For the hardcore walleye angler in the Upper Midwest, to get your fix, you must venture out onto the frozen surface of your favorite lake. Often, you will be able to wander out to your favorite honey hole and have it to yourself. Other times, you make a destination trip to some of the walleye factories known for their tremendous ice bite such Lake of Lake of the Woods. With those popular destinations, it attracts thousands of anglers to them every day so that out on the ice, there are more people and ice houses than there are on shore in town. When the stars align with hungry fish below you, it can be some of the best fishing you will encounter. On the flip side however, because of all the traffic and commotion, the fish can become smart and harder to catch. We have all been there when you are on fish, marking them, raising them up of the bottom, they meet your mark on your electronics, you get ready to feel that bite, only to see that mark go back down to the bottom and disappear. This is where the savvy angler will break out their finesse tactics.
Zero Line Twist and Strong Drag
For those of us who chase finicky panfish through the ice, we understand the importance that line twist plays in a presentation. We have reels set up such as the Piscifun ICX Precision or Carbon rigged up with micro tungsten jigs and 2-3 pound line. These FreeSpool style reels are integral to making sure those jigs are not spinning, causing the panfish not to bite. We drop our lure down and have ultimate control of the bait. Until now, these reels were designed with panfish in mind. Piscifun recognized the missing sector of the market and brings you the Piscifun ICX Frost. The Frost is the big brother to the Carbon and Precision Reels. The Frost gives the avid walleye angler an advantage out on the ice. With 10 pounds of drag and a capacity of 168 yards of 4 pound monofilament, the Frost is built to handle and target those bigger fish.
My go to set up for the ICX frost is on a Della Bay 15 for 2 which is a 35 inch, medium-light action rod. I spool up with 6-8 pound braid and tie a 6-8 pound fluorocarbon leader. If I am going to a lake with very clear water, such as Mille Lacs, I will make that leader long, to add to the finesse presentation. I am not able to do with a barrel swivel, because I do not want to reel the swivel through my rod guides. Just like panfish, I like to use a tungsten jig because of the advantages it brings in the size to weight ratio. The only problem is that many of the traditional tungstens have small hooks on them. There are two jigs that dominate my box for this situation. The first is a Eurotackle Tungsten Soft Lock jig. These jigs come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/32-1/8 oz. The jig has a #4 hook on them which is a great size for the walleyes thought the ice. The second is the JB Lures Dub’l D #2. This is a 1/8 oz tungsten jig with a #2 hook. It comes in my all-time favorite stained water walleye jig color, gold plated. Lake of the Woods walleyes can’t resist the gold. It also comes in many other classic fish catching color combos. When rigging this, I keep things simple. Choose whatever minnow you are fishing with, whether it’s a chub, shiner, or even crappie minnow, and rig it on the hook as straight as you can. I put the hook point down through the bottom lip, flip it and come out the back. This will let the minnow hang perfectly straight in the column. Envision you are threading on a crappie plastic tail and want it as straight as possible. Don’t overlook using just the head of the minnow on the hook. Sometimes they want as small of a snack as possible. Speaking of plastics, I will also break those out for this presentation. I go to the 2 inch Eurotackle B-Vibe in this situation. The tail on the B-Vibe takes very little jigging to achieve lifelike movements. To add to this presentation, I rub some BillyRub on the plastic. The Emerald Shiner is my all around favorite walleye flavor.
This brings us back to the Frost. The Frost is allowing us to use the FreeSpool technology to drop down to the finicky fish. We can stop the descent of the lure above and work the fish off the bottom. When the fish come up and meet your mark on your electronics, you can read the mood of the bite and make a tactic decision. My favorite tactic is to stop jigging and hold as still as possible. Because the Frost has dropped the lure down with zero line twist, we have confidence our bait will also stop and won’t be spinning. The minnow or plastic will make small lifelike movements as we hold still, and the walleye will come up. Most often, we will feel just a heaviness as they grab on. Having braid and a sensitive carbon rod, such as the Della Bay, is very important in this. If we used monofilament or a fiberglass rod, we likely wouldn’t feel that bite. The Piscifun Frost is bringing the ability to use our favorite panfish tactics in a situation to capitalize on what used to be a “bad day” of walleye fishing. We are turning all those lookers into biters and could not do it without having a reel we are confident will bring zero line twist and a strong drag. Add the Frost to your lineup and see all the benefits you have with a finesse FreeSpool walleye reel!