IT’S IN THE HOLE! Getting fish into a deep late-ice cylinder can be a challenge, especially when they’re big! We’ve got the tips to help you finish off the fight and keep those fish from bonking their way to freedom in today’s Three Things.
(Featured Photo: A crappie comes up through a 32-inch deep ice hole. Simonson Photo)
DAILY CONDITIONS: WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sun 3/18 – Wintry Mess after 5pm. Hi 35, Lo 25, Winds E@8.
Tomorrow: Mon 3/19 – Snow tapers at 3” – Hi 29, Lo 24, Winds N@8.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 7:50AM Sunset: 7:53PM
Moonrise: 8:43AM Moonset 9:17PM
Overhead: 2:55PM Underfoot: 2:31AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent (2% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 2:30 – 3:30PM. Catch a hot bite just before the front with moon overhead in today’s Edge Hour.
VEX OUT. Make sure to remove a sonar device immediately after a positive hookset. Not only will this help you better play the fish by keeping that out of the way of the line when the fish runs, but it will also take care of the other major obstruction (the other being the bottom edges of the hole) when it’s time to land a fish through deep ice.
TOE THE LINE. Make sure to keep a sharp eye on the line as a fish nears the hole. Keep it away from the bottom edge if possible and use it to steer the fish into the center of the cylinder. Don’t touch or pull on the line with your hands; instead use the leverage of the rod to guide the fish in, allowing the drag to do its work in case of a last-second run.
GRAB OR GAFF. Take a stab at hand-landing fish you want to release or use a gaff (if you’re keeping them) before they break the surface of the hole, when tension on the line changes and some fish can pop loose. Manage the line accordingly and keep an eye on the distance between the surface and where the fish is and reach down into the hole to make the grab.