enticing vibration and action. It is available in 3/8 ounce and ½ ounce sizes in 9 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Booyah Melee chatterbaits

Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait

DieZel

The Z-Man DieZel Chatterbait is a favorite among saltwater anglers. It comes with a soft plastic swim bait instead of a rubber skirt. This bait is also made of the the strongest possible components, making it durable enough for saltwater fishing. It comes in one size, ¼ ounce, and 8 colors, though anglers can use and bait that they want.

Click to shop Amazon for DieZel chatterbaits

Terminator Shuddering Bait

Terminator Shuddering

The Terminator Shuddering Bait has a very unique design. The blade is as much a popper as a vibrating blade, pushing water aside as it moves through. The lip also produces a very erratic side to side action. It is built from premium components and comes in 3/8 and1/2 ounce sizes in 9 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Terminator Shuddering chatterbaits

Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait

project Z

The Z-Man Project Z Chatterbait has a bit more bulk than other baits. It has a thick, double skirt along with a high quality jig head that is double painted with realistic eyes. Of course, it has the action and vibration that Z-Man baits are known for as well. Anglers can get this lure in 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ounce sizes in 10 colors.

Click to shop Amazon for Project Z chatterbaits

Picasso Shock Blade Pro

Piccasso

The Picasso Shock Blade Pro was designed by pro bass angler Aaron Martens. It was built to be a sleek bait which can be worked faster than other chatterbaits. It cuts through grass and over structure better than other baits. It has quality components and a double keeper for trailers. It is available in 3/8 ounce and ½ ounce sizes in 26 different color combinations.

Z-man Micro Chatterbait

Z-Man micro

The Z-Man Micro Chatterbait is simply a smaller version of the original design. It is perfect for clear water and when a more subtle presentation is required. It comes in a 1/8 ounce size and is available in 4 color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-man Mini chatterbaits

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 chatterbait fishing lures will help anglers choose the correct chatterbait for his or her fishing situation!

 

 

Best 11 Buzzbait Fishing Lures

Best 11 Buzzbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. Buzzbaits are unusual baits. They are a combination of a spinnerbait and a top water lure. The bait is reeled across the surface using a steady retrieve, with the buzzbait putting out a fish an enticing gurgling noise. For the most part, they are used by freshwater anglers.

best buzzbait fishing lures

The best 11 buzzbait fishing lures are;

  • Booyah Buzz
  • War Eagle buzzbait
  • Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait
  • Terminator Original Titanium buzzbait
  • Lunker Lure buzzbait
  • Strike King Buzz King
  • Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait
  • Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer
  • Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait
  • Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbait
  • Molix Lover Buzz

Buzzbaits are mostly used in shallow water situations when fish are fairly active. The prime time to use a buzz bait would be from spring through early fall. Generally speaking, this is one bass and other species will be found in shallow cover near the shoreline as well as in submerged vegetation.

bass fishing

In most cases, buzzbaits are not a great choice when the water gets cold. This is a fairly aggressive presentation and tends to not be as productive when fish are less active. The one exception to this might be anglers targeting northern pike and musky. Both of these fish will readily hit a buzzbait and thrive in cold water environments.

Best rod and reel for buzzbait fishing

Buzzbaits are fairly heavy for the most part and require a reasonably fast retrieve. For these reasons, bait casting tackle is better suited for casting these lures than is spinning tackle. Bait casting reels have a faster retrieve ratio for the most part, making it easier to retrieve the bait quickly over the course of the day. They also give anglers a lot of power to pull a big fish out from heavy weeds or heavy cover.

bass fishing

Spinning reels can certainly be used when casting buzzbaits. However, they just require a bit more effort. In either case, the rod should be a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot model with a medium heavy action and a fast action with a fairly soft tip. This will allow for long casts and good power when setting the hook on a nice fish.

Fishing with buzzbaits is easy and productive

One great advantage of buzzbait fishing is that it is quite easy to do. All an angler needs to do is make a long cast and retrieve the lure steadily over the surface of the water. It does take a bit of experience to learn the perfect cadence. When properly retrieved, the buzzbait will emit a rhythmic gurgling noise. This, along with the action of the skirt, will elicit strikes from largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, musky, and other species.

top Michigan species

As mentioned above, for the most part this is a shallow water pattern. Prime spots would be any type of shoreline cover such as fallen trees, boat docks, riprap, and any type of vegetation. Buzzbaits work extremely well when fished over top of submerged vegetation, no matter what the water depth. Fish will blowup on the lure out of the grass and some very exciting strikes!

Buzzbait options

There are several different styles of buzzbaits, though they all work the same. Most have a single blade, but there are tandem blade it baits as well. The majority of buzzbaits are the safety pin type, similar to spinnerbaits. However, anglers can purchase in-line buzzbaits as well. Finally, buzzbaits are available with or without a clatter, which hits the blade and adds extra noise.

Best 11 buzzbait fishing lures

Anglers have quite a few choices when it comes to selecting buzzbaits. While all are similar, there are some differences that perhaps make one a better choice than the other. The best 11 buzzbaits will be listed below.

Booyah Buzz

booyah buzz

The Booyah Buzz is a clack or style buzzbait. It is available in three different sizes and five different colors. It features a quality jig head with red eyes and layered to gills along with an enticing rubber skirt. It is a quality bait made with premium components and is available in three sizes, 1/4 once, 3/8 ounce, and 1/2 ounce and several colors. It is first on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Booyah Buzz buzzbaits

War Eagle buzzbait

war eagle buzzbait

War Eagle buzzbaits are a relatively new entry into the marketplace and are next on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. The bait features a flat headed jig head which allows the Lord to get up on the surface quickly. They are available in three different sizes and multiple combinations of blade and skirt colors. War Eagle buzzbaits also feature easy to replace skirts.

