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Figuring out the Bite

Weather: Windy

Ice thickness: 8 inches

Travel: Difficult

Target species: Bluegill

It felt great to be back on the ice again. My first time out this year and I got spoiled with some very nice gills. The ice on the lake I was fishing was clear 7-8 inches with drifts a foot deep holding water beneath the snow.

It made it for slow travel by 4 wheeler. I passed everyone fishing the same area that always produces action. But I had my mind set on where I caught some nice gills before freeze up. Away from the group I began drilling holes.

I started to catch perch and few crappies, but there were marks on my Vexilar that kept reacting differently to my presentation. I wanted to know what it was down there and why they wouldn't bite.

It turned into a game of chasing my bait back and forth for about 2 hours. Trying different jigs, colors and plastics, I finally caught that mark. It was a beautiful 9.5 gill. Were all these marks acting like this gills?

Repeating what I just did, I jigged hard 3 ft off of the bottom. Once a mark appeared I set my rod down and flicked the fishing line. The mark slowly raised until the spring bobber bent. After this I caught 6 gills, 10 inches or bigger.

I had figured out what it was that triggered them to bite. It's a rewarding feeling to be able to figure out a bite on your own and put the pieces to the puzzle together. The only thing better is releasing gills 10+ inches back down the hole.

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