Go for the Glow!!
For years, most ice anglers have been aware that the best bite was the first hour at sunrise and the last half hour near sunset. During daylight hours, panfish can be caught on “traditional” non-glow-in-the-dark baits, but your first and last baits tied on should be GLOW. With glow baits, the fish can see the bait better under low light conditions and from a longer distance thereby improving your odds. Today there are a plethora of glow baits in both spoons and ice jigs. While glow baits are very important early in the day and late in the evening, it may be a good idea to try glow baits during the day when there are low light conditions, murky water clarity or in deep water situations. I consider deep water anything over 20 feet. With that being said, every one of my perch rods has some sort of glow lure on them day or night!
The newest ice fishing trend has been higher intensity glow ice spoons. These spoons contain a glow stick instead of a phosphorescent paint that is on most glow lures. One such product is the new for 2019, Lindy Glow Spoon. The beauty of this style bait is that you don’t need to “recharge” the glowing property of the spoon because the stick continuously glows. One thing I have noticed is that the glow sticks do seem to get dimmer the longer they remain in cold water. One tip is to warm the lure up with your hand or by blowing on them every fifteen to twenty minutes to increase the brightness. The glow spoons have exchangeable glow sticks that can be replaced easily. The sticks have an estimated life of about six to eight hours.
For the phosphorescent painted lures, you need to recharge the glow occasionally as they will also go dim. One product to look at for this is the new Vexilar Glow Ring that has an LED light which can charge your lure within seconds. The glow ring installs right on your existing Vexilar unit. Lindy also has the Lindy-Tazer, a hand-held device, which illuminates your jig within seconds. The last and lowest cost option is just using your cell phone’s flashlight app or your lantern.
For glow ice jigs there are a myriad of sizes and colors/patterns to choose from. All work in certain situations and times. There is also the discussion of lead or tin verses tungsten jigs. For the subtler biting fish, I prefer a lead/tin jig because it has a natural fall to incite the bite. But the real trend is towards tungsten, which (due to its heavy weight to size ratio) allows you to get your jigs back down to the fish quicker and often eliminates the need for split shot on your line!
Another newer feature on glow baits is the ability to have lures with multiple colors that glow. This will increase visibility and give the fish choices as not all colors are optimal in all situations. Having two colors can often double your chance for success!
In addition to using glow baits under low light conditions, always remember that your line often plays a huge role. For most of the ice season, during the daylight hours I use two-pound fluorocarbon line. In lower light conditions I prefer four-pound line as it is easier to work with. The larger diameter helps with angler visibility, reduces tangles and in most cases doesn’t inhibit the bite under low light conditions.
Going with the glow will help add more fish to your catch both early and late, so give them a try and don’t be afraid to start a bit earlier or stay a bit later with your new found secret weapon!!