Grand Master of Ice Crappie

Posted by MNAngler On March - 8 - 2011

A few weeks ago, I dubbed my brother the Master of Ice Crappie because he had caught 13 crappie in just a few hours of ice fishing. That was an impressive feat considering the conditions. We essentially drilled some random holes near some other ice fishermen and he jigged his way to success with no electronics. We were essentially blind to what was below us, but he was still able to catch all those fish.

However, having a Vexilar (fish finder) and knowing how to read it and use it effectively can take an angler to the next level. A case in point was this past weekend when I went fishing with Mark.

We met at 2:30pm and headed to a lake not far from our houses. The only time I fished it was at a parent-child fishing day put on by the Minnesota BASS Federation. Mark said he caught crappies on it many years ago and thought it was time to try it again since we usually go to the same few lakes.

We got on the lake and drove around checking out about half a dozen spots before settling on a sunken island near the East end of the lake. It took us almost an hour and by then, Rob had shown up as well. The three of us set up Mark’s shelter and started fishing.

I was using the orange flutter bug and euro larva that I had success with last week. Mark and Rob were using minnows under bobbers. Rob could only stay an hour and during that time, the only sign of life was a small perch that Rob caught. Along with the 6 holes in the shelter, Mark drilled two holes about 30 and 50 ft outside the shelter. He tried those holes without any luck and when Rob had to leave, I decided to give them a shot. Rob was nice enough to let me use his Vexilar (since I don’t own one) so Mark and I each had our own.

I hadn’t been out more than 10 minutes when Mark wanted to move. I agreed. We packed up and headed back to one of the first locations we had checked out. It was also the area he had caught crappie years earlier. Mark used his Vexilar and graphed a pile of fish off the bottom, which is what we were looking for.

We got all set up in our new spot and within minutes, Mark caught his first crappie with a minnow. A few minutes later, I got my first with the flutter bug and euro larva. Then the madness started. Mark got another, then another, then another. I finally decided I needed to switch to minnows. Mark let me use one of his extra rods since I left my second rod at home and only brought a tip up for my second line. At first, I hooked my minnow by the lip, but after Mark caught a few more fish, I switched to hooking it at the dorsal fin like Mark.

I caught a few fish, but the fish seemed to like Mark’s lines a lot more than mine. At one point, he would catch one fish and before he got it off the line, his other bobber would go down. That went on for a few cycles so that in the first hour, he had caught more than a dozen fish to my 5. Here are two of my 5:


During that stint, Mark had tried to describe to me what he was doing, but I didn’t fully understand his technique. I finally had to see what he was doing differently. I got up and watched his methods.

In the interest of keeping this post to something less than the length of Moby Dick, I’ll save the details for my next post. Suffice it to say, his methods worked and of the 30+ fish we caught in two hours, he caught all but 7 of them.

I love fishing with Mark because he is happy seeing any of his fishing party catch fish. In his tally for the night, it was always about total fish, not just how many he was catching. He is very generous about sharing his knowledge. I learn something new every time I’m out with him and for that, I am truly grateful.

I had learned previously how important the right equipment is. But that night I also learned how important the right technique is. Too often, many of us stick with old tried and true methods when a different technique can greatly improve your odds of catching fish. Next time you’re out, try something new.

5 Responses to “Grand Master of Ice Crappie”

  1. kmurray says:

    Looking forward to finding out that technique! Congrats on all the fish. I love when that happens!

  2. argosgirl says:

    Electronics make ice fishing so much easier! It’s nice to know if the fish are there or not…then you can worry about finding the right technique to catch them. Can’t wait to hear what the technique was.

  3. MNAngler says:

    Thanx for stopping by, ladies. The post will actually not come next, but the one after next. I just remembered I need to publish a special post tomorrow night. Stay tuned.

  4. [...] my last ice fishing report, I talked about a technique Mark used to catch more than 20 crappie in less than 2 hours. As [...]

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