Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bigger isn't always better!

When I go fishing, I often have the perspective that I am there for the quality instead of quantity.... In other words, I would rather catch one big fish than fifty tiny fish.  I feel that catching "the big one" or a fish that is unique in some way is much more worth it than catching numerous small fish.  Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that I do not enjoy getting out and catching fish of all shapes and sizes, I am just stating what goes on in my head (usually while I'm sitting there watching everyone around me catch fish and me doing nothing but sitting there thinking...)  I would much rather catch a few small fish than no fish at all!

Idahoan Brook Trout
Brook Trout
I have fished enough in my area to know what works in the different bodies of water I fish in.  I am sure there are things that work that I am not aware of, but I have my own "traditions" you might say that I use religiously for bait.  I have caught quite a few big fish of many different species and feel that I will have to get pretty lucky if I am going to out do my own records on some species.  Here in Idaho, I am able to ice fish with up to 5 poles at a time which allows me to use what I know works, as well as take the time to try something new to see if it works any better.  Recently, I have been visiting with the Matt who designed the JawJacker and one tip he suggested, is to use a smaller bait to get more hook ups.  I will admit, I thought to myself that I may be able to catch more fish if I go to a smaller bait, but I will not catch as many big fish by doing this.  I went fishing a few times this year, and what I have always used seemed to be working just fine so I didn't think twice about changing things up.

Ice fishing Idaho
A trout I caught earlier this year.

This last Saturday however, I was ice fishing and wasn't having as good as luck as I had been hoping for.  It had been about an hour and I had only caught a few small fish.  By this point I thought, I might as well try using smaller bait to see what happens.   I decided to use a few jigs Matt had told me to use, and tipped them with half of  meal worm.  I was quite skeptical putting such a small jig and bait down the hole while my other poles were baited up with much larger baits.  I set it all up in my JawJacker with the bait a few feet off the bottom and walked away.  By the time I got to my seat and sat down my JawJacker went off!  My first thought was that I had failed to set it up right and the JawJacker had gone off due to some mistake on my part, but when I looked at the pole I could see that the only mistake was that I hadn't listened to this advice sooner! My pole tip was bending with the fight of a decent sized Cut Throat Trout who thought my bait was just to much to resist! I pulled in the fish and in this picture you can see the jig I caught it with.

Idaho Cut Throat
Cut Throat Trout caught on "Fire Fly Slush Bug"
After this experience, I will admit,  I ended up changing 3 of my 5 poles to have similar bait.  I started catching quite a few fish and ended the day by pulling 24 onto the ice.  I did catch a few on the bait that have always had good luck with, but I was surprised at how many decent size trout I caught on such small bait.  So next time you are sitting there on the ice not catching anything, maybe try switching your bait around and maybe even downsizing your bait to see if that helps.  This may be a tip that many people already know or talk about, but it was new to me and thought I would pass it on to anyone who may be interested.


  1. Sounds like you had a fun day of fishing! I'll be honest, I am a bit envious because I love ice fishing and you caught some great fish! Thanks for sharing, Kevin.

    1. Awesome! Our ice fishing is generally limited to gills, pike, perch, etc, and the occasional lake trout (if you know where to go). I switched to tiny tungstens last year and the fish went nuts over them!

    2. Yeah Al, I am glad I have been able to get out... It has been an odd winter and the ice isn't forming as fast as it usually does in my area... John, I would love to catch a pike! Those are some pretty cool fish!