My Little Helper

My Little Helper

Most people who are out ice fishing, sit with set lines, a rod with a jig or use tip ups.
Like most of us, we also spend time peering down holes and watching how the fish react to our presentations.  I don’t have any new tricks that entice a bite
but I will pass along a tip.

Sometimes, fish don’t like the up and down motion of a jig or the fact that the bait
doesn’t move at all.  Sometimes, if you roll the fishing line gently between your thumb and index finger, the bait will rotate enough to bring on a bite.
I do this quite a bit for perch, whitefish and pike in the dead of winter.

Sometimes I add a balsa wood strike indicator to my line.  It can float on the water or be suspended above the water to work.  It is a tiny tear drop float pegged to a line with a small wood dowel. This little float can emulate the movement of your fingers, especially if you are fishing more than one line.  The balsa float catches any surface breeze and it turns in the hole or spins slowly above the water due to it’s tapered unequal shape. Because the float is so small, it can only impart a limited action.  In doing so, the line starts to rotate. As soon as the wind dies down, the
line begins to reverse. The greater the breeze, the more perpendicular you set the float. If the breeze is strong, the little float is large enough to catch the wind and put your hook into a slight jigging motion while moving around.

Ice fishing and fishing in general offer many opportunities to experiment and learn. If fishing is slow, you might try this tip and see if your day improves.

Jan 20, 2009

My little Helper part 2

I just love a rubber band.  This might sound odd to some but let me tell you why.

I use the rubber bands for a number of duties while fishing from capturing and bundling a two piece fishing rod to holding treble hooks from entanglement while stored.  The treble hooks require a very small rubber band but totally work the effort.

But I want to tell you about a four inch rubber band and why this is a main stay in my tackle boxes.  I buy rubber bands that are the thinnest diameter.  Many people don’t really know how tough a good rubber band is and buy ones that are too heavy.

Years ago trolling weights took the walleye world by storm.  The weights were the go to for many open water trollers.  There was an expense to these devices so I decided to experiment on my own.  The greatest expense in a trolling weight presentation is the clip that connects the weight to the trolling line.  I substituted the clip with a four inch rubber band.  Did you know a rubber band will not slide down a fishing line unless forced?  You don’t have to cinch it tight and it will not slip.  Back to my story.

I then looked at the trolling weights and decided I could do just as well if I substituted the expensive trolling weight with a bell sinker.  Now I had a simple trolling weight that I could use and adjust depth by weight and speed.

These cheap copies worked amazingly well and I used them for years without really telling anglers what I was doing.  Many a tournament angler would see me lift my rod tip up with a bell sinker on the tip and then lift the rod to net a fish.  They never caught on or never thought to ask.

What really makes this presentation unique comes in many forms.  First, a rubber band will not give you line twist like an inline sinker.  Second, rubber bands are so cheap, a bag full will last for years.  Third, if a large fish is hooked, a thin rubber band can easily be broken and the weight will not impart with the fight. Fourth is something most of you will not know.  The thinnest rubber band will carry a six ounce weight with no effort. This allows you to fish deeper than most.  At this point in time, I fish 90 feet with three ounces of lead and an electric trolling motor.  I can shorten up my line considerably by going to four ounces and the same rubber band.  But best of all is the last benefit.

Good trollers are always pumping the rod to change the speed of their lure.  This action often entices a strike.  In the case of a rubber band, this action has two benefits.  As the weight travels across rocks or snags, the weight gets hung up.  The beauty of a rubber band is the stretch.  Instead of the angler yanking on the rod to free a lure, the weight gets hung up stopping the forward motion of the lure.  With crank baits, this allows the majority to float up and away from trouble.  As the rubber band continues to stretch, it can overcome the snag and pop out.  If not, the rubber band snaps and you lose the weight but not the lure.  Lastly and most importantly, the weight becomes your arm.

As the weight skids across bottom or impacts weeds, it forces the rod to load or relax depending on the severity of the obstruction.  This is the most enviable speed change for your lure as the rod loads up as the weight gets hung up and then shoots the lure forward as the weight comes free.  All this from the lowly rubber band, my little helper.