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-Tip-up
-Large dead bait like a 10-12" Cisco (Tullibee)
-outside or just inside prime spawning bays, in March
-don't dick around with bush-league artificials like '5 of diamonds' ...I don't care what your Uncle Bill got his "MA" on ....... :p :rolleyes:

FishSnob says: dead bait on a tip-up is the only way if you want truly big Pike!
 

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Don't buy into the lipless baits for big pike Mike??? See lots of articles in IF, but never really had the inclination to try it out...
 

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If you feel the need to Gator hunt with a rod/reel combo put a decent baitcast reel on a 36-42" heavy baitcast rod and rig up a large dead bait setup down the hole. Put it in freespool(clicker on) in a good locking rodholder and your set!!
 

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When we get big groups together fishing Tip ups I always opt to use one line with rod and reel and rip a rap all day in the middle of all our dead baits. Definitely doesn't deter fish from hitting tip ups and on slower days usually the lines closest to the rap are popping more than the farther sets and the fish from my profile pic was caught on a HT Rigger with dead bait being fished 4 feet from my Rappala.
 

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I will say though I would never take all the rattle baits in the world over a big dead bait for actually producing fish they just seem to attract attention to the area and within a minute of marking a sniffer on the rap a flag usually pops..... usually
 

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-Tip-up
-Large dead bait like a 10-12" Cisco (Tullibee)
-outside or just inside prime spawning bays, in March
-don't dick around with bush-league artificials like '5 of diamonds' ...I don't care what your Uncle Bill got his "MA" on ....... :p :rolleyes:

FishSnob says: dead bait on a tip-up is the only way if you want truly big Pike!
How far from back do you generally place the back hook, mike? Also, do you place that hook on the top of the bait, or on the side?
 

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I put one a the dorsal and one at the top of the head. Bait needs to suspend naturally with the head slightly down...that's my preference anyway
Ok that's basically how I've found works best. I've tried hooking the back hook further to the back but as you say, it's to hard to get the bait looking natural without a lot of fooling around trying to balance it just right. Tx mike.
 

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what about bait size, say as the season progresses? do you start smaller and go bigger or find its a day to day thing. i have smelt, herring and tullibee in the freezer, which do you guys prefer?
 

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Use a different type of dead bait on each line in your group sometimes my biggest fish of the day comes on a circle hook with a regular emerald shiner and sometimes they will only eat a bait over a foot long. I have caught big fish on small bait and tiny fish on ridiculously large baits it depends on the fishes activity level in times when there is a lot of fishing pressure I go big though
 

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First and last ice are normally the best bet for getting a Big Gator in the spots that will hold the big fish. However if the location produces big fish they can/will be caught throughout the season.
 

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When using a tip up and a large dead bait how deep do you guys set the bait, I have read a few article that say to have the bait at eye level or above, because the pike will look for the silhouette on bottom of the ice, I have been placing my baits just off bottom, foot or so. Should I raise the bait to half way in the water column?
 

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I run one low (2-3ft off bottom) and one high (3-4 ft below ice) - look at my post from Saturday titled "tulibee time" - the last pic shows a big pike 4-5 ft below the ice, looking for food...
Fish the deep side of drop offs mid-late winter, and staging areas near bays or creek mouths in late winter/early spring
 

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I've been having really good luck with the rapalas for the smaller pike, when I don't see any fish on screen I put one down and rip it a few times and there will be a flash and fish on. The big ones come in but have never had one hit, but I'll have a deadstick nearby and they will swim over and grab it. Find it works best to have the deadstick at least 10ft away otherwise they get distracted by the jigging so I have the deadstick outside while I jig n watch camera from inside.
 

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My favorite Big Fish Rig!

This is my go to rig for large walleye, pike or lake trout!

A 36" Mitchell Brush`n Rod and a Quantum Tour Edition PT reel spooled with 30 lb Spider Wire! IMG_0282.jpg

IMG_0281.jpg

IMG_0279.jpg
 

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Maybe a dumb question but...what are some of the setups you folks use with the large deadbaits? Specifically how do you get deadbaits down in say 20+ feet of water? Do you use a weight and if so how rigged? Thanks in advance to anybody willing to share some methods.
 

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Maybe a dumb question but...what are some of the setups you folks use with the large deadbaits? Specifically how do you get deadbaits down in say 20+ feet of water? Do you use a weight and if so how rigged? Thanks in advance to anybody willing to share some methods.

I stab the air bladder, then insert a bit of weight just under the skin and towards the front. This keeps my bait right-side-up tilting slightly forward. Sometimes i remove the guts completely by opening as small an opening as possible towards the back of the belly. I then jam the belly full of soaked newspaper to give the bait a more fuller, lazy look.
 

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Most of my deadbaits are just willow sticks with tip up line, if the air bladder is poked to drain the air it will sink, most of mine are just circle hooks and it sinks fine. less weight the better.
 
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