ice fishing for smelt (tips? etc?)
Posted 19 December 2010 - 09:27 PM
What do you guys do for ice fishing for smelts? What kind of bait/rigs/tricks do you use?
I know once somebody gets the first smelt, you use the white gut of that smelt for bait, and you're good to go from then on. But what do you use for that first smelt, or for all your smelts for that matter?
Do any of you use "sabiki/sabaki rigs"?
Do you fish off the bottom?
Posted 19 December 2010 - 11:58 PM
For bait they seem to take just about anything sometimes, and go for nothing others. My dad always would get salt pork, cut it up into small pieces and keep it in cornmeal in the freezer, i'm not sure if the cornmeal did anything, but he did it every year.
I have also used gaspereau, smelt throats/bellies, i've seen people use chicken hearts, hotdogs, small shrimp pieces, seems just about anything small and smelly works.
Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:34 AM
Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:25 PM
Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:03 PM
i have tried sabiki rigs but found they still need to be baited - you are competing with lots of baited hooks out there and might need the smell.
for bait i use a wide variety: cut gaspereaux; corn niblits; marshmellow pieces; trout power bait (white/grey, then pink, green, blue & red); steak; liver; rabbit; smelt; popcorn; pork fat; pork rind; worms; man made real bait worms; and i used to use shrimp until i became allergic.
"secret weapons"!: small jigs with a cup on the front, this gives you more motion when thrumming and moves better than any other in current. egg hooks when i'm lazy and i'm just going to wait until they hook themselves, the egg hooks are little circle/octopus hooks so no hook set required. a fish head or flying jig instead of the regular one for the bottom hook.
oh, and corn meal! besides the taste, the tiny fish and krell the smelt feed on go for corn meal, so using some every once in a while can at times turn them on or bring them over to your shack from where they were chowing down below the shack around the corner...lol! dan883, you dad clearly knows this one, by having it on his baits he's ready to fish with no additional mess.
oh again - thrumming! how could i forget! thrumming is how you are supposed to legaly move your jig. it's just a slow smooth lift of the line about .5 to 2" and then letting it brop back down or slowly lowering it - mostly used for larger fish, works well for smelts!
i normally have the weight just 6" or less from the bottom, i know people that use bigger hooks and let the eight sit on the bottom too, and at times you can catch them anywhere in the water colomn, so don't always just quick drop to the bottom, let it down slowly.
i see the site is still glitching, this is my second posting attempt.
Posted 18 January 2011 - 05:00 PM
the other is much more smelt related, and has to do with a bait that hasn't been mentioned yet. besides catching an average smelt yesterday, i landed a 13" and lost what hit and felt like a much bigger one. the 13" was landed on power bait, but had just taken cut minnows and marshmellows. i noticed a tail sticking outof it's mouth, gave it a pull and found it had a 5" ell in it. this isn't the first time i have caught a smelt with an eel in it - last time the eel was even bigger. this is an odd thing, since smelts normally go for very small baits. just to try it, i put the eel on a circle hook and dropped it down. whithen 5 minutes, i had a big hit, had a good size fish on (probabaley not a smelt unless it was a foul hooked big one)...and it got off just below the ice, so, if you want really big smelts, try some small eels - personaly, i prefer small to average smelts - scrumpous!!
i did try a full minnow after that big mystery hit - nada!
Posted 18 January 2011 - 09:00 PM
I use 4lb test mono and a very ultralight light 4' to 4'-6" rod. The extra length and thin tip section improve the visibility of bites and increase your hooks ups, without pulling hooks out. It is hard to get that rod in a shack though.
Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:42 PM
i have watched smelts on my underwater camera - we are getting about 8 to 1 unnoticed hits to noticed from what i watched. they will hit, suck on and reject a bait, then come right back and do it again or just sit there and stare at it untill it moves, so i'm not sure about the leaving a bad/rejected scent thing. baits do become stale, even water logged and clearly the fish don't like that, prefering fresh baits. so you may be getting the best results for some different reason.
using some noise and stirring the bottom a bit definatley helps, you could see them come over on camera. i was doing it the other night. i like the wallyworld smelt rigs too - nice small hooks! i haven't been using a rattleing lure on the bottom, but since you've mentioned it, obviously i should be! thanks.
Posted 26 January 2011 - 07:34 PM
Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:13 PM
Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:29 AM
We caught anoher 200 or so yesterday,just using deer meat marinated in clam juice.You can use top round steak,stays on the hook real well and just get a bottle of clam juice from your local grocery store.Cube up the steak and marinate ,the longer the better.!15 or more shacks off Cameron now,probably still more to come
i use it sometimes, depending on how they are hitting and if i'm cleaning the smelts at the shack or not. i like cut gaspereaux better, now if i can only find it in my deepfreeze....i know i kept at least one...
Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:30 AM
some people like to use some mackeral as well, those are the 2 favorites from around here.
Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:09 PM
Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:51 PM
We caught about 200 between Saturday and Sunday, and here's what worked and what didn't for us:
-corn niblets: caught maybe 5% of the smelts.
-roast beef: caught maybe 10%
-white gut: caught about 45% of the smelts the first 10 minutes on the hook, then had to be replaced with fresh.
-shrimp: caught about 40% of the smelts.
**notes**: 1)shrimp (we used cooked) works great, but after every couple of bites if you didn't catch one, you had to check your bait as it doesn't stay on well at all.
2) When the lads on here say "they take real subtle bites", they aren't kidding! I found I had to hold my rod with one finger (my forefinger ballancing the rod immediately in front of the reel) and concentrate on the slightest twitch. At the first sign of a twitch, I'd give a little jig and reel in regardless of if I felt a fish on or not. 9 out of 10 times I had a fish on and couldn't even feel it fight!
3) We used teardrop lead sinkers tied at the end of the line with 3 hooks tied at about a foot interval between each. We'd drop the sinker to the bottom, and then raise the rod just enough to straighten up the line (and then proceeded to ballance the rod off one finger). When the bait was fresh, you have a fish on pretty much instantly., or at least you're getting bites. The fish are 90% small, though, but the odd 8-10 incher.
Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:10 PM
Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:39 PM
str00ver, i was about to switch to the white gut for bait, just to see, you know? since they were hitting white. well, anyway, i took out my deer gutting/skinning knife that's seen a lot of action in the last 2 years (i think people call me just to skin their deer, even though they are "just showing it off", lol, i just get the knife out and start to work when i see a hanging deer...lol! i can't help thinking how much work it can be later...!)
back to the smelts, i start to gut one...and my knife breaks!!! the handle died, broken into little pieces!! i was so disgusted i took a walk around the shacks for a bit, talked to the guys etc. then i did try it to gut a smelt - sort of worked but crude with just a blade to work with. ending up trying the white - it did okay, landed 2 on it before they stole it, but at the same time i also landed 2 on a marshemellow/power bait sandwich that's messy but works great.
i'm saving some smelt heads to use this summer for cut bait for stripers.
i can see squid working here, but it isn't very available in this area (i couldn't use it - alergies, same for prawns/shrimp/clam juice). i have 2 cans of mackeral i plan to try for smelt bait, but haven't gotten around to trying it yet. maybe this weekend....
i have been hearing a lot about them hitting deer steak (not just the clam juiced special baits). it seems like a waste of good deer meat to me, but to each his own.
i had a surf and turf special the other night - deer roast, baked salmon and fried smelts. it was a surprise but the smelts and deer tasted best, even though i did a good job on the salmon. it was a salmon tail i bought at sobeys, so maybe not the best piece of salmon...?!
Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:41 PM
Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:49 PM
Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:21 PM
Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:40 AM
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