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Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! => Jigging => Topic started by: slipperybob on Sep 05, 2021, 01:18 PM

Title: Critical Chase Ceiling
Post by: slipperybob on Sep 05, 2021, 01:18 PM
There's one thing to jigging that draws an innate excitement within me that is the same as top water fishing on open water.  It's on an opposite spectrum of technique but it brings a correlation to what gets a fish to chase a lure to engulf it or turn tail at the last moment.

Let's start with open top water lure and how the fish takes such a fake imitation.  There are fish that swipes at the lure and misses.  There are fish that turns away at the last moment and one only sees a water swirl.  There are fish that totally jumps out of the water at the moment of attack.  All of this happens because of the individual fish seems to have a different critical chase ceiling factor.  In open top water, we only see the result at the water surface.  What happens under the water at several feet below.  There are instances where fishermen have claim that fish will swim from bottom of water in excess of twenty feet to come up and smack a top water lure.  There's no way for me to verify that, but there is a fish behavior that I see in ice fishing to may clue in to this.

There are times where fish are chasing lure but are not biting and I'm fishing them at about a depth of 30 feet or more.  I get them to chase the lure when I jig and raise the jig as they approach it.  Now fish that come in and bite are easy.  It's the one that comes in and just stares at the lure, yet they chase the lure every feet you raise it.  Then there's that moment where the fish momentarily pauses and burst into an attack mode just the moment the lure seems to get too far away.  The fish will either turn tail, swipes at lure where I feel the hit but no hook up, or I actually get the rod loaded with an angry fish.  Fish are fish, and this pattern has come up in a variety of species from bluegills, crappies, perch, channel catfish, rainbow smelt, and whitebass. 

The critical chase ceiling for perch is often a small displacement.  The majority of them will only chase a few feet.  Typically I will see perch at 25 feet along the bottom and the majority of them will rise up to five feet off and a few will chase a few more feet.  Still I will not discount that on occasion I have had a surprise jumbo perch chase the lure to less than five feet according to my flasher.  Any less than that and I run into the dead zone on the graph.  I tend to find bluegills a bit similar to perch however they seem to fill a zone above the perch.  Crappies are similar as well and have a much more spread open water column.  There are some that like to be deep and there are some that likes to be more shallow in depth.  It's the deep water ones that I get to commit to this critical chase ceiling pattern. 

This brings me to open top water fishing and catching crappies.  I wouldn't know it, until I actually hooked into a few crappies in that manner.  While crappies may have fairly large mouths, they do not have that strong suction capability like that of typical largemouth or smallmouth bass.  How does this correlates to ice fishing and jigging?  In a sense, there's working the lure in a cadence and then the change up to trigger the bite.  Often time in ice fishing, it's a more finesse presentation when the fish gets close to the lure, and it's the same with open top water.  With ice fishing we have the sonar advantage.  Now equally when the finesse presentation fails, the fish are telling me they want something different.  Now I need to give it a little more power finesse to raise the lure and figure out where this critical chase ceiling is.  Some days targeting fish from the 30 feet depth they're chasing it up to 15 feet on my flasher.  Some days I really need to make them chase all the way to that 5 feet mark on my flasher before I go into the dead zone no my rotary graph.  Sometimes it becomes a total dance routine of lure and fish.  If I raise the lure too quickly, I lose the interest of the fish.  If I raise the lure too slow, they get bored and lose interest also.  There is a method to the madness and it can change from day to day.

Title: Re: Critical Chase Ceiling
Post by: slipperybob on Sep 05, 2021, 02:43 PM
Since I do tend to fish crappies more often on the ice, I had notice a somewhat unpredictable or unreliable pattern that crappies persists in behavior.  Not sure if it's the time of the day or it's just that some percentage of the fish will just behave separately out of the whole.  Like in, there are bottom of the water column group of fish, and there is the middle water column group of fish to separate them.  In typical pattern the mid water column group of crappies tend to be much more active and are more willing to take a lure.  In open water roaming fish, the ones at the top of the school tend to be larger.  While in more of a deep water hole where the fish tend to just school up, the ones at the top tend to be the smaller.  Often one has to get the lure down pass them to get to the larger fish.   While not always true, it just seems to be a pattern that I notice that does come up.

Getting back to the critical chase ceiling of crappies, I also need to factor in how long they do tend to stay in the sonar cone when these school of crappies show up.  Sometimes they tend to move fast and getting a hook up is barely enough time to get the lure back down to the school before they roam past.  Sometimes they move slow and one can fish a half dozen fish and even hook up to a dozen fish before the school disperses.  When the fish are foraging, just presenting a lure in front of them is enough.  When jigging to get them to chase and give a reaction bite that's again figuring out the zone of critical chase ceiling as I often get to the fish to follow.   The pattern is often when fish are chasing and swiping at the lure without the hook up.  This is where I tend to employ the jigging method to figure out where is this zone of where the fish will rise and chase a lure offering before they give up.  Often time this does involve about a minimum of five feet of water column displacement to say that there is a ceiling that the fish will commit to.  The pattern is that there is a good number of fish exhibiting this behavior.  For example the fish are like coming from a mid water column of anywhere from 20 feet to 30 feet, they will give chase to the lure, but it appears that they all stop chasing the lure once it reaches for example 15 feet on the rotary sonar graph.  Meaning the fish showing at 20 feet are only willing to chase it for 5 feet before stopping and retreating, while the fish from 30 feet below are willing to chase it for 15 feet of vertical water column before stopping.  Raising the lure above this 15 feet appears to be the critical chase ceiling for these crappies on this particular day.