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Pete  
#31 Posted : Monday, February 24, 2020 2:52:45 PM(UTC)
Pete
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You got the bluegills on a Kastmaster? What size Kastmaster? I assume you were jigging it? Forget the Vexilar: put in an underwater camera and see how they're reacting to the spoon and what happens towards sunset to make the crappies turn on that quickly.
Gurth  
#32 Posted : Monday, February 24, 2020 3:49:15 PM(UTC)
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The Kastmaster body is about a half inch long. I have a few of them and the one I was using was silver on one side and metallic blue on the other.

I don't remember catching any fish yesterday on a tungsten jig but mostly just had that rig dead sticking.

Glad I committed to the KM coz now I know and believe that it works and confidence in a lure is more important than some might think. Gonna grab some more colors as ice fishing stuff is on clearance right now.

I don't believe I would have gotten the crappies on a jig as I really haven't in the past. Ice fishing has always been mostly about gills for me but that could change with the addition of confidence in spoon-like lures.


I met a guy on stream one time several years ago and he mostly only uses a gold 1 inch Kastmaster for trout.

Has a 7 foot spin rod and almost high sticks them off the bottom and apparently the trout often hit on the fall. It worked for him without a doubt and I'm confident that he is a more accomplished fisherman than me.

Being a willing copycat of new info, I tried this a bit and got nothing. Still carry one around in my stream box from time to time thinking I might revisit the idea in the right circumstances.


I'm not getting a Vexilar. At least not now.

I do have a portable boat depth finder and one in my party yesterday was using one to see the bottom and his lure I believe. It might have even shown blips for fish.

If I go to this deep water again this coming weekend, I'll take mine along and see if I find it useful.


And crappies have always been a fish that turns on at dusk from my experience… even in the summer. And gills generally shut off at that time.

Sure… I've caught crappies during the day – sometimes piles of them, but we expected them to heat up at dusk yesterday if there was gonna be a crappie bite and they did not disappoint.


Kind of excited to have caught that many crappies as I usually only get one here or there through the ice and just mix them in with the gills.

Gonna do a crappie only meal.

Grew up eating crappies - we could never find decent gills where our cabin was at that time, but crappies were plentiful.

And while they aren't as tasty as bluegills, I enjoy variety and look forward to something different.

Heard some friends of my party did well on perch about a mile from where we were so maybe I can get some of those too.



.

Edited by user Monday, February 24, 2020 4:08:32 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
NBrevitz  
#33 Posted : Monday, February 24, 2020 10:00:44 PM(UTC)
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Get a Vexilar man... If you’re a good enough ice fisherman to consistently catch fish without one, you’re gonna absolutely tear it up with a decent unit.

I was fishing Whitefish on Saturday, 1-4 feet off the bottom in 50-60 feet of water. Very lethargic fish, but with the vex and a few tricks, I got 6 fish running 1.5-3 lbs, and a couple smaller. Without a vex, I doubt I would’ve caught more than mayyyybe 1-2 fish.

The Vexilar opens up so many options. Unless I were fishing exclusively for Pike or shallow panfish bites on early ice, or shallow clear bites on the Great Lakes, I would never go ice fishing without a vexilar.

I’ve only been outfished once by someone without a unit, and I was quite inebriated.

I love my FL-22HD. Looking to sell my older FL-12 to help fund an FLX-28 this summer. Just don’t buy an FL-8, theyre very bare bones and they have zero resale value.

Come up north sometime in the next month and I’ll let you use the 12 for the day. I won’t let you use the 22 because then you’d be ruined for life.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
Gurth  
#34 Posted : Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2:29:15 PM(UTC)
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You inviting me up? Haha

I don't think I'll make it up North till the opener (5/2) when I'm going to the river by your lady's hometown and also going to get (I hope) some walleyes like last year.

Actually, looking forward to the walleye and green fish more than the trout, but should be a fun mixed-species weekend.


And I didn't outfish someone on a Vex of your caliber the other day.

My buddy – who routinely crushes me on the ice with or without a Vex - did better than I did. He would have done better fishing blind too – he's got the touch. Weird thing is that he's not one of those old guys that just seem to outfish everyone. He's like 15 or more years younger than me… the puke. Haha

Anyway, when we first got there and I realized how deep the water was and that I'd be fishing blind, I was a bit concerned for my prospects.

Of course everyone with a locator got a couple right away and I was fishless for at least the first hour. Then I switched to the KM and started to dial in a bit on the strike zone and that was that.

Asked one of the other guys towards the end of the day – after I had a good amount on the ice and my buddy (mentioned above) did too – asked him if he was doing well and he only had a few.

I was surprised… that's all. Assumed he must be doing at least as well as I did. Another one had similarly average results.

A father and son duo were within 20-40 feet of me and they weren't getting much either and they had a Vex too. They were using 1 inch KMs tho.

Told the kid (nicely) that he might want to downsize for better results – didn't tell him it was my first time actually getting much of anything on my little KM haha… acted like I was an old pro at it. LaughFlapper


The thing about buying a Vex is that it greatly increases what I am spending for my return on meat. Cost per pound on those gills goes way up.

Not the way to think about it, I know, but that's often how I am wired.

On the other hand… I've ice fished more this season than I ever have and I actually enjoy it more than winter trout fishing – at least at the moment.

My birthday is in October and the wife often struggles to come up with something to get me. Maybe I'll ask for one.

