I used my brother in law Brian’s new aquaview underwater camera. We were on a small local lake. Maybe a Iowa lake, but a minnesota pond. I was out with the kids and it was a glorious day. The temperatures were really warm in the 40s. We got out for just a few hours, and did not catch any fish. But for the first time even though no fish came through the hole we saw fish. We were using a aquaview AV Micro plus. He got a really good deal on it and it was really fun.
This unit is something you hold in your hand or put on your wrist. It has a very small camera, maybe the size of a large walleye jig. The screen was about 3.5 inches and it had a very slim cord to the camera. I would say no thicker than tip up line.
I first opened the thin cover over the screen. It was really handy that it turned on when you did this, no power button to mess with.
As I dropped it down the hold you really did not see much. In Fact I was unsure it was working. But as it got towards the bottom it started to show the weedy bottom. And also some sunnies. So even though I could not see them come through my hold we saw them in the lake.
I used my flasher to figure out where the camera was in the water column. It showed up as it went down the hole. This was very helpful as you really saw nothing but blackness and a few bubbles as you went down.
Their were some lighting options that are infrared and do help you see the fish much better.
I was also surprised how well my jig showed up in the camera. It was this really bring light in a somewhat dark landscape. I hope the fish see my jig that well.
It was a bright sunny day and the screen was hard to see in the light. I suspect it would be easier to see in the shack.
I did not this thing is quite small and would fit down a fish hole. Not sure if it floats but did not want to find out.
I tried this out on a non stained lake and it worked great. I hope to get one of these for my ice cave. It has an output to put it on the tv. That would be cool.
I am still on the fence on mono vs fluorocarbon. Mono never gets tangled and that Fluorocarbon i keep on having twist in my line. It seems to come out but I have not had that problem with mono. But then I love how it sinks in the water. More to come here but right now Monofilament is winning.
Topic - Panfish
Picking the spot
Transitions from shallow to deep. I start out on my navionics app to get to a general spot. I find that this worked pretty well. But if navionics says 20 feet, I have never found it to be exact. You will have to drill a few holes along the break until you get find 20 feet.
Once I find the spot I will work from deep to shallow along the break and see where the fish are biting. Even if I have fish that are showing on my flasher and they will not bite i move. It's hard to but you have to leave those fish.
Once you have caught a few fish in a hole, sometimes they have seen what you have and grow tired of it. You can switch lures, but I find that if a lure has been working on a lake i stick with it. The color and action work I stick with them. Maybe this is something i need to work on and switch up my presentation but I usually stick with what I have used in the past. Maybe this new mystery tackle box I subscribed to will help me with that.
I tried this on my last outing and it worked really well. I had caught at least 12 crappies and sunnies out of this honey hole, and then it cooled off. I decided to move just 15 feet away with the same presentation and I was able to catch a few right away, as soon as I dropped my lure in the hole.
The Major Move
Now when I am talking about hole hopping I am generally talking about the same area. Not a major move. That is something I do only after many holes have not produced. Meaning I have not caught a fish or the fish are small or not what I am looking for. This is required sometimes and you have to break out the navionics again and look for some different structure.
I have a bunch of lures I use for panfishing. But the ones I go to over and over again are tungsten jigs. They are small and drop fast and are easy to fish with. I tip them with a wax worm and the crappies and sunnies love them.
My favorite are the snow drop xl. I have found the pink and blue and green and yellow ones to work best for the waters i am on. I use the 1/32 oz. Thanks for tungsten for making these easy to fish.
I also love using spoons and minnows for panfish. My typical setup will be a small frosty spoon or a small northland glow spoon.
Frosty Spoon. Golden pirch, glow red, or silver moon light. Usually the 1/16 oz size. These are just the right size for a crappie minnow. I always have a bunch of these in my tackle. And I always buy at least 2 of each color. If its working and you loose one you have a backup, or if you need to share with a buddy. Depending how generous you are feeling.
