W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Mike Peluso
Jigs and Minnows vs. Sticks and Pucks
By Mike Peluso
I started playing hockey at the age of three. It wasn't long after that my dad had a rod in my hand with a jig and minnow. Over the years I have gotten pretty good with both. You learn things fast at a young age, and I am very happy to have a dad that was willing to teach me both. We have all heard the saying "practice makes perfect." In my case, I couldn't agree more! Playing hockey takes a lot of hand and eye coordination. Same holds true while fishing with jigs. You need to have good feel in your hands and a watchful eye. Two things can make you a very successful fishermen and athlete - confidence and concentration. With these ingredients you can pretty much do whatever you want.
While jig fishing you need to be aware of where your jig is at all times. This is very similar to when you are stick handling a puck. Concentration alone will assist you in feeling more bites that would otherwise go unnoticed. When I fish with jigs, I like to visualize my bait under the water. I almost try to think a walleye into biting! It is amazing how many times I will get a bite while doing this. Same holds true while playing hockey. We are told to visualize passes and shots before stepping onto the ice. Jigging for walleyes is frustrating to a lot of anglers. It seems to me that most people don't take the time to learn exactly what is happening with the jig. When I have first-time jig fishermen in my boat, the first thing I do is pull up on shore. I make them sit on the edge of the boat, look over into the water, and practice jigging. It gives them an idea of what is happening under the water. The next thing I make them do is start at the front of the boat, and walk to the back of the boat adjusting the line to the depth change. This is a great way to watch the rod tip and the jig to see how it reacts when you no longer can feel the bottom. I have found that when I do this, people catch on a lot faster and realize that you really have to pay close attention to your line. This kind of concentration is a key factor to becoming a better jig fishermen.
Confidence is the single most important factor when it comes to anything we do. They say playing at the Professional hockey level is 90% mental and 10% physical. I would put those numbers into play when it comes to mastering the art of jig fishing. Once you have the basic idea of how to fish jigs, you have to convince yourself that you can make fish bite. Confidence is a very powerful tool while fishing. Some people have it while others do not, or they choose not to believe they have it. Remember, we have the choice to choose how we feel! That may sound kind of weird, but it is true. If I take to the ice or the water believing that I am going to score or catch a walleye, I up my chances tremendously. That's why confidence plays a key part in catching fish on jigs. Once you start it becomes second nature.
Good rods are also very important in catching more fish. When I play hockey I look for a hockey stick that feels good. I like it to be light and sensitive. Same is true about a good jigging rod! I can't say I play with anybody that isn't really picky about the sticks they use. Anglers should be the exact same way when it comes to picking rods. Remember that a rod or a stick is the link to catching fish and scoring goals. Without them, we couldn't do either. And if we didn't use good ones, we wouldn't do as well. Sounds simple, but it isn't always. I know some of you reading this are probably saying I have caught more fish with my old green hornet than any other person alive. I hope you are saying this because you already have that important ingredient - confidence. Personally though, I feel more comfortable with a high quality rod in hand. The rods I use are hand made by Jeff Fore at Jeff's Custom Rods. He makes them to fit my fishing needs, much like my hockey stick manufacturer. This helps me become more confident, and that alone boats me more walleyes!
I hope I have shed a little light on what makes people better jig
I know if you try some of these ideas, you will start to feel more
comfortable with a jig 'n minnow at the end of your line! Good luck,
don't forget to lace up the skates.
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Since August 1, 1998