Here are some of the highlights from the Tip-Down seminar I gave at The Squirmin' Worm Farm Thursday January 6th 2011.
Types of Tip-Downs; TipDown.com, Sure Strike TipDowns, HT Enterprises, Homemade
Set Up; 4# Hi-Vis Mono, #16-18 treble hook, small split shot, your choice of small minnow (Fathead, Rosy Red, etc.)
Why- Tip down provide must less resistance than conventional tip ups. When line is released from a tip-up more drag is created through the water, the fish feel resistance thereby causing the fish to spit the hook. The tip-downs once they have reached the balance point the tip drops to the ice, giving the fish slack and allowing the angler to retrieve the rod and set the hook. The tip-downs unlike tip-ups will have a tendency to reset themselves meaning when a fish takes the minnow while using a tip down and only pulls it inches away the tip of the rod will bounce back up resetting itself to it original position. While using a tip-up if the bait is pulled further than 1/2" the flag will pop up, and the line will free-spool until the bait rests on the bottom of the lake. You must then reset the tip up each time.
Notes- Stay close to your tip-downs, you will want to set the hook before the fish is able to use all the slack provided when the tip of the rod drops. Wear clothes that you are able to move around in, fishing with tip-downs can mean a lot of running around setting hooks, HT Enterprises and Ice Armor make excellent clothing specifically designed for ice fishing that will keep you warm and water proof and still be nimble. Tip-downs are great for kids, most have a rod and reel which makes it easy for a child to reel in, hand lining fish is a skill not easily pickup when very young. Tip-downs are also great for beginners, again the rod and reel is something that most anglers, including novice are used to. Checking for fish and depth of bait with electronics is easier, being that only the line is running into the hole, instead of a spool or an entire cover around the hole it is quite simple to drop the transducer of the flasher in the hole to check for fish or to see what depth you bait is positioned. Jig in amongst your spread of tip-downs, most fish you fish for with tip-downs are schooling fish, some will be willing to bite at minnows, other will most likely want some other presentation, once attracted to the area you will stand a good chance of catching them on a jigging rod as well. Be willing to move your spreads, because many times you are fishing schooling fish you will want to move the spread of tip-downs to follow the fish, it may not be large moves but it may be a good idea to have holes in any direction should you need to do this quickly
Q&A- Q: Do you always use hi-vis line? A: Yes, I try it first, if I need to I will tie on clear leader material.
Q: Do you only use the small minnows? A: The only reason I use small minnows and fish the tip-downs primarily for panfish is because larger minnows will pull the tip-downs down if they get squirrely.
Q: Can I use the tip-downs for pike? Walleye? A: Yes, but again, using larger minnows they may have a tendency to pull the tip down, down giving you a false hit.