Click link to shop Amazon for War Eagle buzzbaits

Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Premier Plus buzzbait is available to anglers in two different sizes, 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models. This is a double bladed buzzbait with counterrotating blades that allow the lure to get to the surface quickly and remain there on a slower retrieve. The bait also has a high quality skirt with a trailer already added for angler convenience.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Premier buzzbaits

Terminator Original Titanium buzzbait

terminator buzzbait

The Terminator brand has been long known for their titanium wire frames which bounce back into shape after hanging up or catching a big fish. It has a specially designed cup blade for extra noise and commotion. The upturned head allows it to walk over submerged trees and other obstructions. It is a premium lure and is in the medium price range. It is available and one quarter ounce and 3/8 ounce sizes and several different colors. It is fourth on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Terminator buzzbaits

Lunker Lure buzzbait

lunker lure buzzbait

The Lunker Lure buzzbait is a simple buzzbait built in the classic design. They are available in four different sizes and a half dozen color patterns. The blade colors are specifically designed to match skirt and the body. It is a modestly priced lower that performs well. The long lower arm and extended hook result in an excellent hookup ratio.

Click link to shop Amazon for Lunker Lure buzzbaits

Strike King Buzz King

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Buzz King is the best small buzzbait on the market. It is available in 3/16 ounce and 5/16 ounce models. It features a single three bladed prop which quickly comes to the surface and works well at a slower retrieve. The elongated head and quality skirt also add to these finesse aspects of this lure.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Buzz King buzzbaits

Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait

megabass buzzbait

The Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbait is a premium, high quality lure and comes with the fairly hefty price tag. It is seventh on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures. However, many anglers consider it worth the cost. It is a half ounce, single bladed lure that features a special a sonic rattle in the head. It also uses stiffer wire than many other buzzbaits. It is available in eight different colors.

Click link to shop Amazon for Megabass Jamaica Boa buzzbaits

Booyah Counter Strike Buzz

booyah buzzbait

The Booyah Counter Strike Buzz is a tandem bladed buzzbait. A lot of effort was put into the head and skirt of the bait to give it a lifelike appearance. It is 3/8 of an ounce in weight and is available in six different color patterns. This is an excellent choice for anglers looking for a bait that stands out when it comes to putting out extra noise and commotion.

Click link to shop Amazon for Booyah Counter Strike buzzbaits

Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer

tackle hd buzzbait

The Tackle HD Worldwide Buzzer is a unique buzzbait. It features a flat head and a large, over-sized blade. The blade is actually designed to hit a channel in the head, providing an extra clacking sound. Anglers can easily bend the head away from the blade to avoid this extra sound when a less aggressive presentation is required. It is available and 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models and 10 color combinations.

Click link to shop Amazon for Tackle HD buzzbaits

Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait

strike king buzzbait

The Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbait is an excellent choice when fish are in an especially aggressive mood. This buzzbait has more action than others as the jig head and hooks are attached with a swivel, allowing the head and skirt to swing around in a very enticing action. It is available and one quarter ounce, 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce models in several color combinations.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Swinging Sugar buzzbaits

Strike King Spot Tail Special

strike king spot tail

The Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbait is an in-line buzzbait. It features a weighted warm hook which is adorned with a soft plastic trailer. It is an excellent lure for shallow water redfish but will certainly catch freshwater species as well. It is tenth on the list of the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures.

Click link to shop Amazon for Strike King Spot Tail Special buzzbaits

Molix Lover Buzz

molix buzzbait

The Molix Lover Buzz is an excellent choice when fish are less aggressive. This bait is a bit smaller at one quarter ounce and has an in-line design. It is a premium bait at a premium price. It was designed by legendary bass angler Ike Iaconelli. It uses very high quality components and has an excellent finish, including a 3D eye. Due to its design, it casts well, again making it an excellent choice in clear water or when fish are finicky.

Click link to shop Amazon for Molix Lover Buzz buzzbaits

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 buzzbait fishing lures will help anglers choose the best bait for their fishing situation and catch more fish using this exciting angling technique!

 

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

Best 13 Crankbait Fishing Lures

This article will list the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. Crankbaits are in the family of “plugs”. They are effective and versatile lures. Most crankbaits are made from plastic these days, though hand carved wooden crankbaits are available at a higher price.

crankbait fishing lures

Most crankbaits have a plastic lip on the front. This lip determines the action that the crankbait has as well as the depth that it will dive to. Once the bait reached that certain depth, it will pretty much stay at that depth. The shape of the body also affects the action. Traditional crankbaits are wide and fat while jerkbaits are long and slender.

Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He has fished all over North America and particularly enjoys casting plugs; crankbaits in particular. There are many quality crankbaits on the market, these are his personal favorite crankbaits.

largemouth bass fishing

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures are;

  • Rapala Shad Rap
  • Strike King KVD Squarebill
  • Rebel Crawfish
  • Bomber Model A
  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Rapala DT Series
  • Cordell Big O
  • Rapala X-Rap
  • Storm Wiggle Wart
  • Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow
  • Berkley Flicker Shad
  • Reef Runner
  • Mann Stretch Series

This selection of crankbaits will cover every fishing situation that an angler requiring a crankbait will encounter.

