Getting Jiggy With It–Ice Fishing’s Most Effective Technique for Catching Finicky Fish

This ice fishing post details the act of jigging to catch fish. The bait and switch technique is a great jigging technique to catch finicky fish.

Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be highlighting Will Smith’s hot single from his 1998 solo album, Big Willie Style in this post.  Although, I guess ‘dancing’ may be involved somewhat…

This post’s title is actually referring to an ice fishing technique that can be used by an angler to successfully target and catch a variety of freshwater fish through the ice.

Jigging(def.) (verb): Is the manual movement of an ice anglers rod up and down in a repetitive movement which imparts enticing action to the presentation at the end of an ice anglers line thus attracting fish.  In essence, that action causes the fishermen’s bait to…Dance!

Jigging large presentations in an aggressive fashion is often an efficient way to cover a specific area of the lake quickly in search of active fish.

I’m often asked, “Why do you have multiple rods with you on the ice when you can generally only jig in one hole at a time?”.

There’s a specific jigging technique I use on finicky fish called the “bait-n-switch” and it requires more than one rod rigged with a variety of baits.

When first dropping into a hole, I’ll typically begin ‘pounding’ a larger profile bait like a Buckshot Rattle Spoon or a Jigging Rapala on a 28-30” medium action jigging rod through the water column.

I’ll keep one eye on my Vexilar flasher unit waiting for fish to be drawn in for a look at the offering.  Once fish show themselves on my unit, I will quickly reel that bait up the hole and immediately grab another rod rigged with a considerably smaller profile Spoon, Rap, or Ice Jig on a 26-28″ medium-light action rod and deploy it right back to that fish or school of fish.

The larger bait jigged aggressively is used to attract or ‘bait’ the fish or school of fish into investigating and the smaller bait does the catching of the reluctant feeders.

When targeting a school of walleye, perch, crappies, or bluegills, using the ‘Bait-n-Switch’ jigging technique can be an entertaining and exciting way to fish…AND make no mistake, it’s a bit of a workout as well!  Constantly jigging your bait, promptly reeling up, switching, dropping, and catching all in vigorous fashion will certainly keep you warm on the ice!

Who knows???

The success it brings might make you want to jump off your 5 gallon bucket and…DANCE!


Chad Leton blogs as an extension of his youth fishing guide service, HookedUp101 Fishing Academy--serving Southeastern and Central Wisconsin

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