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Sit Still For More Perch

By Bob Jensen - February 1, 2006
As the ice-fishing season continues, the fish change a little bit. If we want to continue to catch them, we need to change our lure presentation a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes it pays big dividends to sit still if you want to catch more perch from now through the end of the ice-fishing season.

When we talk about sitting still, that doesn't mean we're not moving around looking for the fish. We're moving quite a bit, but when we get to a hole that has fish, frequently it will work best to present the lure as motionless as possible.

Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series To be successful on the ice this time of year, the proper tools are necessary. We will be moving from hole to hole quite a bit. Usually we will drill a bunch of holes in a "perchy" area. An auger that pops through the ice quickly will prevent this from becoming too much like work. Jiffy Stealth augers get through the ice quickly and quietly, and their new blades last longer than any others. Drill holes at a variety of depths: Sometimes the perch will be at fifteen feet, other times they will be at thirty feet.

Now start moving from hole to hole. Most anglers prefer to pull a portable shelter as they move to the various holes. Frabill Rangers are the perfect shelter for mobility on the ice. In the shelter we will have an auger, a sonar, and our rigs. This technique works best with two rods and reels, one rigged with a smaller sized Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon, the other with a Micro Minnow jig. Here's why.

When you arrive at a new hole, put the sonar's transducer in the water to see what's below. Sometimes you will see fish down there just waiting for you.

Drop the spoon down there. It should be tipped with either a minnow head or a couple of Gulp! maggots. Sometimes the perch will eagerly whack the spoon. That's good.

However, as the season progresses, the perch will look at the spoon, but not hit it. This is all revealed by watching your depth finder. You will be able to see the fish approach your bait, but not strike. Now is the time when you want to change baits and sit still.

Grab the rod rigged with the Micro Minnow and put a small Gulp! maggot on it. Drop it to the level where the perch are and hold it there as still as possible. At times it works best if you sit down and rest your elbows on your knees. This will hold the bait even more still. If you stand and hold the rod, the minor tremors from your hand shaking can prevent strikes.

I've seen perch watch the Micro Minnow/Gulp! combination for what seemed like thirty seconds before hitting. The added scent that Gulp! emits seems to keep their attention and convince them to strike.

A sonar that is easy to read is a big help here. The new MarCum LX-5 reveals the fish close to the bottom, and also shows exactly where your bait is in relation to the fish.

From now until the end of the ice-fishing season, you will want to keep moving until you find the perch, but once you find them, sit still and you'll catch them.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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