Best crankbait fishing rods and reels

bass fishing

In most cases, baitcasting tackle is preferred for crankbait fishing. Spinning tackle is versatile and works fine for casting smaller, lighter cdrankbaits. However, the faster retrieve ratios and extra power that baitcasting outfits provide make them a better choice. Also, baitcasting reels better handle the slack line that is created when fishing with crankbaits.

Most veteran crankbait anglers prefer a slower, or softer rod. This helps when hooking the fish as well as keeping it in. Fish can shake the hook a bit easier with crankbaits than they can with a big worm hook. 7′ to 7 1/2′ is a good length.

Anglers can click links to shop Amazon for affordable Lew’s spinning and baitcasting outfits

Crankbait varieties

jerkbait fishing

While all crankbaits are similar, there are several different variations to them. These are traditional crankbaits, jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and trolling crankbaits. Each will be described briefly.

Traditional crankbaits

Traditional crankbaits are wide and fat, resembling a shad or bluegill. For the most part, they have a slow wobble. They are available in shallow diving and deep diving versions, depending on the lip. They are effective when trolled, but most anglers fish traditional crankbaits by casting. Traditional crankbaits have a ton of built in action.

Read more about fishing with lures

Jerkbaits

fishing with jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are long and slender. They are worked aggressively and put out a lot of flash as they wobble from side to side. Jerkbaits are used extensively by anglers fishing in saltwater as well. Snook, striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and other species will hit them. The aggressive action appeals to saltwater fish. They can be cast or trolled.

Read more about jerkbait fishing in this article by Capt Jim

Lipless crankbaits

crankbait fishing

Lipless crankbaits do not have a lip which determines the depth that they run. The angler controls the depth bu allowing it to sink longer. The line tie is on the top. Lipless crankbaits put out a steady vibration and rattle. They are great for covering a lot of water and will draw a reflex strike. They are not usually trolled as unlike most crankbaits, they will sink if the boat is stopped.

Read more about lipless crankbaits in this article by Capt Jim

Trolling crankbaits

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Certain crankbaits are designed to be trolled. They are often a bit too large to cast and are a bit of a mix between a jerkbait and a traditional crankbait. They can obtain depths of 30 feet or more without a downrigger or weights.

The best 13 crankbait fishing lures

Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

Many anglers consider the Rapala Shad Rap to be the best running crankbait on the market. It is a versatile bait that sets the standard. The Rapala Shad Rap is first on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. It is effective when both cast and trolled. It is available in 34 colors in six sizes. The larger Super Shad Rap is a favorite among pike and musky anglers as well. There is also a deep diving model available.

crankbait fishing

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Shad Rap lures

Strike King KVD Squarebill

largemouth bass lures

The Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbait was designed by tournament bass angler Kevin VanDam and is next on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. It is designed to be fished in shallow water around cover. The design of the bill causes a very erratic action and it tends to bounce off of structure as opposed to hanging up. The 1.5 size is very popular and anglers can choose from 56 colors. It is available without rattles and in a deep diving version. It is almost always cast and retrieved.

squarebill crankbait fishing

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbaits

Rebel Crawfish

rebel crawfish

The Rebel Crawfish series crankbait is the original crankbait designed to specifically mimic a fleeing crawfish. It had a very erratic action. The Rebel Crawfish is legendary among river smallmouth bass anglers, but it will catch just about every freshwater species. It is available in 3 sizes that cover various depths and 10 colors, with natural patterns being preferred in most situations.

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rebel Crawfish baits

Bomber Model A

bomber model a

The Bomber Model A is an old school crankbait that continues to produces bass and other species. It is an affordable bait that comes in 6 sizes and a couple dozen colors. It can be both cast and trolled.

Bomber Model A chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Bomber Model A crankbaits

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

rat-l-trap

The discussion of lipless crankbaits begins and ends with the Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap. There are other fine baits out there, but this is the best. It is available in 4 sizes and over 100 colors! It is a great search bait that mimics shad and other bait fish. Saltwater anglers use them on snook and striped bass. Chrome with a blue back is a great all-round color pattern. It is fifth on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures.

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

Rapala DT Series

rapala dt

The Rapala DT series, which stands for “down to” is a premium bait made from balsa wood. They were designed by bass pro David Fritts. It is available in six sizes and 32 colors. They dive to the determined depth and run at that depth very consistently. Rapala DT baits are effective both cast and trolled.

Rapala DT crankbait chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rapala DT crankbaits

Cordell Big O

crankbait fishing lure

The Cotton Cordell Big O is the lure that started it all. Originally carved from balsa wood and sold by the dozen in egg cartons, there was nothing like them. Named after legendary Lake Okeechobee, these lures remain effective to this day. They are available in 3 sizes and a dozen colors. A new squarebill model has been recently added. Big O baits are seventh on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures.

Cotton cordell Big O chart

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Cordell Big O baits

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt Jim’s favorite jerkbait. It comes in both freshwater and saltwater versions in X different sizes and many color options. They produce a wide variety of fish species in both freshwater and saltwater, from small panfish to giant snook and striped bass. X Raps are suspending baits that can be cast or trolled and are available in shallow and deep diving versions.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Rapala X-Rap Slashbaits

Storm Wiggle Wart

storm wiggle wart

The Storm Wiggle Wart is another affordable, old school crankbait. It only comes in one size, but it appeals to a lot of different species. Anglers can choose from 36 different colors. It is often cast and retrieved but is also very popular among anglers who troll for trout, walleye, and other species.

