After posting a few videos, I have gotten a few questions about the Dodger and Jig set up I use ice fishing. I believe it is one of the most effective set ups I use ice fishing.
Prior to using the set up, my go to ice fishing lure was a spoon. Especially on Big Lake, what I have noticed is that most fish, other than burbot, rarely strike at the lure body. They always seem to strike at the lower part of the lure...or the hook it seemed. Could that be possible? That they are striking at the hook and not the lure?
It would explain why I seem to catch 8 inch salmon and 12 inch rainbows on a spoon that is 5 inches in total length including the hook. There is no way these fish could have consumed prey of similar size in real life. So why did I hook both of them in the mouth?
I've seen my aquarium fish do it, I've seen my kid's guinea pigs do it, I have seen dogs do it. I've seen my kids do it! lol. Do what? They don't seem to really care about a piece of food or a toy until one picks the food or toy up. Then all of the sudden, the other one is interested in it and if possible, will chase around the other trying to take it...sometimes even when there are other tid bits of food or toys readily available. The things that make you (or at least me) go "hmmmmm......"
As I watch my videos and the fish through the ice when I am using large spoons, they don't really smash at it, and they always seem to strike at the bottom where the hook is. Yes, I have had fish come in and simply inhale the entire lure. But that is very rare...especially when using larger spoons.
In addition to this behavior, often times, while using a larger spoon, I will have smaller fish in the 12 to 16 inch range come into the spoon and not strike it. I often have a second rod set up with a much smaller lure. Often times my observation was that as soon as I dropped the smaller lure down, the fish would strike it. So while I knew the smaller lure was better at getting strikes, I just wasn't confident that such a small lure would have the attracting power to call in fish from a distance.
So to solve the issue, the dodger and rig combination was born! After using it quite successfully, I noticed that very rarely, if ever, did the dodger attract strikes from the fish. Sure, a few larger dollies would come in and tap at it, but never smash the dodger like a lure despite the fact that dodger is not really any larger than the spoons I use in Big Lake (they do tend to be wider).
My theory on why this set is so effective is that not only does the larger dodger do a better job of calling in fish from a longer distance, but once there, I can offer up a smaller lure that the fish better hit immediately because if it doesn't the "other fish" (aka the dodger/flasher) will get it first. I believe it is this competitive nature of most predators that really is the key to this setup.
The only major downside I have with this set up is you really need to be watching the lure whether it be staring down the hole or watching a camera. The slack line during the jigging process makes it much more difficult to detect strike if you are not watching. But my experience has been most of the fish will hold on to the lure long enough that as long as the next upstroke is quick enough, fish get hooked.
It doesn't seem to mater much what you place below the dodger. But my favorites are a leech pattern type jig or even a weighted egg sucking leech. Next would be swim baits or small rubber minnows and tube jigs.