Brant Lake, New York •

The Side Show

We have been playing with this setup for a while now. I don't believe that it takes a bucket full of lures to catch a bucket full of fish. I have been trying to pare down to the essentials…figure out what really works and why and present you with exactly what I have found to work best.

The rigs and jigs I offer are usually the ticket. But sometimes, especially with old crappies, or heavily fished Waters, it seems like all any jig gets is a thorough looking over and no bites.

They call those persnickety fish window shoppers. I've heard them called worse on a long cold night with lots of fish on the sonar and only 2 in the bucket.

My theory is that the active jigging draws in the fish. But those smart old buggers have seen every jig and wiggly doodad that is made. So I tried lowering a live minnow on tiny, sharp treble hook, with a 4-lb. fluorocarbon leader. I suspended it at the strike zone under a slip ice bobber and then actively jig 3-feet away. This is the cleanest most natural presentation I could give them and they have eaten it up. Now I watch a big crappie raise a few times on my jig and disappear off my screen. But a few seconds later I watch my slip bobber slowly sinking in my nearby hole. The side show strikes again! Compared to active jigging, my picky crappie catch has gone up by 5 to 1. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Each kit includes a foam finger ice bobber with line stopper, a size 14 sharp treble hook tied to a fluorocarbon leader with a quality swivel.

Add one or two split shot on your main line above the swivel and you are ready to trick those big wise panfish that think they have seen everything!

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