2″

3/8oz

7-12ft

Floating

#5

 

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Storm Wiggle Wart crankbaits

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

The Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow is another high quality jerkbait. It is available in shallow and deep diving models and both floating and suspending versions. Yo-Zuri lures are known for their terrific finishes. They are popular among saltwater anglers as well as those fishing freshwater lakes and rivers.

crankbait fishing lures

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow plugs

Berkley Flicker Shad

berkley flicker shad

The Berkley Flicker Shad is another affordable, basic crankbait. It has a classic design and has a great built in action. It is available in two sizes and 8 colors. They are designed to cast well but are also quite effective when trolled.

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Berkley Flicker Shad crankbaits

Reef Runner

reef runner plug

Reef Runner lures are extremely popular trolling lures used by anglers up north. It is very effective on walleye, lake trout, and even salmon. They are available in 8 sizes and many different color patterns. The 800 size can dive as deep as 30 feet on it’s own!

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Reef Runner trolling crankbaits

Mann Stretch Series

mann stretch

The Mann’s Stretch Series revolutionized shallow water grouper fishing when they were first introduced. It is last, but certainly not least, on the list of the best 13 crankbait fishing lures. These lures are sturdy and dive down to depths of up to 50 feet on their own. Sizes are available from 15 feet divers to 50 feet divers in a variety of colors. These lures are strictly used for trolling as they are large and cumbersome to cast.

trolling for grouper

Anglers can click the link to shop Amazon for Mann’s Stretch lures

In conclusion, this article on the best 13 crankbait fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish using these very productive baits!

 

 

Fishing with Popping Corks, Pro Tips

Fishing with popping corks, pro tips and techniques.

This article will focus on fishing with popping corks. Popping corks are specially designed floats. They are primarily used by anglers chasing speckled trout and redfish along the coast from Texas to the mid Atlantic. However, they are effective on other species as well.

Fishing with popping corks

A popping cork is a noisy float. A live bait or artificial lure is suspended 2 to 3 feet below it. When twitched sharply, the popping cork puts out a distinctive sound which imitates feeding game fish. This attracts those fish to the bait or lure.

Popping cork types

There are two basic types of popping corks; fixed corks and those that can be added on to the line. Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. These two types of popping corks will be discussed below.

Slotted popping corks

Sarasota Florida fishing charters

The original type of popping cork were slotted units that could be easily added onto the running line. They have a slot running down the length of the cork with a plastic pin. This design makes it very easy for anglers to add or remove the popping cork as needed, as well as easily adjusting the depth at which the bait or lure is present.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

These popping corks also have a concave top and most are weighted at the bottom. This results in the popping cork sitting a bit lower in the water as well as being completely vertical. This attitude of the popping cork is very important as it results in a nice loud pop when the angler twitches the rod tip. Anglers fishing with popping corks have been using these types of corks for decades with great success!

slotted popping cork

Click the link to shop Amazon for slotted popping corks

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Fixed popping corks

popping cork fishing

Fixed popping corks have become very popular among anglers over the last decade or two. Most are fairly heavy and consist of a float, rattles, and a weight. The heavier weight of this style of popping cork allows for longer casts. They also, generally speaking, put out a lot more commotion then he pegged popping corks do. Some of these have a concave face that created a “pop”. Others are round and the beads and rattles create the noise.

Anglers fishing with popping corks using these fixed versions must tie the cork to the running line. A leader then connects the bottom of the popping cork to the lure or hook. The one disadvantage of this type of popping cork is that the depth cannot be as easily adjusted as can be done using a pegged popping cork. They are better suited for anglers who prefer to use and artificial lure under a popping cork.

cajun thunder popping cork

There are several manufacturers that offer quality saltwater popping corks. Cajun Thunder corks are very popular and effective. Bomber saltwater Grade popping corks work well, too.

Anglers can click the links to shop Amazon for Cajun Thunder and Bomber popping corks

Fishing with popping corks

While fishing with popping corks may seem simple and straightforward, and it really is, there are some nuances and subtle techniques that will help anglers achieve more success.

fishing with popping corks

Fishing with popping corks can be productive in all water conditions. However, they really stand out when fishing in stained or dirty water conditions. The reason for this is quite obvious; when the water is dirty game fish use sound and vibration more to locate prey. Popping corks do an outstanding job of imitating game fish that are feeding on the surface.

Popping cork fishing techniques.

One great aspect of fishing with popping corks is it is extremely easy, making it a great choice for novice anglers. As mentioned above, the popping corks since 2 to 3 feet above a live bait or artificial lure. The rig is cast out, allowed to settle, then twitched sharply. The cork will dig into the water and produce a distinctive popping sound.

fishing with popping corks

Twitching the rod tip sharply causing the court to pop results into benefits. One, the sound of the cork attracts game fish to the lure or bait dangling below. Secondly, the twitch causes that lure or eight to jump up sharply and then flutter back down, suspending at the desired depth. Game fish find this irresistible and will often attack the offering as it hangs there motionless. When the cork disappears, the angler points the rod tip right at the float, takes up all the slack, and sets the hook sharply!

Anglers new to fishing with popping corks will have to adjust their cast just a bit. The snap cast used with artificial lures result in a tangled mess. Instead, the best approach is to pause a moment on the back cast, allowing the rig to straighten out. It is then lobbed out on the cast. Some anglers stop the cast a split second before the rig lands in the water. This can help straighten out the leader and avoid tangles.

popping corks

Successful anglers take a more subtle approach when the water is clear. This often happens in cooler weather when the algae dies out. Speckled trout and redfish will react better to smaller corks and those worked less aggressively. The same retrieve that worked well in dirty water in the summer will often spook skittish game fish in clear water.

