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Tip-Up Fishing

By: Ryan Prososki (nuthinlikeacat)​

Well, its getting late in the year and winter is right around the corner. For some of us in the northern states, that means one thing…ice fishing. The following article will touch basis on tip-ups and how they can be used.

What is a tip-up?
A tip-up is a type of device used through the ice to catch just about every type of fish.

How much does a tip-up cost?
Depending on what brand and type you are looking for, typically they run anywhere from $10.00 to $35.00

Different types of tip-ups
There are many different types of tip-ups, but they all basically do the same type of thing. Some are made of plastic; some are made of metal or wood. While the standard tip-up just lies right over the fishing hole, some tip-ups are circular in shape and fit over the hole to eliminate light shining down the hole. Yet other types are set several inches away from the hole and are positioned over the hole. These tip-ups are wind controlled, bouncing the bait around in the water.

Tackle Needed
Basic tackle is needed for a tip-up. A hook (usually around a size 5/0 for pike), a sinker (Whatever preference you have), and line. People fishing for bigger fish may want to use a steel liter (usually 20-30 lb test and up to 2 ft long). There are specific lines for tip-ups found at your local department store, but any line can be used. Personal preference for me is any brand of black-coated line. Fishing in cold-water temps tends to freeze up the line, so a coated line seems to work best for me.

I’ve got everything above, so what’s next?
It’s time to get your tip-up set up and head out to the lake. There are many different variations of how people set up their tip-ups. Some people just use the method above( Hook, line, and sinker). Other people will put spinners and beads of all different colors on their line to help attract fish.

What type of bait should I use?
Bait all depends on what you are fishing for. In Minnesota, most people use tip-ups strictly for bigger game fish (pike or walleyes). If this is the case, use what bait you think will work best. Most people use sucker minnows or shiners, but some people use leeches, fatheads, ect..

How do I hook my minnow, and what is the groove that my flag site under?
I prefer to hook my minnow between the top dorsal and the tail, making sure I don’t go too deep while puncturing it with the hook. As for the groove that your flag sits under, this is a tension setting. If you are fishing for smaller fish, or using small bait, the light setting is best. However, if you’re using big bait the grooved side works better. You can also loosen the nut and slide the bar down giving your flag even more resitance.

How many tip-ups can I use and where do want to position my tip-ups?
Check your states rules and regulations on how many you can use at a time, and within what distance you have to be of your tip-ups. As for how to position them, the best method I have found (which I learned from the pros) is position them in a “triangle”. This allows you to better cover an area.

How deep do I want to fish?
That depends on what type of fish your fishing for. When it comes to pike, only a few feet under the ice. Walleyes; almost right on the bottom. As for other fish, just try depths you would normally fish them during other months.

The flag is up!!!! What do I do next?
Now it’s up to you on what to do next. Some people run to their tip-up, others just sit and wait for a few minutes then go check it out. My personal preference is walking over there slow (The ice can be very slippery!!). At that point you want to watch to see if the line is spinning. If the line is spinning, you have two choices, hit the fish now or wait for it to stop running. When fishing for pike, they will usually make an initial run, stop to adjust the bait in their mouth, and then start running again. Again, my personal preference is to hit the fish right after its initial run, before it starts making its second run. If its not spinning when you get there, pull the line up to see if it’s a false alarm. Pull the line up slowly and feel for a tug, the fish might be there, just not moving.
*Note* It is always wise to use some sort of gloves or protection when setting the hooks on the fish. You never know how big the fish is on the other side of the line, and I know first hand of the painful experiences by not using gloves.

I caught one!!!!!!
Well, I hope this article has some useful information in it, and I hope that someone may have learned something from it. Look for further articles on ice fishing as winter fast approaches.

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