Tricks of the Tip for Hard-Water Success
The business end of a rod is its tip. Certainly, the entire blank plays a role in performance, but the tip’s action and response is vital for effective jigging, sensitivity and strike detection. A blank’s top section also influences hook-set quality, plus the rod’s effectiveness at keeping a fish on the line. Here’s a closer look at why hard-water success hinges on a well-crafted, high-performance rod tip.
Rod materials and craftsmanship
You get what you pay for when buying an ice rod. There are noticeable differences in tip performance when comparing a $75 versus a $30 model.
Higher priced rods are made with quality graphite, top-end components and innovative construction methods. This delivers a more responsive tip and better vibration transfer (i.e., sensitivity) across the entire blank. An angler’s hand movements are also efficiently conveyed from the grip, across the blank and to the tip for precise and efficient jigging. When a fish bites, tip sensitivity and dense graphite immediately signal the strike.
Balance impacts performance
A quality tool is worth little if used improperly; one doesn’t build a birdhouse with a sledgehammer. When ice fishing, it’s critical to use a bait within a rod’s lure-weight capability. This ensures proper balance and the best tip performance for executing delicate jigging sequences - like hops, shakes, and quivers - for triggering strikes.
Ultra-sensitive tips for panfish
The 13 Fishing Tickle Sticks feature an innovative Flat Tip Blank Construction. This results in an ultra-sensitive tip section perfect for delivering delicate presentations. Consider this scenario:
It’s midwinter. An angler nods the tip of an ultra-light Tickle Stick to dance a tiny, 1/32-ounce Tungsten Mustache Jig on 2-pound Advance Ice Monofilament. Below a crappie rises to the jig, opens its mouth and overtakes the bait. Above, the angler feels nothing, but sees the high-vis rod tip change from a bent to a straight position, revealing the “up-bite”. Moments later another crappie is on the ice.
Descending panfish bites are also no match for a Tickle Stick. Its ultra-light tip easily bends under the lightest downward pressure. In addition to providing a visual signal, the tip’s sponginess encourages a fish to get a mouthful for a better hook-set.
Light and medium-light rods for mid-sized fish
Many whitefish, walleye and trout have filled their bellies sucking minnows from hooks, while anglers using inferior, stiff-tipped ice rods were none the wiser. Catching these light-biters is often done using 1/16- to 1/4-ounces baits on light or medium-light rods. For best results, we recommend the Tickle Stick, Omen or The Snitch rods, along with Rapala’s medium-light Flatstick, featuring flat tip construction. All of these rods deliver excellent tip sensitivity and performance.
Power tactics for predators
A rod’s tip capabilities are equally significant when using heavier gear. When power-jigging for big walleye, pike and lake trout, many discerning anglers use 13 Fishing’s Omen or Widow Maker medium to heavy power rods. Made with 36 Ton solid body Toray graphite blanks, these rods provide all-day jigging comfort and solid hook-sets.
Omen and Widow Maker rods have crisp, responsive tips. This allows an angler to effortlessly execute snaps, pops, nods and other short jigging strokes that are especially effective at triggering strikes when using Jigging Raps, Rippin’ Raps, Cast Champs and other lures weighing 3/8-ounces or more.
Soaking a minnow on a set-line is a reliable winter tactic. Anglers will catch more fish with this method using a technique-specific model, like 13 Fishing’s Widow Maker Deadstick Ice Rod. These medium-light and medium rods easily bend along the upper half of the blank. This provides a visual signal of a bite, while simultaneously encouraging a fish to fully take the minnow.
Widow Maker tips are so sensitive, in fact, they transmit the minnow’s behaviour. The sudden bouncing of the rod tip is a signal a predator is near and likely to attack.
Things change along the rod’s bottom section. The lower end’s design provides the power needed for setting the hook and moving a fish topside.
The facts are in, folks, a quality rod with a sensitive, responsive rod tip is critical for properly jigging a bait, detecting a bite and executing a good hook set - all of which will help you catch more fish on the ice.