Top spots for popping cork fishing

While popping corks can be used in deeper water, they are most effective and water depths between 2 feet deep and 6 feet deep. This is part of the reason why they are so particularly effective for speckled trout and redfish, as this is the depth that they are most often found in.

popping cork fishing

Popping corks are primarily used on the shallow flats and water less than 8 feet deep. Anglers can fish fairly deep water by extending the length of the leader between the popping cork in the hook. However, once this length becomes longer than 3 feet, a can be quite clunky and awkward to cast.

Submerged grass flats are excellent spots to use popping corks. The float will suspend the bait or lure just above the grass, keeping it from snagging in the vegetation. Also, grass flats are prime spots for speckled trout, redfish, and other species. Oyster bars are prime spots as well, particularly those that drop off from shallow water into several feet of water. Fish can also be found on open sand and mud flats, particularly when bait is in the vicinity.

popping corks

Best rods and reels for fishing with popping corks

Anglers fishing with popping corks will do best using rods that are just a bit longer and heavier than might be used when casting jigs or other small artificial lures. The popping cork rig is a bit more cumbersome, particularly the fixed cork rigs which are a bit heavier. Also, anglers will need the extra power to set the hook on a long cast as well as handling a big fish. A 7 1/2 foot medium action rod is an excellent all round choice.

Best 12 sea trout lures

Both spinning and bait casting outfits are fine when fishing with popping corks. It really is just a matter of angler preference. Spinning outfits are a better choice for less experienced anglers and went fishing for smaller fish. Conversely, bait casting rod and reel combinations are the best choice for more experienced anglers and went fishing for larger bull redfish.

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Fishing with popping corks using live bait

It is safe to say that most anglers fishing with popping corks do so using live or natural bait. Many anglers see no point in using an artificial bait when they can use the real thing. A live or cut bait under a popping cork is a very productive way to catch fish.

redfish fishing tackle

Anglers should match the size of the hook to the size of the bait being used and not the size of the fish being pursued. This is a common mistake that many anglers make. When the shrimp are running small at the shop, angler should drop down in size. Conversely, when using a larger bait fish, a larger hook should be used. A #1/0 live bait hook is a good all-around choice. Anglers can add a split shot or two a foot above the hook if needed to get the bait down when current or wind is present.

Fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork

It would be easy to make the argument that more speckled trout have been caught by anglers fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork than all other methods and techniques combined. The reason is simple, it is an extremely effective technique. It works quite well on redfish along with just about every other inshore saltwater species.

saltwater fishing with shrimp

Shrimp are the top live bait all along the Gulf Coast and up the east coast to the Carolinas. They are readily available, affordable, fairly easy to keep alive, and most importantly every saltwater fish devours them. Most anglers hook the shrimp under the horn in the head, being careful not to puncture the black spot, which is the shrimp’s brain. Fresh dead and even frozen shrimp can be used in a pinch, however live shrimp are preferred.

Fishing with live bait fish

Anglers can certainly use live bait fish under a popping cork as well. Pin fish, grunts, and croakers are the most popular live bait fish that are used in this manner. These are all hardy fish which will stay on the hook well when the cork is popped. Herring and sardines are much softer and tend to rip off the hook using this technique.

fishing with popping corks

In some ways, fishing with live bait fish can be a bit less productive under a popping cork than it would be just using a normal float. A hooked bait fish will put out plenty of distress vibrations on its own, negating the need for the popping cork. However, in conditions in which the water is very stained or dirty, the popping cork can make a difference between a slow day and an excellent one.

Cut bait produces, too

Cut bait can be extremely effective when fished under a noisy popping cork. The noise of the float will attract the game fish while the scent of the cut bait will trigger a strike. Fresh cut bait is always preferred, where possible. Chunks or strips both work well. Mullet, ladyfish, mackerel, and jacks are all productive baits.

Old-time anglers use what is known as a “shiner tail”. This is usually a pin fish, but can be a grunt or other species. The head is cut off, then a strip is cut from just under the dorsal fin down the lateral line and then just in front of the tail. The result is a strip of bait that undulate very naturally in the water while putting out a ton of scent. This is a bit of a “big fish” presentation that will fool some of the largest trout and redfish around.

Fishing with popping corks using artificial lures

popping corks

Anglers have found that in many cases artificial lures do quite well when fished under a popping cork. This also alleviates the need and hassle of dealing with live or cut bait. In most cases, soft plastic lures are the best choice. These can either be shrimp imitations as well as any productive soft plastic lure on a jig head. This combines the best of both worlds.

D.O.A. Lures markets a rig known as the “Deadly Combo”. This is the popping cork rig along with their famous DOA shrimp all in one package. Anglers can certainly buy the components separately and rig them up as they see fit, using whichever shrimp lure they prefer.

deadly combo

Anglers have a wide variety of selections when it comes to soft plastic baits. There are a lot of regional favorites, depending on the area of the country that anglers are fishing. Local bait shops are a great source of both lures as well as information on the best color combinations for that particular area.

bass assassin

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In either case, whether fishing plastics shrimp or the jig and grub combo, the rig is fished pretty much the same as it is when using live bait. The only difference would be that anglers can perhaps use a faster cadence or more aggressive retrieve when using artificial lures, to keep the lure constantly moving.

In conclusion, this article on fishing with popping corks will help anglers be more successful using this extremely productive technique!

 

 

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

Jerkbait fishing – Pro tips!

