How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ice Fishing - Coming off the Bucket

By Mark Strand

As the sport of ice fishing moves forward, those who are riding the wave of the cutting edge are using state-of-the-art lazer augers that slice the ice with ease, mobile shelters that set up with a flip of the wrist, FL-8 flasher depthfinders, graphite rods, reels, sophisticated line and tackle. And they move, move, move until they get what they want.
Contrast this with the image of the ice angler left behind in another age, sitting in the open on a five-gallon bucket, wind and snow pelting him as if to smack him to his senses.
Make this the year you come off the bucket…
"It’s not that I have anything big against buckets," the interview begins.
The man doing the talking is Dave Genz, the man who essentially ushered in the modern ice fishing age. "Actually, I like five-gallon buckets," he says. "They remind me of the old days."
Genz has been ice fishing the new way for so long that he can barely remember the non-mobile days. To him there are two fishing seasons, open water and iced over. But he fishes the same way in both seasons: he uses a ‘boat’ on the ice (his Fish Trap); he makes a lost of ‘casts’ (drills a lot of holes), and he never stops experimenting until he’s catching fish.
"The stuff we’re using is no longer revolutionary," he says. "In fact, I really thought by now that more ice fishermen would be doing it the way we do."
"In a way, I feel like I’m saying the same things that I’ve been saying for 10 years, but I still see people with Fish Traps who don’t move much. They by a Trap, bring it home, see the nice big tub it’s built on and fill it with everything they would need to survive a month on the ice."
"When you’re fishing, nothing should be sitting on the ice except our FL-8, heater (or lantern), and auger. If you have more than that, you’re anchored to the spot, and you’re not going to move. I bring little tackle boxes with what I think I’m going to use that day (which these days are filled with ice jigs he designed and are sold as System Tackle by Lindy-Little Joe), and a couple rods, and that’s it."
"We make jokes about this stuff, but your see people out on the ice every day who are breaking the rules of mobility. I even feel that putting down two lines (legal in many states) can be an anchor, reasons not to move. We drill a lot of holes, because it’s really easy to drill holes with a lazer auger, and we try to fish in all of them before we move. If you’re dropping down one line, and watching it on your depthfinder, and actively looking for fish on the depthfinder, your don’t have much of a chance to watch two lines anyway."
"If you’re moving when your don’t see fish, you should be moving quite a bit. We sometimes sit for a long time in one hole, but the bite has to be either really good or really slow for me to do that."
Genz says that if you only load down a Fish Trap with a couple of rods, small tackle boxes, auger, depthfinder, and heater, it will be light enough to pull with ease….even up hills, even long distances by foot.
Again, one of his cardinal rules: if it’s easy to move, you’ll move.
"And we never go onto the ice without a lake map," he continues. "Most people put their maps away in the winter. We go find spots through the ice just like we do in the summertime."
Without getting into detail on how to fish specific species of fish, Genz finishes the conversation by saying that you have everything going for you if you hit the ice with a shelter that can totally block the wind, the right tackle, and the right mindset.
"The bites aren’t always easy to detect," he says. "If you’re out in the open and it’s windy at all, your line is blowing all over the place. If you’re in a Fish Trap, you can watch your line like a hawk."
"We go out there knowing that we’re going to move a lot, so it’s ingrained in how we think. We don’t bring too much stuff, and we only stick with a hole if it’s hot. We drill a lot of holes. We dress warm, but you’d be amazed at how light that can be. We’re not dressed for sitting outside on a bucket. We’re dressed for moving, and for fishing inside a shelter."
"We do hit a lake for the whole weekend a lot of times, and we spread out all over the place to look for fish. What we’ll do is set up a Clam Sleeper (a big fish house) and it acts as the ‘cabin,’ where everybody comes back to eat lunch and take a break. Then, we’re back out there, using our mobile system to find and catch fish."
Note: Dave Genz led the modern revolution in ice fishing equipment and methods. The development of his Fish Trap portable shelter and Ice Box sonar holder made it possible for anglers to be mobile and effective in winter. His style of fishing is known as the Winter Fishing System. Recognized as America’s leading ice-fishing authority. Genz is the captain of Ice Team, a new club for ice anglers. Members of Ice Team receive newsletters revealing fishing tips and details on new equipment, and can qualify their catches for huge prizes. For information, call 1-800-ICE-FISH or check out on the web.


Post a Comment

<< Home