When I use wax worked I get a bait puck. These things are great to keep your wax worms warm. Wax worms like the same temperatures that we humans do. I put them in my pocket and in a bait puck and this keeps them happy. I actually have a big one that fits the 100 pack of waxies when i buy them from the hardware store/ bait shop. I can leave them in the container and I have been fishing with the same ones for weeks. I just put them on the counter in the washroom and they stay happy. A few die, but that's ok. I just don't tell the wife i have wax worms in the same room as the washer and dryer. (oops she knows know but oh well, if she listens that is)
Time of Day
Panfish are easier to catch during the day than some other fish like walleyes, but I still think the magic hour around dawn and dusk are best.
For crappies I have caught them a lot at night also. But this can vary by like.
This was interesting. I always start fishing a foot off the bottom. But in my recent fishing trip i was in 18 feet of water and i had fish 2 feet under the ice to the bottom. I could hardly see my bait. What a problem. I did have my finder on wide beam which will show some fish further away. I found the fish at the bottom were very slow and did not want to bite. Now they could have been further away also. You really cannot tell the difference on a flasher. The fish in the middle and upper of the water column were much more active and would bit. It’s one of my favorite things to see that line on your flasher start to move to your bait when you jig. Moving it up and they follow it. These are the aggressive fish you are looking for. Not those ones that are down their and just stare at your jig. Or your camera if you have one.
How do you know when to jig hard and when not to. This is important slow fish want a dead stick or almost no jigging. When active fish will react better to jigging. Also know when to stop when they show up on your flasher. Not sure if this is correct but usually when they come in i will let it sit for a while.
Jeff and Jason talk about Gadgets, Gizmos and Contraptions, homemade ice fishing gear.
Gadget/Gizmo - Something you buy
Contraption- Something home made out of parts.
Sometimes we have grey areas, but this is how things break out. In the hierarchy of items contraptions are always as cooler as gizmos.
Contraptions are the roots of hard water fishing. It is only recently that you can purchase so many of the items commercially. In many ways a real fisherman should have their own contraption to be considered a true fisherman. Anyone can go buy stuff, contraptions take the next level of dedication.
RULE: This must be deployed or at least attempted
Jason talked about building your own ice shack from plywood and a tarp. Here are some directions below.
Home Made Sled (80s) - when I was a kid my best friend and neighbor Shawn and his dad Jim introduced me to ice fishing. Part of this introduction was contraptions. Of course we did not call them that then. My first contraption I can remember was a wooden box with 2x4 skis on the bottom. This was made from 2x4 and thin plywood with a handle. The top had a lid and a small bench. The lid would flip up and all your ice fishing stuff would fit in.
This was long before we had commercial sleds or Vexilars or fancy reels for ice fishing. A hand auger and a stick would fit in the box and it had a seat and the top acted like a wind block. For some reason I remember it being painted blue. This worked great for fishing on tanners lake. I don't really ever remember catching fish but I do remember this contraption.
Connecting Shacks / Shanty town
We use to take a suitcase style shack and a flip over style shack and face the front door opening on the flip over into the suitcase 6x8 shack. This way 4 guys could fish comfortably and hang out. One important item we don’t always talk about on the hard water show is the social aspect. Our goal is always to catch fish. But many times the people I go fishing with only see each other a few times a year. If being separated is a way to catch fish than we will do it. But eventually usually at night we want to get together and hang out while we catch fish.
Sounds dumb but I love looking through our scrapbook. History is important.
Jeff and Jason talk about Burbot and interview Matthew Breuer from North country guide service about fishing for Burbot aka eel pout. Matthew was kind enough to give our podcast a few minutes of time. Thanks Matthew.
Matthew Jason and I talked about how to fish for clean and eat Burbot.
For more information about Matthew or about north country guide service go to.
Jeff and Jason talk about the recent fishing shows they attended. Jeff attended the big one, the St. Paul ice fishing show. Jason attended a show at Hanks bait in Waterloo Iowa. Overall Jeff saw some cool gear, and Jason learned a bunch.