This article will thoroughly cover jerkbait fishing. Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He loves fishing with plugs, especially jerkbaits.

jerkbait fishing

A jerkbait is an artificial fishing lure in the plug family. Jerkbaits are long and slender. They put out a lot of flash and vibration as they wobble. Most have a bill which will determine the depth that the lure will run. Many manufacturers offer shallow and deep diving versions on the same bait. Both freshwater and saltwater game fish species will take a properly presented jerkbait.

For the most part, jerkbaits mimic wounded bait fish. As they wobble, they flash and put out vibrations. Jerkbaits are available in many different sizes and colors from quite a few manufacturers. However, they all basically work the same. Jerkbaits are excellent search baits as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water fairly quickly.

fishing with lures

Jerkbait fishing techniques

There are two basic retrieves that anglers use when jerkbait fishing; a steady retrieve and a “jerk and pause” retrieve. The latter is how the lure got it’s name. Steady retrieves will produce, whether cast or trolled. Most jerkbaits have an excellent built in action. Anglers should vary the speed of the retrieve until a production one emerges.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

While a steady retrieve will catch fish, the most effective way to work a jerkbait is to use a more erratic presentation. The key to this is understanding how to use and manage some slack in the line. This violates many angling principles regarding keeping a tight line, but it is crucial to properly fishing a jerkbait.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

The bait is cast out and retrieved a few cranks to get the lure to the proper depth. The angler then creates a few feet of slack. This is easily done by simply pointing the rod tip at the lure. After a few seconds, the rod tip is sharply jerked to the side. The slack will allow the rod tip to gain speed. When the slack is taken up, the lure will jerk forward violently.

Once again, the angler puts slack in the line. This will result in the jerkbait suspending motionless in the water column. Quite often, this is when the strike occurs. This motionless presentation very realistically simulates a helpless bait fish, seemingly an easy meal. The process is then repeated back to the boat.

Trolling jerkbaits

tackle for lake trout fishing

Jerkbaits are outstanding trolling lures! The side to side wobble produces a lot of flash, mimicking and wounded bait fish. Color patterns and sizes are available to match any forage species that game fish are feeding on.

Trolling is simply driving the boat around at a slow speed while pulling a lure behind. It can be as simple as tying a lure onto the end of the line. Most jerkbait manufacturers offer models that run both shallow and deep. This makes trolling with jerkbaits very easy. The line diameter and distance behind the boat will affect lure depth as well. Anglers should experiment with speed, a slight change can make a big difference.

salmon fishing in Great Lakes

Serious anglers will troll jerkbaits behind downrigger balls and off of planer boards. This is a bit complicated and is better explained in this article on salmon fishing. Snap on trolling weight are another easy method that anglers can use to get the lure down deeper in the water column.

Best conditions for jerkbait fishing

For the most part, jerkbaits produce best in water that is fairly clear. While predator fish will track down a jerkbait in dirty water, there are other lures that are more effective under these conditions. Jerkbaits really shine in clear water and will provoke strikes when other more subtle lures do not.

bass fishing

In freshwater lakes, sloping points with rock or gravel are prime spots to fish a jerkbait. Smallmouth bass in particular fall prey to this approach. A jerkbait worked over deeper submerged vegetation will produce bass, pike, musky, and other species. However, they do have exposed treble hooks and will hang up in heavier weeds.

Smaller jerkbaits are very effective in streams and rivers. Bass and other species will readily take a bait flashing through a deeper hole. However, they really do not work well in strong current.

bass fishing

Jerkbaits are an excellent choice to work long stretches of rip rap in both freshwater and saltwater. They allow anglers to cover a lot of water. The lure will catch active fish as well as triggering strikes from inactive fish.

best fishing lures for redfish

Anglers fishing jerkbaits in saltwater do well to work any type of shallow cover such as oyster bars, docks, bridges, shorelines, jetties, submerged weed beds, and more. Jekbaits really shine when working large schools of bait. This occurs quite often in saltwater environments. Predator fish will ball up bait and “trap” it against the surface. A jerkbait cast into this bait or near the edges will usually draw a strike. Freshwater anglers will find striped bass behaving similarly in lakes.

bass fishing

Best jerkbait fishing tackle

Anglers jerkbait fishing can properly present these lures using both spinning and baitcasting tackle. In either cast, a long, limber rod is preferred. This type of rod will absorb the shock of aggressive strikes, resulting in more fish landed. A 7′ to 7 ½’ rod works well. Spin anglers will do fine with a 2500 series reel in most applications.

While both spinning and baitcasting tackle can be used when fishing jerkbaits, baitcasting tackle really does have several advantages. These advantages are the faster retrieve ratios of baitcasting reels and the fact that they manage slack line much better. This is especially true when using heavier baits. Anglers trolling with jerkbaits almost always use conventional gear.

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For the same reasons that softer fishing rods are used, most anglers jerkbait fishing opt for monofilament or flourocarbon line. Braided line does not stretch at all and that “give” really helps anglers land more fish. Anglers trolling with jerkbaits will use braided line along with a fairly long flourocarbon leader.

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Jerkbait fishing produces for both saltwater and freshwater anglers!

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

Jerkbaits are very productive and versatile fishing lures, this is one advantage of using them. They will fool a wide variety of predator species for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. In freshwater, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, northern pike, all trout species, musky, and even panfish will hit a jerkbait.

fishing with jerkbaits

Anglers fishing with jerkbaits in saltwater will catch striped bass, bluefish, bonito and false albacore, mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, and more. Saltwater versions often have stronger, corrosion resistant hooks and hardware. In reality, and game fish that feeds on smaller fish can be caught on a jerkbait.

