Ontario Fishing Network
In ice fishing a lot of the spotlight has recently focused on run-and-gun tactics with jigging rods. Yet in the shadow of this approach lurks a tried-and-true technique that fools hundreds of fish each season - tip-ups. Tip-ups are sometimes perceived as a secondary, or lesser, method for ice fishing. However, when properly used these presentations can be extremely successful, sometimes out-fishing jigging rods.
Types of Tip-Ups
Underwater designs consist of a frame that straddles the ice while the spool shaft sits in the hole. The positioning of these models prevents them from being blown over in strong winds. These tip-ups are particularly suited for extremely cold temperatures. The spool will not freeze underwater. High-end models feature spool shafts coated with low temperature lubrication, ensuring a smooth spin when a fish pulls line. Some below water designs also cover the entire hole, preventing holes from freezing.
Above-water spool designs often resemble an off-balanced "T". On most home-made models, the tip-up's resting position features a raised arm and when a fish hits, the arm lowers. Also included are wind propelled jigging models with rudders like HT Enterprises' Windlass Tip-Up. These tip-ups catch the wind imparting an up-and-down motion to the bait; strikes are signaled with a flag. Wind propelled models are excellent for targeting aggressive fish and work best on mild days. The disadvantage of above-water tip-ups is the unit's exposed. In cold temperatures moving parts can freeze.
Set tip-ups as your strategy dictates. You may want them on the periphery of the structure, or in shallow water. Once tip-ups are in place, jig open holes to explore the area. After hooking a fish, lines can be set to copy the successful presentation.
Tip-ups can also be used to target alternative species. For example, when jigging areas for panfish and perch, it's likely walleye or pike may be nearby. Rigging a tip-up with a large minnow on a feeding route may produce larger gamefish.
Playing the Fish:
Using tip-ups is a relatively slow approach to fishing if compared to aggressive running-and-gunning, but tip-ups have their application. If you have an old home-made tip-up, consider upgrading to a high-end unit for better reliability and performance. Finally, when using tip-ups this season, make sure you tie-up your boots; you'll need them to fit snug when dashing across snow and ice to a tripped flag.
All Photos by Tim Allard
ENTER OUR NEW CONTEST - 2006 Spring Fishing Show - Go on the Deadbait Diet for Trophy Pike!
Trusting TipUps - Tackle Tips for Icing Winter Crappies - Today's Catch Interview with Muskie Master Mark Thorpe
Product Showcase Woods Parkas - Video of School of Rock Bass - Fishing Lodge Classifieds
Downloadable Lodge Guide - January Fishing Photo Gallery - Fishing Cartoon
Upload your Fishing Pictures
Archived Articles Here
Back to the Ontario Fishing Network