Baiting Technique Turns Fish to Stone

By Brian "Bro" Brosdahl - February 1, 2010
Creating "Medusa's Head" with maggots popularized by ice fishing pacesetter Brian "Bro" Brosdahl

Warning to panfish everywhere: Don't look into her eyes, or at that living crown of writhing maggots for that matter. If you're lucky, it's Stonehenge for you, and a safe sink to the bottom of the lake. If you're unlucky, it's a treble hook in the maw and a one way ticket to the frying pan.

What Brian "Bro" Brosdahl has dubbed "baiting up with Medusa's Head" is stonewalling giant panfish across the Ice Belt. The finished package, as the name implies, mimics, in a miniaturized way, the slithering snakes that turned Greek hairdressers into geologists…BC.

Medusa's Head, ala Bro, is fashioned by loading (actually, overloading) the treble hook of a small jigging spoon with maggots - aka spikes or Eurolarva - to the point where it morphs into a grotesque, singular organism with compound tentacles. It might take a dozen or more maggots to produce the effect, too. Don't be bashful - load it up. There's no such thing as too many maggots.

Trust, too, that Bro isn't doing it for attention or to run up the bait bill, either. It simply works. "Number one, you virtually eliminate the small fish," explained Bro. "Either the dinks can't get their mouths around it or it scares them off. And even if they do take a taste, that's okay. The tearing and ripping actually attracts bigger fish."

He's also noticed that the upsized presentation triggers otherwise uninterested panfish. "I've watched big bluegills and crappies stare motionlessly at a typical jig. Drop down Medusa's Head on a jigging spoon, and it's a different story. Bam! It's like they took a sip of the Bro Kool-Aid."

For crappies and bluegills, Bro fixes up a Medusa Head of maggots on a 1/16-ounce Northland Forage Minnow Spoon. Perch are partial to the same blob of bait on the more aggressive 1/12-ounce Macho Minnow. An alternate option involves skewering a dozen or more maggots on the single forged hook of a Northland Bro Bug. With all of the lures mentioned, jig as you normally would, but with longer pauses between sequences. During those breaks the moving maggots impart their own natural action…and scent.

Bro finishes by extolling the versatility of the presentation. "It's not limited to panfish, either. A Medusa Head of maggots on a spoon is one of my best late season tricks for largemouth bass and walleyes."

Author Brian
Brian "Bro" Brosdahl
Brian “Bro” Brosdahl (Max, Minnesota) is a professional fishing guide and renowned ice fishing expert. For nearly two decades he’s been sharing his insights and innovations with the fishing public. He can be reached at bbro@paulbunyan.net.