This article is reprinted from Ice Team Digital Magazine :
As a tournament angler, I pay attention to details. Not just how I am fishing or what lure modifications I am incorporating – but what are my competitors doing that is making them successful. Of course I don’t copy them or move in on their spot during a tournament – but I make either mental notes or take the time to write things down on paper so I can add to or change my tactics next time I run into a similar fishing situation. That’s the cool part of fishing – seems there is always something new to learn.
In March of 2012 I became a new member of Ice Team - a group of anglers that is known for their ice fishing prowess and skill. A group of guys that fishes all over North America (where ever there is ice) using a wide variety of tactics for a wide variety of fish. To me, this was the perfect situation to see firsthand new tactics and tackle to make me more successful on the ice.
Let me start out by stating that I have ice fish for a long time. Nearly 40 years ago my dad used to take me out on small lakes in Northern Wisconsin – hand auger and bucket in hand. We’d drill a few holes, set a few tip ups and then wait and wait and wait – hoping for the fish to take our offerings. A limit or cold feet, whichever came first, would get us trudging back to shore.
Since then I obviously have refined my techniques and equipment. One of the best moves I made was to learn how to use electronics on the ice – first a flasher but now an LCD type unit. It added a dimension to fishing that I rarely could analyze when fishing soft water – I could see how fish reacted to my baits. I could experiment with the type and color and action of my offering each time a fish would appear on my screen. Jiggling, holding still, ripping, popping, dropping, raising, pounding – all variables in putting together the equation of making a fish (especially a reluctant one) strike.
So now that I have been on Ice team for a while, I’ve got to analyze some really good ice anglers that I had never fished with before – Dave Genz, Jim Hudson, Jason Mitchell, Scott Seibert, Rick Johnson and Jeff Andersen – and believe me they have all added to my arsenal of knowledge.
Let’s take a look at each. Start with the master – Genz. I have fished with Dave for both walleyes and bluegill and what stood out most was how often he moved. I’m not talking big moves – I’m talking sliding the sled 20 feet, drilling a hole, working it for 15 minutes and then moving 20 feet again. Dave is of course credited for many of the innovations that have made ice anglers more mobile including flip over shelters and I can see why, the guy loves to move – albeit micro-moves!
I’ve known Hudson for a while – even before Ice Team – but had never got to go on the ice with Jim before just a couple of years ago. What I’ve learned from Jim is that more often than not, if I want to know the top of the line tackle or equipment – he is typically running it. Whether