Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Trout

Missing a lot of fish

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I can't help you much on jigging (except on some days trout will just pick) but I have been using jaw jackers pretty consistently for the last 8 years.  I made my own jaw jacker style tip ups and had the same problem when I started. My 1st successful trip was when I changed from a single hook to a small treble (#14) and hooked a small 1 1/2" shiner right behind the head.  I was hooking trout in the upper lip every time.  The down side of the jaw jackers is the fish don't have any time to take the bait and swallow it.  They just set the hook to early.  As sea Monkey said on some days the trout just don't take the bait so readily and will nip at it until the jaw jacker goes off and the hook just isn't in the fishes mouth.  The best improvement I made to my jaw jackers is I glued a spinning reel spool just below the reel and I'll wrap my line about ten times around the spool and this allows the trout to take the bait with no resistance until it pulls all the line off the spool and the trap is set.  This set up does not work with large shiners but works fine for small shiners, worms, salmon eggs etc., etc.....  Some days trout inhale everything instantly and I'll change my hooks to a single #10 hook and use no wraps to maybe 2-3 wraps around the spool.   All depends on how they are feeding. 

One more thing,  When I'm missing a lot of hits and none of what I said works 90% of the time the trout are pretty small 9" fish.  In that case if that's all I had to fish for, I would down size to 3-4 lb test and #12 single hook with a single egg or piece of worm.

I switch out the treble hooks that come with the lure for one size up single "circle" hooks.  I do this on Lindy Darters and all my Swedish pimple type lures. I get better hook ups and loose fewer at the hole. My experience is that the treble hook is not the best for ice fishing unless you are using large suckers for pike and then a double hook treble rig (one in the back and a smaller one in the tail) seems to work better.

Agree with changes in hook sizes/types, but it will definitely make a difference if they are sharp! Try the fingernail test to see if they’re ready to go.

gf hardwater guy:
Sharpen your hooks. Just because they may have just come out of the package from the factory doesn't mean they are as sharp as they should be. Hooking on the edge of the ice coming up thru the hole can cause them to become dull as well. Check to make sure they treble hooks are also straight. Nothing like a bent treble hook to create a hook setting problem.


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