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Flags/day and hook %

1/14/19 @ 6:34 PM
User since 1/10/03

I was fishing with a friend and my boy for two days recently.  I felt like we had two exceptional days and they were some of the best I’ve had tip up fishing.

It got me wondering:

1. What do you consider a good number of flags per tip up per day?  Let’s assume 6 hours of fishing = a day and please answer it on a per/tip up basis.

2.  What do you consider a good hookup %, ie how often does a flag result in a fish?  

We averaged about 3 flags/tip up/6 hour day and we landed fish on just under 50% of the flags, all northern.  Would you consider that good, bad, or average?

10/18/19 @ 10:04 PM
User since 4/2/02

Great question! It totally depends on the lake for me. 

But, if I'm out with my son for example, and we have 6 tip ups 6 hours I'd say 10 flags is a  good day. 5 fish landed would be solid. Some flags are just drops and really not much you can do about it. That's kind of what I consider a good day on a lake where I can hope to catch a few nice sized pike which the chance at a bigger one.

And, yes, there are lakes where you can get a flag every 20 minutes with 6 tip ups out, and there's nothing wrong with those lakes, but certainly that usually means small pike in my experience and a low hook up rate. 

I once knew a Super good pike fisherman, and he said he thought one pike an hour is what he does in open water and ice. 

5/9/19 @ 11:50 AM
User since 9/26/16

thats a pretty good day- what you said. If you want to increase your hook up percentage give the fish a little more time on the run and use larger circle hooks. Don't jerk your hand/ arm when setting the hook. Just pull back in a slow motion and the circle will do the rest. Do not pull back fast and hard with a circle hook, you will lose fish if you do that. Ive had 30 flag days with 24 pike caught. With walleye ive had 20 flag nights with 12-14 fish caught. That's not too shabby at all.

4/30/19 @ 11:29 PM
User since 11/19/09

It depends on who, what & where. I've done a flag every 10 min. with 3 other guys in the UP and 80% landed, nice fish, small lake.  I've fished Pettenwell all day for Large, couple of 38+ in one day, released, 100% hook up.  Not a trophy, won't eat them from there.

1/31/19 @ 6:50 AM
pike eyes
User since 12/28/10

I personally dont like to mess around catching all them small pike. I fish very large bait and rather catch less and go for Quality. I try and target 36"+ size pike. Even though I use large bait due to the northens aggresive behaviors we will still get a few of the smaller ones. I have fished a couple lakes in centeral WI when looking for pickling fish where its not abnormal to put 20 to 30 pike on the ice in the right conditions. [6 tip ups] 2 people for all the haters. I actually found that using a smaller size trebble increased my hook up ratio. Way less drops.

1/17/19 @ 10:25 PM
User since 3/17/06

That is an epic day, Suspended Musky! I will prolly only see a day like that in my dreams. Even a 25 flag day is amazing to me. The best 3 person day I ever had was 24 flags, but I only ice fish SE WI 

1/15/19 @ 6:27 PM
User since 1/10/03

Wow SM!  That sounds like an absolute blast!

So day one you averaged a flag every 10 minutes and day two was under 8 minutes.

1/15/19 @ 4:56 PM
User since 12/9/08
In regard to flags/day and hook-up %, my best 2 days of ice fishing pike occurred in northern WI 12 years ago.  My BIL, nephew, and I fished about 7 hours/day (8:30 am - 3:30 pm) on 2 consecutive weekdays during Christmas break. 

Day 1: 9 tip-ups (shiners, small single treble hooks) - 43 flags, 34 pike caught (4.8 flags/tip-up, 79% hook up).

Day 2: 9 tip-ups - 54 flags, 42 pike caught (6 flags/tip-up, 78% hook-up).  On this day we had 4 flags up at the same time twice during the day.

The 76 pike we caught ranged from 20" to 42".  We released everything. While I have had a number of 25+ flag days since then, I personally have never been able to duplicate the numbers above.

1/15/19 @ 4:21 PM
User since 1/10/03

I feel like when fishing with shiners, a lot of the misses are bass.  I've seen Youtube videos of guys that record their shiners on a tip up that seems to at least make my theory plausible.  In one video I watched, bass tripped the flag several times by gently grabbing the shiners, moving a couple feet, dropping it and swimming away.  It seems like a lot of the "misses" the line marker is out a foot or two and the bait is intact.  

1/15/19 @ 2:31 PM
User since 10/24/04

Hook ups on tip ups using live shiners I would guess we average about 50%. One day you go 2 for 7 and you go back the next day and have an 8 for 10.  That's been my experiences for many years fishing northern Wi lakes w/ lots of pike.

1/15/19 @ 10:16 AM
User since 2/8/06

It’s interesting to read about the percentages that you guys come up with.

 I tip-up fish for Pike with the Arctic Warriors and primarily use dead bait. With that being said I don’t get false flags.

The drops that you talk about probably come from the resistance felt when the fish takes your bait or the size of the hook. The Warriors using a balanced rod and a open bail offers almost zero resistance. I also changed from treble hooks to a single Octopus hook which doesn’t allow the fish to feel the hook.

As far as hooking percentage I think that the Octopus hooks eliminated much of that. The hookset is a simple lift (not jerk) and 99% of the fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth.

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