Game of inches

Anyone that has been ice fishing knows that sometimes there is a hot hole or bait or technique at any given outing.  Its great when things are working well for you, but could turn into a long day if your traps get no attention.  It could be something so simple as how the bait is put on the hook or how long the leader is.  It could be that we just perceive that there is a difference.  One recent outing was an example of that.  Things were perfect for the other angler and not so for me.

Chi was doing well on this day in shallow water for some nice rainbows

When Chi and I set up in one of our favorite spots early on in the season our hopes were high.  We usually do very well here and there was no reason to think that that would not be the same on this day.  Chi uses jig rods on a modified tip up system that is very effective on most days and this was one of them.  My tip ups did not produce at all while his jig rods were catching fish on a consistent basis.  There were many thoughts as to why this was, but somedays it can be as simple as a shadow in the hole made from the traditional tip ups, which I was using.  We were only fishing in a couple feet of water so there was little room for error.  With Chi’s set ups there were no shadows and as the bait was right under the ice that may have been the difference.

These were all nice fish on this outing

The kicker that day was when I started to move my traps to different locations hoping that that would make a difference.  As I was moving one trap Chi came over and said that he was going to jig a fish out of the hole that I had just vacated.  I wasn’t more than 30 feet away when Chi started laughing and giggling incessantly.  I looked over still holding my trap as he pulled out a nice rainbow trout.  All I could do was smirk and say nice fish.  I did kick some snow into some of his holes he was jigging later, but that was just payback.


A few days later we were on an another pond, but the roles were reversed.  The colder temperatures made Chi’s jig rod set ups harder to use as the holes were freezing quickly and they were not as effective.  This day my traps were doing quite well and we could only hypothesize as to why.  It was an overcast day so we thought that that could have been the difference.  My arbors were below the water level and they were not freezing and still could function properly, while Chi’s line was getting frozen into the ice and not allowing his rigs to release properly.

Really take the time to look closely at the fish you catch. Don’t take them for granted

Really what it boiled down to is our perception.  I think we get into our own heads a little too much.  We make excuses as to why we didn’t catch as much as the other angler.  With my friends I really don’t care who is catching fish as long as there are fish being caught.  Luckily for us on both days at least one of us was catching fish.

Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than in the outdoors

Jon Peterson

About Jon Peterson

I grew up in the small town of Sebec, Maine, wandering in the woods exploring the natural world around me. I had always been fascinated by water and my explorations seemed to lead me to water as that was where I felt most comfortable. Through trial and error, I honed my fishing skills over the years and learned many valuable lessons along the way. In 2014 I realized my dream and became a Registered Maine Guide. For more information: