Vertical Fishing Tips When Ice Fishing for Bluegill
When you are fishing through a small hole in the frozen crust of a pond, vertical fishing is obviously what you are going to be doing. So when ice fishing for BLUEGILL one needs to become proficient at this activity. In the winter months, fish are less active than in the other seasons. They conserve energy by minimizing their movements and seek food sources that require the least amount of effort to capture. Therefore the smallest differences in presentation result in massive differences in bite triggering effectiveness.
When it comes to the jigs you choose think small. While I advocate big baits for big bluegills, winter is the exception. Small and easy is what they are looking for during this rough time and what will give you the best results. Custom Jigs and Spins is a company that offers many ice jigs that perform outstandingly. They offer a number of hard and soft bodied jigs with various body styles that provide diverse fall rates and actions to match whatever will trigger your bluegill. The nuclear ant has a rubber skirt that appears as little legs that can drive fish crazy under certain conditions. I have even used this jig in the summer piggy backed onto another larger jig for casting with amazing results. Some with a little flash either on one side or with tiny spinners will get the attention of hungry bluegills on a sunny day. Play with body styles and these little differences to see what you bluegills are looking for in their prey.
A must in the winter is either a live bait or prepared bait for the final trigger. Since the bluegills are moving slowly and choosing their meals suspiciously, it must smell and tastes like a real juicy morsel. Bluegills will inspect bait for a long time before committing to biting. Soft, doughy prepared baits like Berkley's Crappie Nibblers leave a cloud of scent around the jig bringing them in closer and provide a real taste when they mouth the lure. Wax worms work just as good. Squeeze them a little to let the juices flow into the surrounding water for the same effect.
Finding the proper depth can be a challenge. To find the best depth in a new spot, a good method is the stair step approach. Drop the jig to the bottom and bring it up a few inches to a foot. Let it sit there for a few minutes with the action of choice imparted during this time, then reel it up 6-12 inches and repeat the process until reaching the surface. After finding the right depth, simply return to that level to find more active bluegill.
Since you know what the game and rules of that game will be when ice fishing, do everything you can to master that game. Explore all of your options at your favorite local bluegill shop and online. Think subtle differences and how to achieve those. And finally, have fun.