“They’re right where we left them,” I blurted while quickly dropping another small sucker to whoever was stealing them below. It was a private thought that worked its way out on last season’s first-ice-foray. I was pretty certain they were walleyes, as I’d fished them in the months leading up to ice. They remained right off of a point on the first shoreline break where we’d had two flags fly before drilling the rest of the holes. We jigged up a few perch and walleyes amongst those tip-ups right at dark, before gingerly creeping back to shore. We were on solid ice, a good 6 inches of it, but you never can be too careful. Even when well-prepared, I’m not the guy creeping on a few mere inches like I once was. Age, kids, and some dodgy experiences will do that to you.
TONY ROACH AND JOEL NELSON TALK ABOUT THE PAST 20 YEARS AND EVERYTHING THEY HAVE LEARNED A ANGLERS THROUGH THE LENS OF AN UNDERWATER CAMERA.
It could be the most common question found on internet forums, Facebook groups, and among the freshman class of ice’s newest anglers – “Sonar or camera?” Sounds like a simple question. Multiple choice even. The answer has always been straight-forward too, with most experienced anglers leaning towards a sonar first, then purchasing a camera to eventually fill in the knowledge gaps as needed depending upon their species of interest.
“Before underwater cameras, I used to think that certain weed-beds held bass, and others had the panfish I was after. Careful study and lots of on-ice viewing showed that most often, the best weeds and weedbeds held both, but few panfish roam edges or openings in the presence of predators. Two-feet can be too far if you’re trying to get a bull gill to come from cover and eat. Punch a hole right on top of them, where they don’t have to leave the safety of cover, and you can pluck them from where you never thought they existed.”