Choosing the best jerkbait

Anglers should choose the jerkbait that they use the same way they would other artificial lures. In most cases, the best approach is to use a lure that resembles the local forage in both size and color. There are times when a larger, flashier bait will get the attention of a fish. A good rule of thumb regarding color is to use light colors in clear water and darker colors in dark water. White and silver produce in clear water, green, black, and gold in dark water, and pink and chartreuse in stained water.

Florida saltwater fishing in summer

There are quite a few lure manufacturers that sell quality jerkbaits. Some offer both freshwater and saltwater versions. Here is Capt Jim’s list of his favorite jerkbaits

Top 13 fishing jerkbaits;

  • Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

  • Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

  • Bomber Long “A”

  • Rapala Husky Jerk

  • Smithwick Rogue

  • Strike King KVD Jerkbait

  • Lucky Craft Pointer

  • Megabass Vision

  • Livetarget jerkbait

  • Berkley Flicker Minnow

  • Storm Thunderstick

  • Cotton Cordell Red Fin

  • Rebel jerkbaits

While all jerkbaits share traits and are similar, there are some aspects that are different as well. We will briefly cover these differences in each description in this list of top 13 fishing jerkbaits.

Rapala X-Rap

Rapala x rap

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt Jim’s favorite jerkbait. They are available in freshwater and saltwater models as well as shallow and deep diving versions. Rapala X-Raps are available in a wide variety of colors. The 08 size is good when a smaller, finesse bait is needed. The #10 size is a good size for many applications. White is an excellent all round color.

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Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow

walleye fishing lures

Yo-Zuri baits are well known for having fantastic finishes, and their jerkbaits are no exception. These finishes are offered in many different colors and patterns. They are available in shallow and deep diving models and several sizes, from 2 3/4″ to 5 1/4″.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow jerkbaits

Bomber Long A

walleye trolling

The Bomber Long A is an old school jerkbait that has been around a long time. It is an affordable option that is available in several sized and multiple colors. Anglers can also purchase shallow and deep diving lures. Long A lures are available in saltwater models with stronger hardware.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Bomber Long A jerkbaits

Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

The Rapala Husky Jerk is another older fishing lure. It is less expensive but a very effective bait. It is an excellent choice for smaller species as it is available in small sizes. It is primarily used by freshwater anglers. Gold is one of the most popular colors.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rapala Husky Jerk plugs

Smithwick Rogue

smithwick rogue

The Smithwick Rogue is a long, slender bait that is 4 1/8” long. Is suspends and has rattles. The Rogue is available in 22 different colors. It is a freshwater lure that works well when both cast or trolled.

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Strike King KVD jerkbait

kvd jerkbait

The Strike King KVD jerkbait has a lot of action, perhaps more than any other bait. It is available in a few different sizes and quite a few color patters. Sexy Shad is very popular. It also has a weight transfer system, resulting in longer casts.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Strike King KVD jerkbaits

Lucky Craft Pointer

lucky craft pointer

The Lucky Craft Pointer is a high quality, but expensive, jerkbait. It is available in both shallow and deep diving models. Pointer lures come in several sizes and many colors. For the most part, they are used by freshwater anglers.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Lucky Craft Pointer jerkbaits

Megabass Vision

megabass vision

The Megabass Vision is an excellent jerbait. However, it is a very expensive lure, retailing for around $25. However, some serious anglers swear by them. They have a unique shape and are available in an astounding number of color patterns as well as shallow and deep diving models.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Megabass Vision jerkbaits

Livetarget jerkbait

livetarget jerkbait

The Livetarget jerkbait has a weight transfer system and suspends in the water column. They are available in shallow and deep diving models for freshwater anglers. They come in many fish-catching colors as well as their famous “school of fish” finishes.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Livetarget jerkbaits

Berkley Flicker Minnow

berkley flicker minnow

The Berkley Flicker Minnow is a very affordable deep diving jerkbait. It is a favorite among freshwater anglers who troll. It is available in 4 sizes and 13 colors.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Berkley Flicker Minnows

Storm Thunderstick

storm thunderstick

The Storm Thunderstick is another very affordable, old-school jerkbait. It is available in shallow and deep diving models as well as many popular basic color patterns. Firetiger is a favorite among anglers. It has internal rattles as well.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Storm Thundersticks

Cotton Cordell Redfin

cotton cordell red fin

The Cotton Cordell Redfin is a long and slender jerkbait. It is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. It comes in 3 sizes, up to 7”, which works well on larger species such as striped bass.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Cotton Cordell Redfin jerkbaits

Rebel jerkbait

rebel

Rebel lures have been catching fish for decades. The Trackdown, or TD series of jerkbaits are effective on a variety of freshwater species, whether cast or trolled. They come in several sizes, shallow running, with a good selection of finishes.

Click the links to shop Amazon for Rebel jerkbaits

In conclusion, this article on jerkbait fishing will help anglers be more successful using these effective fishing lures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Fishing with Tip Downs, Tips and Techniques

Ice Fishing with Tip Downs, Tips and Techniques

This article will focus on ice fishing with tip downs. Tip downs are clever devices that hold a regular ice fishing rod and reel in place over a hole. They are an effective way for anglers ice fishing to present multiple offerings in different locations. Tip ups are mostly used by anglers targeting panfish and smaller game fish species, but can certainly be used on larger fish as well.

ice fishing with tip downs

Tip downs are devices used by anglers ice fishing that hold a rod and reel that presents a bait through the hole in the ice. Like tip ups, tip downs allow anglers to fish more than one spot at a time. When a fish strikes, the rod tip plunges down into the hole, thus the name. It is important to check local fishing regulations! They will vary greatly regarding hooks, baits, and number of lines allowed.