Would be a good gift and then I'd have it for next season.


Looks like 40s all next week, so maybe this weekend is my final shot at the ice.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Gurth  
#35 Posted : Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2:39:02 PM(UTC)
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Oh yeah and whitefish sound fun.

A guy was out doing a bid on our roof a couple of weeks ago and he was talking about doing that out of Sturgeon Bay.

$80 for a half day I think including icehouse, transportation and gear.

Says he always gets close to his limit (10).

Think I'd like to try it sometime.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
NBrevitz  
#36 Posted : Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:21:21 PM(UTC)
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I’m inviting you up yeah haha. We’re gonna have good enough weather to hold the ice here for at least a couple more weeks.

I’ve never used kastmasters for panfish. I like them for Trout and I know the Great Lakes guys kill the Whitefish on them, but if I’m doing spoons it’s always a buckshot or forage minnow for me.

Panfish guys around here have been in love with tungsten over the last 6-7 years. I like tungsten and it’s great for active bites, but I find lead jigs are actually better when you’re fishing one spot all day. They have a slower fall and I feel like they catch fish that would spook from a tungsten.

And yeah that’s just it man. I enjoy ice fishing more than open water during the winter months. I’m not into numbers bites these days and most of my big fish spots are covered in ice, or the fish just aren’t there right now. I also take great joy in finding fish through the ice, because a lot of people don’t have a clue where to start and just blindly punch holes.

I can tell you that used Vexilars are very easy to find, and they’re really very tough. My initial unit is now on its 10th season and I’ve only had to replace batteries. My pride and joy FL-22HD is on its 5th season with me and I bought it 2 years used from a buddy. Again, only replaced batteries. You should be able to find an FL-18, which is a very good unit with zoom features, for around $200-250. Fish ten times a year for 5 years and your cost is down to $5/trip.

Marcums might actually be slightly better units, but my buddies are always breaking them. I’ve never replaced anything but a battery on my vexilars.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
Pete  
#37 Posted : Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:35:15 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Gurth Go to Quoted Post


I met a guy on stream one time several years ago and he mostly only uses a gold 1 inch Kastmaster for trout.

Has a 7 foot spin rod and almost high sticks them off the bottom and apparently the trout often hit on the fall. It worked for him without a doubt and I'm confident that he is a more accomplished fisherman than me.



And crappies have always been a fish that turns on at dusk from my experience… even in the summer. And gills generally shut off at that time.



.



You raise a couple of interesting points: I too have found crappies turning on at dusk, even under the ice. I find that a little surprising because when the snow cover is heavy, how much light gets through, even in bright sun? I have a hard time believing that fish can tell what time of day or night it is under al that snow and at some depth. But it does matter; night fishing is far more productive for crappies. I've caught a few on big poppers in the middle of the night during the Summer when targeting largemouths, which turns out to be a disappointment, even if it is a surprise.

As far as fishing spoons, I used to do it a lot along Lake Michigan for salmon. I thought there wasn't anything to it-just cast out and retrieve slowly enough that the spoon wobbles instead of spins-but got taught a lesson one night in the Autumn in Waukegan. There was a local guy using a big glow in the dark Krocodile, maybe 1 oz. He kept a finger on the line after casting as the spoon fluttered down. It was like a walleye fisherman feeling the tap on his jig, only this time the tap came from a 20 lb. fish. He was able to feel the line go slack as the fish picked up the spoon on its descent. It seems that a lot of fish, including trout and salmon, will hit on the fall.
Gurth  
#38 Posted : Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:46:02 PM(UTC)
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As do crappies.

The difference in take on the KM between the gills and crappies was noticeable.

The gills would usually take on the pause after a bit of a wiggle.

I was more aggressive with the presentation for the crappies… jerking the lure up and down 6-8 inches LaughFlapper.

Several of them (most?) hit on the drop and I didn't know I had a fish on until I lifted.

This was my first time fishing vertically for crappies, so will have to get used to their strike. I often keep my index finger on the shaft Flapper of my rod and also have a spring bobber, but even with those I didn't really feel the crappies strike.

Hopefully I can get some more reps this weekend.



.

Edited by user Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:47:32 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Gurth  
#39 Posted : Sunday, March 1, 2020 1:51:43 PM(UTC)
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UserPostedImage


Got out in town at dusk yesterday and got a few including a couple of big ones.

Gonna head to that deeper water west of me today for likely the final time this season. High 40s for the next week should put an end to most of the ice.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Gurth  
#40 Posted : Monday, March 2, 2020 1:51:36 PM(UTC)
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That's fishing.

Went to the same place as last week where I nearly limited out.

Everything was superficially the same… sunny… high temps in the 50s… fished from around noon… it was Sunday…

Much different results.

Fish were hugging the bottom as opposed to suspended. Bite was again sporadic through the afternoon but instead of turning on at 3:30-ish, it shut completely off. Didn't get even a dink from 3:45–4:45 and decided to call it a day and get home for the Badger hoops game.

Caught maybe 15 gills and only 4 were keepers.

Crappies weren't around at all and only got this one…


UserPostedImage


That's fishing.



Might get out again on Mendota this week or might not.

If I don't, that's a wrap on a very good hardwater season.

Didn't have many crazy catch total outings, but had a whole bunch of pleasant weather days and found a few new places to go.



.

Edited by user Monday, March 2, 2020 1:52:17 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
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