Mark Romanack

When the mercury plunges to zero and a sheet of ice is the only thing between you and certain death, being organized takes on a completely different tone. Not only do ice fishermen need to be prepared for safety reasons, putting a little extra time into carefully selecting and organizing gear will save lost fishing time and make the experience something you’ll want to share.

The last time Lake Erie froze solid enough to provide ice fishing opportunities for the masses was 2015. When it’s necessary to chase fish like this walleye far off shore, make extra sure your ATV or snow machine is in good running order, the batteries are up to stuff and you take along safety gear including a throw road, flares, cell phone and flashlight with extra batteries.

SAFETY FIRST

            If you don’t already have it packed, every ice fisherman should carry an ice spud to check ice thickness, a 50 foot length of nylon rope, a pair of ice spikes to help pull yourself back onto the ice surface should you fa...

Weather plays a major role in fishing. This fact of fishing certainly comes as no surprise and is especially apparent during the winter months when the northern states can experience bitter blasts of arctic air or amazingly mild conditions.

For those who aren’t into ice fishing, stream steelhead fishing remains good all winter long. The Great Lakes region has dozens of places anglers can stay warm fighting chrome fish like this.

            Across the north, ice usually dominates the fishing scene starting about Christmas time. Bitter cold quickly turns every body of water into solid sheets of ice. Anglers adapt quickly and switch into ice fishing mode, but not all the fishing action in January and February requires sitting on a five gallon bucket and staring down a six inch hole!

            Some limited, but amazing open water fishing opportunities take place every winter on key rivers in the region. The most common species targeted on t...

            I doubt anyone out there appreciates crankbaits more than the staff of Precision Trolling Data. Besides having a passion for fishing crankbaits, our team spends countless hours testing a wide variety of baits to determine the diving depth of popular lures. Literally everyone who has trolled with a crankbait asks themselves the question -- how deep is that lure diving. The Precision Trolling Data apps provide anglers this critical fishing information, helping anglers everywhere to be more successful on the water.

Keith Kavajecz of The Next Bite TV series is also a partner in Precision Trolling Data, LLC. Keith and his partner Gary Parsons were involved in the prototype process needed to develop the Berkley Flicker Shad and Flicker Minnow series of crankbaits. Many versions of these lures were used and rejected before going to market with the the finished baits.

            Every time I take a crankbait out of the package in pre...

            Ask any angler who trolls a lot and they will willingly admit that being consistently successful is about putting your baits where the fish are. Depth control is everything in trolling because depth control is how trollers insure their presentations are close enough to the fish to elicit a strike.

            If that statement seems overly simplistic, don’t underestimate the importance of knowing where your gear is fishing in the water column. With the modern sonar and GPS capabilities anglers have at their disposal, finding fish and staying on them has never been easier. Still, the important question is do you know exactly where in the water column your baits are running?

The Off Shore Tackle Snap Weight is a commonly used trolling weight among anglers who target fish deep below the surface using crankbaits.

PRECISION TROLLING

            Thanks to the Dive Curves provided by the company Precision Troll...

Avid anglers are constantly in search of new and better ways to target their favorite species. That goes double for steelhead anglers who are always on the look out for a better “mouse trap”.

Captain Frank Campbell is a legendary guide who targets winter steelhead on the Niagara River. He fishes the 3.0 Mag Lip and removes the belly hook to reduce snags and also to practice catch and release. The Mag Lip is one of the few steelhead plugs that fishes just as good with one tail hook as when rigged with two hooks.

            The Mag Lip produced by Yakima Bait is more than the preverbal mouse trap, it’s a highly refined wobbling plug that steelhead simply can’t resist. The pet project of legendary steelhead angler and lure designer Buzz Ramsey, the Mag Lip comes tuned and ready to fish right out of the package.

THE PULL POINT

            “The wire pull point or line tie that protrudes from the diving lip of a plug is a critically important pa...

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