Anglers who would like to read more about ice fishing can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “A Complete Guide to Ice Fishing” by clicking on the title link.

Tip downs are advantageous because they allow anglers to fish multiple holes while still catching them on a regular ice fishing rod and reel. This is kind of the best of both worlds! Anglers ice fishing with tip downs are normally pursuing pan fish, crappie, and other smaller game fish species. These fish are better suited for tip downs as they generally don’t strike hard enough to pop the clip on a tip up.

ice fishing with tip down

Tip downs are excellent for anglers learning a new body of water. They allow multiple baits to be presented at different depths and locations. This will help anglers learn much more quickly the types of structure and depth that which fish are feeding. Tip downs are also very conducive to family fishing. Children can be distracted and play a bit in between bites.

Tip down options

ice fishing with a tip down

Tip downs are lightweight devices that are usually made of wood, plastic, or metal. They are very portable and set up quite quickly. As mentioned above, they use a conventional ice fishing rod and reel. One set, the rod is either horizontal or a bit above. When a fish strikes, the unit pivots and the rod tip dips down towards the hole. Thus the name “tip down”!

Click to read more about ice fishing tackle and gear

There are a wide variety of tip down units available to ice fishing anglers. Most opt for the type where any rod and reel can be used. This way, anglers can use the outfits that they already own. Sullivan ice fishing tip downs are an example of this. Some tip downs come with flags as well. However, it is very easy to tell when a fish takes a bait.

ice fishing basics

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Setting up an ice fishing tip down

Once the hole is drilled, the tip down is set at that location. Anglers can use a live minnow or nightcrawler on a small hook with a split shot or a jig head to get it down in the water column. This works well for crappie and yellow perch as well as a variety of other game fish species. Micro jigs with a meal worm or wax worm are best for anglers chasing bluegill and panfish. Artificial lures alone are generally not productive as they require manipulation by the angler. A brightly colored ice fishing jig with a live bait is an excellent all round combination.

Anglers ice fishing with tip downs should not neglect dead or frozen bait as well. These can be particularly effective on larger species such as northern pike, walleye, and lake trout. Minnows that have dies can be very effective. Game fish will at times not want to chase a live bait, but will readily take a fresh dead minnow. Cut bait can be productive as well. Suckers, ciscoes, and shiners work well.

ice fishing tip down

While the bait should be placed close to the bottom, anglers should vary the depth that they are fishing with the various set ups. This way, anglers can quickly identify the depth that which fish are holding and feeding. It is important to keep an eye on your tip downs! It is not unusual for a fish to take the bait off of the hook unnoticed by the angler. Fishing a hook with no bait defeats the purpose of covering a lot of water!

There are several other nuances which will help anglers ice fishing with tip downs be more successful. It is very important to keep the hole clear of ice. Most often, very light line is used in this application. Sharp pieces of ice will quickly cut this very thin line.

ice fishing basics

Also, wind can be an issue when fishing with tip downs. The best approach is usually two point the tip of the rod right into the wind. This results in the best line management when dealing with a stiff breeze. Also, it is often a good idea to pack some snow around the base of the tip down when the wind is blowing.

Strategies for drilling holes when ice fishing with tip downs

The primary advantage to ice fishing with tip ups is the ability to fish several different spots can be fished at once. Therefore, strategically drilling the holes is important in order to maximize tip up placement. Ideally, anglers will fish several different depths in a fairly small area. Sloping points are an excellent example of this, as are channel edges. Anglers can research prior to the trip to get current information and fishing reports. Many anglers have good GPS waypoints from open water fishing, these are good places to start.

ice fishing auger

While it is good to cover several different depths and even cover types, it is important not to place the holes too far apart. This will make it more difficult to get to a rod quickly. Also, anglers may miss a few bites. Most experienced anglers ice fishing with tip downs keep the rods a hundred yards apart or less. Again, anglers need to check local regulations regarding the number of rods and baits that are legal to use.

Ice fishing anglers have a couple of options when it comes to drilling holes. Hand augers work fine for those fishing a hole or two on ice that is not too thick. However, serious anglers opt for some type of power auger. Electric units work well up to a foot or so. Serious anglers will choose a gas powered ice auger.

ice fishing auger

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Sonar units are very helpful for anglers ice fishing with tip downs. They will help anglers locate structure such as drop offs along with fish-holding cover. They will also show schools of fish. Several manufacture units specifically designed for ice fishing applications.

ice fish finder

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Ice fishing with tip downs for panfish

Tip downs work very well for anglers ice fishing for panfish. The light rods and baits along with the more subtle takes work well in conjunction with tip downs. Most of these smaller fish will not trip the clip on a tip up, those are just a bit too heavy.

ice fishing for bluegill and panfish

Anglers ice fishing for bluegill and panfish will do well to use a micro jig tipped with a grub of some type. Mealworms and wax worms are easy to keep alive and are readily available. A piece of nightcrawler works quite well, too.

The other bait most often used by anglers ice fishing with tip downs for panfish is a jig with a live minnow attached. The advantage that this brings is the chance to catch larger game fish such as walleye and pike. Live minnows are very effective on crappie and yellow perch. Larger brown and rainbow trout will take them as well.

crappie fishing

Anglers seeking larger species such as walleye, pike, lake trout, whitefish, burbot, and more will need to bump up the tackle a bit to handle the larger fish. In reality though, tip downs really are better suited to smaller fish on light tackle while tip ups are best for pike and larger fish.

In conclusion, this article on ice fishing with tip downs will help anglers catch more fish using this technique.