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Surface Tension

Making Biters Out of Lookers

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Surface Tension

Lots of Lookers but not many biters.

Thats the report I read on the Mille Lacs forum the day before I was to leave for our trip.

Me not knowing the lake but would be fishing with guys that do, I had one piece of the puzzle in place. In the back of my mind I guess I thought that maybe the weather would turn the fish on.

Out on the ice the reports of lookers was true.

Hopping from hole to hole helped but still, more lookers then biters.

Of coarse I changed up, down sizing, lure changes, bait, plastics, waxies, half a minnow, whole minnow, dead line, bobber.

DID NOT make a difference.

I wouldn't dream about going out without the flasher. I've been using sonar for a long time. I figure I have a pretty good

idea of whats going on down below. This trip I brought a camera too.

In the past I used the camera some and it seemed to be more entertainment then tool.

I hadn't a good way to hold the camera cable either but happened to have a very simple device to do that

this time out called a MarCum compass or something like that.

After all that hole hopping I figured I set up the Otter and put a camera down in hopes that maybe I can figure out "what they wanted"

I put the camera a foot off the bottom, then found my jig. The compass worked surprisingly well.

It held the the depth and when rotating the camera it was so simple but effective.

There were Perch there too. So I go about the jigging routine a foot off the bottom.

Perch would show up out of curiosity then pretty much ignored my efforts to get them to look much less bite.

In fact if they didn't ignore the lure they spooked from it.

I was over mud and figured the Perch were feeding on insects.

Still the waxie didn't make that difference.

Hmmm, What does an insect look like on the bottom?

I dropped a 1/16th oz Go Devil tipped with a minnow head right on the bottom.

I then lowed the camera just off the bottom, that gave me a bigger field of view on the bottom.

I short hopped that Go Devil on the bottom, It would send a little sediment up but not a cloud.

I could make it look like it was crawling on the bottom. To give my presentation a little more viability, even minute or so I'd lift a foot an let it go back to the bottom where I continued that crawl.

The Perch came in and instead of being indifferent or spooked they looked aggressive.

I was mimicking that bug life that crawls around on the bottom. As the Perch came head on to my crawling lure, I'd lift very slowly and inch with quizzer. That gave a little hint of fleeing and also gave the Perch a clean shot at the minnow head and hooks. Would have never been able to time this without a camera.

If the Perch didn't hit it after that lift I'd go back on the bottom and crawl. That more times then not got their interest back and I'd repeat this over.

About this time the winds started blowing pretty hard, hard enough that I couldn't leave my Otter.

I wanted to tell the rest of the crew what I was doing to make biters into lookers. An hour passes by and I'm starting to really get into using the camera.

More importantly I'm perfecting this presentation.

I started coming off the bottom only when the Perch showed interest. If the hit didn't come right away but the interest was there or if the Perch tilted up or down toward my lure I learned that it was more apt to pursue. At any time the Perch stopped showing interest it was back down to the bottom and crawl.

Next time you have lookers give it a try.

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Great info! I've found this out in years past also. Hard to bite perch, that would show interest with a dropper rig, and the smallest crappie minnows I had with at the time. Drop the spoon to the bottom and the little minnow would fight the weight of going to the bottom by swimming up, and all of a sudden the lethargic perch's fins would perk right up and inhale that little minnow but spit it right back out just as fast! If it wasn't for the camera, I would of never caught them. I would get around 10 perch or so a day when doing this, but none of them were under 11".

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think smaller yet. It has paid off for me!

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I hadn't a good way to hold the camera cable either

Here's a cheap trick I did for my Aqua-Vu DT-100

Took a piece of excess decking (about 1 1/4" thick by 6" x 15" long)- drilled a hole in the center of it that is a little larger than the cord dia. - then cut a slot in the board offset about 1" from the hole that is a lot larger than the cord so it will slide in easily - then took a jig saw and cut over to the drilled hole. (You end up with a very short-legged "L").Then cut a wedge from pine that holds the cable in place at the depth you want. You than just rotate the board until the camera aims where you want it.

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Watching on the camera it was the same experience for us, had one small perch actually suck the minnow head off the bottom and get hooked. very frustrating to bang the bait onto the bottom for half an hour only to bang the bait off the hook and then have a perch come by a slurp the bait and run!

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Awesome report Surface Tension. I know I don't work the bottom enough, now I'll give it a lot more attention. \:\)

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Eric Wettschreck

Awesome report ST. I was on the big pond, with minimal experience, the same day as you. Yup, I had a bunch of lookers and a lot less takers.

This is the perfect example of a situation where a flasher and a camera are the 1-2 punch. Talk about frustration, I was marking fish all the time. I tried the normal jig it a bit, lift it up a bit, jig it a bit. I could get fish to follow the lure up, but then they were gone. I would have given just about anything to see what they were doing down there.

Great tip. Next time I'm in this situation I'll definately give it a try. Also, next time I have the chance to use a camera for the day I'm jumping on it.

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figured out that havin an extra hole with a tip up hole cover and a pliers with a rubber band strapped to the cable works well. Holds the cable at the same depth and prevents it from turning

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I ended up takeing the swing out arm off of my marcum and mounted it to my camera casing so I can adjust it right over the hole. Then I went to a float for my transducer just like a vexelar.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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