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Here’s a TIP to catch more fish

uper-sensitive, high-visibility rod-tips are an assistive technology for anglers to visually detect strikes. From top to bottom, the Micro-Bite tip, Jason Mitchell Meatstick tip, and standard light-action tip. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise - In the past, consideration for the material, color or flexibility of a rod tip, specifically in the ice fishing realm, wasn’t really a thought.

Some anglers still don’t think about it. Rod tip? We poke the nail-head of our wooden dowel-style pole into the ice and wait until the braided line tightens up as a crappie pulls the bobber under.

Traditional approaches like that still work and always will to some degree. Yet over the years, ice anglers have expanded their ice fishing approaches.

Beneath the ice, fish tend to prefer a smaller presentation compared to the warm-water months of the summer season. All of us have probably caught a bluegill, crappie or perch on a large lure while targeting bass, northern pike or walleye in the summer, but in the winter, fish behavior is much different.

Yet the lure you’re using isn’t the sole influence for winter-season fish. You still have to consider the motion you’re providing to move, jiggle and ultimately entice the fish to bite. Line weight and diameter also plays a role. Though that thick, black braided line on your Rattle-Reel, pick-style rod or tip-up catches a few crappies or sunfish, lighter line allows the hook to move with less inhibition. In other words, a slight jigging motion for the angler really makes the bait, jump, drop and tantalize. Since larger fish are off limits on our inland lakes, line weights of 4 lb. test and lighter offer the best movement for your bait. Personally, I use a lot of 2 and 3 lb. test line for bluegills, crappies and perch.

The design of the rod-tip you’re using also plays a major part in catching more fish. If the rod is too stout, you won’t be able to feel a bite and will miss numerous strikes. Achieving a solid hook-set is difficult if the rod is too limber.

The flex of a fishing rod varies with the weight, rigidity, material and eye placement on the rod “blank.” The blank is the “stick” part of a fishing rod; a long straight piece of graphite, fiberglass, or other material to create the actual “rod” portion of a fishing rod.

When fish are finicky and their bite is light, a super-sensitive rod-tip that can actually show when a fish bites is advantageous for the angler.

High visibility rod tips also help an angler’s visual bite detection. Ice Fishing rods like the Dave Genz True Blue Series with the Micro-Bite tip makes visually detecting a strike simple. The super-flexible fiberglass tip has a small composite bead at the end that can be charged with a headlamp or Glo-Buster to give it a luminescent property. The Micro-Bite simlifies angling in low-light conditions.

Yet there are certain baits that don’t cooperate well with the super-light rod-tips that work so well with small jigs.

Spoons, which are quite productive during the late-ice period, are simply too heavy for light rod-tips and continuously “bounce” instead of completely stopping, giving the bait a less enticing appeal.