Ice-fishing Friday: If you only own a single ice-fishing lure, make it this one

Use the best lures

Why horizontal jigging minnows are the all-time great hardwater bait

I love interacting with other anglers at fishing seminars, especially during the question-and-answer sessions, when I can just about guarantee that someone will ask, If you could only ice fish with one lure for the rest of your life, what would it be? The answer is easy: A horizontal swimming-style lure such as the Rapala Jigging Rap or Acme Tackle Company’s Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle. They’re as close to ice-fishing perfection as the tackle industry has come.

In their smallest sizes, these lures are ideal for nabbing black crappies, bluegills, ciscoes and perch. The biggest versions, on the other hand, weigh almost a full ounce, making them perfect for catching lakers and pike and the biggest walleye and whitefish in the lake. There are also mid-size models, and they’re all exquisitely painted to resemble baitfish.


Horizontal minnows such as the Jigging Rap (top) and Hyper-Glide (lower) and the are tops

I’m particularly impressed with the side wings on the Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle that transform the lures into finesse-style airplane jigs, letting you perform Cirque du Soleil-style stunts under the ice. It’s this very magic you can achieve with these lures that makes them such fatal attractions.

Simply lift one up smartly with your rod tip, then let it fall and swim out to the side, in wide, erratic arcs. It’s precisely because you can’t fully control the lure’s darting and gliding movements that makes it appear so lifelike. And because the Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle are streamlined and heavy for their size, they quickly come to a semi-rest position, and that’s what attracts and catches so many fish. Add my Fastach secret (see “Swing your hooks”) and you’ll make these best ice-fishing lures of all time even more productive.


Fishing editor Gord Pyzer hones his ice-fishing skills near Kenora, in northwestern Ontario.

Every Friday this winter we’ll be sharing Outdoor Canada’s coolest ice fishing tips for 2018. Check back regularly to learn about the latest tackle, tips and techniques for icing more walleye, perch, northern pike, lake trout, crappies and whitefish.