A new ice fishing rod was all the buzz last weekend at Nature Vision's preview of its new line of ice-fishing products.
Outdoor writers Joe Fellegy, Mark Strand, Bill Lindner and staff members from In-Fisherman, Minnesota Outdoor News and Outdoors Weekly were introduced to the "Buzz Stix." At the press of a button in the handle, the rod's battery-powered rod tip vibrates, imparting a fish-enticing jigging action to the lure.
Nature Vision's Jeff Zernov said the Buzz Stix grew from information gathered in the years since the Brainerd-based company introduced the Aqua-Vu underwater camera. By watching how fish reacted to different jigging actions, fishermen soon learned an invaluable piece of information -- over-jigging often frightens temperamental, finicky fish.
"The first time ice fishermen jigged in front of a camera, we learned very quickly that we all over-jig," Zernov said.
The key to success, he said, is to imitate the movement made by tiny zooplankton, a primary winter forage. With legs vibrating ceaselessly, they seem to get nowhere fast and swim through the water at a snail's pace. After years of practice, expert ice fishermen such as Dave Genz, who was on hand for the demonstration, have learned to mimic the action using their rod tips. The Buzz Stix was made for less-experienced anglers who can use a little help.
"Now, the Buzz Stix makes everyone an expert ice jigger because it replicates the ice-jigging action it took Genz decades to learn," Zernov said.
On Dec. 13 the rod proved its value on fishing trips to Little Rabbit, a Mississippi backwater and Perry Lake. The Buzz Stix, paired with 2-pound line and Lindy's No. 8 Techni-Glo Genz Worms and Genz Bugs dressed with spikes, caught crappies in the 12- to 13-inch range, plus some hefty bluegills on Little Rabbit. Perry Lake gave up lots of smaller crappies in the 8- to 10-inch range.
The Buzz Stix demonstration was helped by the "Ice Pro," a new Nature Vision camera system that has a 7-inch screen, the largest on the market. Though we fished in 14 to 17 feet, the Ice Pro's down-view camera allowed us to see fish by stationing the lens 3 to 4 feet above our jigs. Even in the somewhat murky water of Little Rabbit we could watch as fish approached our bait.
The Ice Pro allowed us to compare how fish reacted to our own jigging motion with how they reacted to the Buzz Stix. Several times the Buzz Stix provided the action that triggered the bite. The new Lindy Genz Bugs were a big hit with the writers and their inventor, Dave Genz. The down-view Ice Pro allowed us to practice something new to ice fishing -- selective harvest. If the fish we saw were too small to keep we yanked the bait away, frightening the small crappies and bluegills without losing a spike to a fish we didn't want.
Most of the writers used the 24-inch light-action Buzz Stix. It also comes in six other combinations of action and length, from 24 to 30 inches. Also for 2004 Lindy has two Buzz Bait kits, which include a variety of jigs and Techni-Glo Tails (micro ice plastics) specifically tuned for fishing with the Buzz Stix.
Nature Vision has introduced the Mo-Pod this season. For less than $100, the Mo-Pod sits on the ice and allows you to use a wireless remote control to rotate a horizontal camera 360 degrees. It's great for watching fish approach and for monitoring the activity around nearby holes.
For more information on these and other products, visit www.naturevisioninc.com or www.lindyfishingtackle.com.
Have a great season on the ice!
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