- Go Small for Big Fish, Start with 1/100 oz Ratso Jigs
- Dress Warm, Get Into a Hut to Beat the Weather
- Talk to Others, Get Scoop Before Fishing When You Can
By Forrest Fisher
The super soft and ultra-slim finesse plastic body of a tiny Rasto jig, threaded on a precision lightweight jig head is an ice angler’s secret trick extraordinaire. The tail appears to be alive with jiggles to resemble a tiny minnow, and it can be a killer with or without tipped live bait. It all depends on the day, the mood of the fish, the barometer and many of us know how that goes.
With or without an underwater camera, the Ratso with a white tail is bright and easy to see with the fish house windows shaded out. The head is there, then it’s not!
No head? Set the hook, fish on!
That’s how it was for Stacy Ferrell Hedberg with her Size 10 Ratso and her master-angler husband, Jeff, who were ice fishing on a Minnesota-NW lake (near Minneapolis) with many friends and fishing neighbors. The last cold snap helped bolster the ice thickness and it became strong enough to pull the family fishing hut out to do some warm and comfort work.
The family caught several nice crappie to 16 inches, but friends have taken fish (crappie) in multiple Minnesota-NW lakes and ponds to 18 inches. The Hedberg’s often fish as a family unit every year. Stacy adds, “We've been hooked on fishing for big winter crappie for quite a while and we’ve been lucky too, pulling quite a few 16 inchers and a handful of 17 inchers each year.”
Stacy continued, “So every year, we are chomping at the bit for the ice to freeze so we can get out there. We had been out a few times in our portable and caught a handful of nice crappies, sunfish and pike, but not the elusive giants we are after.”
Jeff added, “The ice was finally thick enough at 13 inches to put out our more comfortable ice-house Friday, as we are in for the winter now. The temperature was -10 F with a wind chill around -20 F.”
Stacy added, “About 5 minutes into wetting my line, I hooked a nice thick 14" slab jigging a white Ratso tipped with a small crappie minnow. It was not a torrid pace that night and we did not catch any real giants. We tried, stayed out until midnight, but the hunt for the elusive giant crappie continues!”