|Fishing trends often appear to follow cycles.
A trend or presentation will be hot or 'cutting edge' for a
few years before something new emerges. Often with fishing,
we are not reinventing the wheel but just putting new concepts
or using new technology with what worked yesteryear. Spring
bobbers are nothing new by any means. In fact, spring bobbers
have been a part of ice fishing as long as I can remember. I
am sure many of you can remember back in the day when you could
hardly buy a spring bobber and had to make your own using the
spring found in a pen. I can also remember when spring bobbers
were fairly common and popular. I won’t say that everybody
used a spring bobber back in the day but they sure were easy
to find amongst the gear of many serious panfish anglers. Then
the winds of change blew.
Improvements in graphite technology began to creep into the
realm of ice fishing. Rod manufacturers began building high
modulus graphite rods specifically for ice fishing. There was
a notion if you will that many anglers believed spring bobbers
weren’t necessary if you used a sensitive enough rod.
Noodle rods have also always been around in some panfish circles
and similarly fished like the spring bobber systems in the sense
that you watched the tip of the rod. There was a stretch of
say… ten years where spring bobbers basically fell off
the radar in large parts of the Midwest.
There are situations where spring bobbers work better than high
modulus graphite rods or noodle rods.
The author, Jason Mitchell believes attempting to master
several presentations can make ice fishing very productive
|In the past couple of years however, anglers
are rediscovering the advantages a spring bobber system
can give anglers. There has been a surge of popularity
with spring bobbers amongst some panfish circles. The
advantages vary between different fisheries, presentations
and bites. The common variable however is that an angler
can often see the bight much easier than feeling the bite
in some situations. Another factor to consider when using
spring bobbers is the movement on the jig itself. There
is a bob or swim that anglers can manipulate with the
forgiveness of a spring bobber that is impossible to duplicate
with a straight-line jigging rod. Bottom line, there is
a time and place for spring bobbers.
Having said that, there are also several other presentations
that aren’t conductive to a spring bobber system. There
is no right or wrong. Anglers get used to doing something a
particular way and taste some success so they stick with the
equipment and technique that has worked in the past. There are
two parts to any presentation, manipulating lure spin and giving
the lure movement to attract and trigger fish along with detecting
bites. What we have to remember is that there are many different
kinds of bites. There are so many different patterns happening
under the ice that gives each school of fish different characteristics.
Even on the same body of water on the same day, the mood can
change drastically as either fishing pressure or light penetration
changes throughout the day.
Basically in a nut shell, there are times when an aggressive
pound using a high modulus jigging rod is the hottest game in
town and in that situation on that day, a spring bobber or noodle
rod could cost you fish. Another day where that same aggressive
hard pounding spooks fish and the movements have to be much
more fluid and subtle… and the fish just float up to the
lure and feed up barely moving the spring up. This day, a spring
bobber shines while people fishing in different styles around
you don’t get bit or they didn’t know they were
bit. Still another day, any movement sends fish fleeing and
the moves on the lure are almost micro maneuvers done under
a microscope. Still is the word and your leg is soar from bracing
the rod while trying to maintain so still while your Fish Trap
flaps from the wind… a scenario where some sort of noodle
rod may shine. Now throw in different tight lining techniques,
float applications, running and gunning versus staying put on
top of fish that have to be coaxed and there are a lot of different
directions a person can lean just with panfish.
If I can convince you of something however, don’t ever
make the mistake of believing one presentation is better than
another. There is no right or wrong if you are having fun and
something works. What we try and encourage anglers to do is
master several presentations. Chances are if you do any fishing,
you are probably good at something. Once you have mastered one
presentation and feel comfortable, move onto something else.
Be able to fish like different people. You are going to have
your own style if you spend some time on the ice. As soon as
your style isn’t working, force yourself out of that comfort
zone and force yourself to fish like somebody else. Be able
to watch somebody else that is catching fish and learn how to
mimic their actions and cadence so that you can take somebody
else’s song so to speak and sing that song. Learning and
becoming a more knowledgeable angler and a better angler is
what keeps me fishing. They key for my own learning is staying
versatile and remaining flexible on the ice. Have fun mastering
different presentations. Fish with people who fish differently
than yourself. Learn about different styles and presentations
used on the ice and be able to move through this presentation
spectrum. You will become a much better angler.
Editors Note: The author, Jason Mitchell is a legendary guide
on North Dakota's Devils Lake and designer of a lineup of premium,
cutting edge ice rods (www.jasonmitchellrods.com) that have
become extremely popular with avid, hard core ice anglers.