Published on April 1st, 2020 | by The Iceman0
Using micro plastics for ice fishing
Soft plastics are now a major part of the arsenal for those of us who take ice fishing seriously. Along with our boxes of jigs and ice fishing lures we carry an assortment of tiny soft plastic lures specially made for hard water fishing. But it wasn’t always this way.
For years the only soft plastic I used for ice fishing was a micro jig called a ratfinkee. They come in a full range of colors and they work well on everything from panfish to trout and even bass. Ratfinkees were always popular in my area and for good reason. So I used them, along with the typical live bait and ice fishing jigs and spoons.
Getting into soft plastics
About ten years ago I started using a full range of soft plastics. It all started when I ran into a buddy on the ice. He was catching big bull bluegills just a few yards from my shelter. I was fishing there with live bait and only getting the occasional fish. He showed me this tiny thin soft plastics that almost quivered in the water. Even when didn’t move his rod at all the soft plastics looked alive in the water. That was key to his success.
Around the same time I started hearing more about Dave Genz and all the new soft plastics he was bringing out under the Clam brand. Dave Genz is a big name in ice fishing and he knows what he is doing on the hard water. So this made me take notice. When I saw my friend catch huge panfish when I could barely get a bite, I knew I had to try plastics myself.
I went to the local Gander Mountain. Back then they had the best supply of ice fishing products around. As it happened, it was late in the season. So they were running all kinds of deals. I spent about a hundred dollars that day but ended up with enough soft plastics to last me years. I am still using some of those little lures today. Through many sessions on the ice I was able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Soft plastics for ice fishing
So now there is a wide assortment of soft plastics for ice fishing. Some work better than others. In some situations anything you drop through the hole seems like it will work. But at other times the bite is more specific. If you carry the right variety you can cover almost every situation. Here’s what’s in my box:
- Custom Soft Micro Nymphs
- Custom Jigs & Spins Ratso
- Northland Impulse Mayfly
- Clam Maki Bloodi
- Custom 1″ Soft Stonefly Nymphs
- Berkley Gulp! Maggots
Each one of these soft plastics has its own applications. I carry the Gulp Maggots for those times when I can’t get real live bait for whatever reason. I use the Northland Mayflies when I am targeting trout and big crappie. I use the 1″ Stonefly when I am fishing for pressured fish or in places where scented baits are not allowed. I use the Ratsos on very cold days or when fishing for finicky fish. I use the Clam Bloodi when I am fishing for perch and panfish when the bite is very slow.
As with any ice fishing, I use the bigger baits when I am going for aggressive fish. They make more of an impact and can be seen from further away. The smaller baits are better when getting up close and personal with the fish. The artificial blood worms in particular only take the slightest movement to look alive. So you they move around even if you are dead sticking.
Of course you can come up with your own uses. You can experiment and see what is the most effective in the situations you find yourself in. But the lures on this list are a very good starting point for ice fishing soft plastics. You can’t really go wrong with an assortment of each in a few colors. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get a good collection of mini soft plastics together either.