Orange Sherbet for Ice Fishing
By Walt & Poppee Matan
Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors but Custom Jigs & Spins only has twenty. While we prefer orange sherbet in a waffle cone, big crappie prefer orange sherbet on a Shrimpo!
Just what the heck are we talking about? Ice jigs of course. New colors of ice jigs!
Orange sherbet, crawdaddy, motor oil, cotton candy/glow, catalpa worm, pearltreuse, lemon lime and candy corn are eight new colors that we added to Custom Jigs & Spins Finesse Plastic, Ratsos and Shrimpos.
Each Ratso and Shrimpo comes in three hook and weight sizes; 10, 8 and 6 with either painted, gold or nickel plated heads; which all adds up to 120 size, style and color combinationsxso move over Baskin Robbins!
What does this all mean to the everyday ice angler? Most importantly it allows you to key in on exactly the color and presentation the fish are after.
Our favorite technique is to start with a small jig and work bigger. If we are fishing clear weedy water, we might begin with a size 10 black Ratso. Then we’ll experiment with other colors like motor oil, smoke glitter and then maybe end up with catalpa worm (a unique green and brown combo). If the fish get more aggressive we’ll switch to a larger size lure in the same color. When the fishing slowsxwe’ll drop down to the smaller size lure in the same color or start switching colors again.
If you haven’t used Finesse Plastic, Ratsos or Shrimpos, let us explain. First came Finesse Plastic. It was designed to replace live bait. You can put it on your favorite jig. Finesse Plastic has a segmented ball shaped body and a thin wisp of a tail. You can cut the body into a smaller length in between one of the segments or just use the tail of the plastic on your favorite jig. Believe me, a thin tail added to a tiny Demon size 12 is an unbeatable combo when the fishing is tough. We’ve even used these tails dropshotted, eight inches up the line on a small size 20 hook with a heavier jig below. This can be a very, very deadly combo.
Then came the Ratso. The Ratso is a small ball headed jig with a Finesse Plastic tail. It rides horizontally and wiggles enticingly. The heavy ball head takes it down to the right depth quickly and allows you to use a rapid fire jigging motion to entice the big bluegill and crappie. It is also an excellent dropper bait with the Finesse Plastic on a small hook riding above it.
We always felt that a Ratso imitated a small minnow. As you jig it, it darts and hops erratically like an injured baitfish. We also knew that often time’s fish preferred a vertical presentation or something that resembled the freshwater shrimp that panfish prey heavily upon in the winter. Custom Jigs & Spins Demons, 2-Spots and Rockers offer a vertical presentation that big panfish always liked, so why not make a vertical riding Ratso?
and so we did.
The original model Shrimpo (as it became known) was a fly hook with a small split shot pinched up at the nose. When we slid the Finesse Plastic up the shank, we found the best action was when the tail rode out horizontally. We also found it to imitate the freshwater shrimp perfectly (although in a much larger size than the real thing, which is microscopic). We also found that big crappie really liked the action!
The Ratso comes is five different Glow Brite colors which are perfect for the crappie night bite. If you want the Glow Brite lures to really light up us the Nuclear Flash Micro Charger. We like to set up our Frabill Ranger tent at the weed edge just before dark and drill our holes. After the sun sets we’ll hop around in three or four holes and maybe sneak a dozen crappie out before it gets too late.
This season pick up a good supply of Custom Jigs & Spins Finesse Plastic, Ratsos and Shrimpos and try some of the techniques we’ve highlighted. These lures are so effective that you don’t need live bait!
Walt & Poppee Matan are chief lure designers for Custom Jigs & Spins. For more information on ice fishing and to see Custom Jigs & Spins full line-up of tackle log on to customjigs.com or call 1-800-831-5535 for a FREE "Tips & Tricks" catalog.