Little Fish Picture
Fisherman - Me! - Rocky Thomas
The Story -
In case you haven't noticed a trend emerging in tackle used, over the last few fish stories herein, I fish a lot of light tackle primarily targeting panfish, because I have found over the last few years -
Thus in fishing for little fish, one is often rewarded with a big fish of some nature, and quite the fight in considering that little tackle and baits, usually dictate lighter rods. In fishing my little tiny jigs under slip bobbers, using a variety of baits ranging from plastics, to bugs, grubs, leeches, worms, and minnows, I have boated, on my ultra-lights, Northern Pike up to 5 pounds, Walleye up to 3 1/2 - 4 pounds, Smallmouth up to 2 - 21/2 pounds, Rainbows up to 4 pounds, Bluegill and Crappie over a pound too numerous to count, (along with one crappie crowding the 2 lb. mark hard that now adorns my wall), thousands of perch, a few carp up in the 5 - 6 range, 2 1/2 - 3 pound suckers....... the list goes on, but I'm sure you get my drift. They're not just little fish baits, folks.
The bottom line is, if you are truly in love with the sport, as am I. There is a certain magic about watching the bite on a bobber, unsurpassed by any other means of fishing. It simply brings back memories of days past, when we had fewer worries in life. I think that for the most part, we all likely began fishing with a plain old hook and bobber, on the line attached to a cane pole or if we were lucky a fiberglass rod and Zebco 202 reel.
I'd venture to say that subconsciously, that's probably the biggest allure about ice fishing, although most folks don't realize it; sitting there in anticipation of that bobber moving when you get a bite. I mean really folks, anyone who tells you that they just absolutely love sitting out there in sub-zero weather, staring at a hole in the water, is nuts. It's the suspense of waiting on that bobber to move that attracts ice fishermen most, yet come summer the vast majority of them put their bobbers away, and pursue other tactics to catch fish.
As for catching little fish like the one pictured here, ask yourself if you'd rather catch 50 - 75 fish in an hour, with a chance at a few nice ones, or 2 or 3 nice ones with no other chance for a bite otherwise. Given the options, and the experience, most folks would prefer catching a lot of little fish simply because it's a kick in the shorts, and if not, they're probably fishing for all the wrong reasons.
I do, no doubt, go out in pursuit of fish for the freezer on a regular basis, using other tactics when mandated, but I personally enjoy catching 4 or 5 fish a minute, regardless of their size, immensely. Thus the ultra-light is generally in the pickup or boat when I go, whatever the cause.
It's a fantastic experience for the kids as well, and they appreciate the opportunity to catch 40 or 50 fish in an evening's trip. Not to mention you have the opportunity to start explaining stewardship of the resources in that they're too small to keep and "we should let them go, so they can grow up for us to catch next time out." There's little doubt in my mind, that many of the nicer pan fish I do catch in spots I frequent often, have been on my hook before, and I enjoyed them every time.
Now, there are those in the world that would say that there's no challenge to it, so contemplate this little matter of fact, folks! Big fish have BIG mouths, thus a big target to hit with your bait. Little fish have little mouths, thus a very small target to hit with your bait, As we all know the bigger the target the easier it is to hit, the smaller the target the more difficult it is to hit! So therefore little fish are harder to catch!!! (Really and truly there is an art to it.)