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Have not had fresh smelt in about 30 years. Few of us are headed to Gull Lake Sunday to try and pick up a few.............problem is the only thing any of us has used to catch smelt is a dipnet.

Can somebody just give a heads up on equipment. Seems I read somewhere about 6 hook rigs with spikes, then there's green lights, hilo's and such:confused:

If I could get just a bit of help on what we may need..........I can also assure you none of us is very good and we won't do much damage to the smelt popoulation even with a little help.:)
 

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I`ve not been to Gull but I would imagine it`s the same rigs as Higgins. I use a Hali on the bottom and 2 other jigs (Ficious glow bug eye and glow purple) about 1 1/2ft. apart above it on 1lb. line and spikes. Now from what I`m hearing the night bite is O.K. thats what the lite is for. In March they move into the shallows and bite all through the day.
 

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I went out for the first time last Saturday and caught 70 and lost a bunch at the hole. Most people used a lantern by the hole. I used and underwater submersible green light. I tried lots of different jig combos including Hali's and a teardrop higher up. I even tried two tear drops with a bell sinker on the bottom. The best method I came up with was using a small jig pole with 1lb line and the smallest tear drop I could find tipped with a single spike. I caught a few using my flashers but sight fishing the top 3-4 feet under the ice worked for me. Drill a big enough hole to see through. Good luck.
 

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A Sabiki Rig is what your referring to. It has 6-8 hooks. Tip with spike or waxie. They can be a mess being they're 4-6ft long. I use this rig and do well.

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One other thing, get there early because parking is limited on the South end. I showed up at 4:00 and was lucky to find a spot. Most people just stood around and socialized for a few hours and did not bother fishing until dark. I caught a few at 60 feet using my flasher. But right after dark they came all the way up to my light a few feet deep. They also fish on the North end but I don't know if the ice is good up there yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there a place you recommend to pick up rigs, lights, spikes etc.
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A Sabiki Rig is what your referring to. It has 6-8 hooks. Tip with spike or waxie. They can be a mess being they're 4-6ft long. I use this rig and do well.

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I second the sabiki rig. They can be a mess at times but work well on smelt. Pretty much use some tiny jigs/Hooks and tip them with spikes or something smaller if possible. Last season we used Sabikis with not bait, worked alright. You can also use ice flies which work pretty well also. Just remember to run small hooks, you are pretty much trying to catch minnows. Lol

We use laterns and underwater lights. The more light you put down your holes the better. It attracks plankton which attracks smelt. We catch them anywhere from the very bottom of the ice to 20'. I have never fished Gull but can't imagine smelt fishing being that different from how we do it on Higgins. Good luck let us know how you do.
 

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Since you are coming from Hartford, stop by D and R Sports on M43 in Kalamazoo. It is a few miles west of US131 on the North side of the road. M43 East will also take you through Richland where Gull Lake is.
 

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Check your PM's! ;)
 

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Mark...

Here ya go... this is the setup I explained in another thread...

Get the smallest size Hali jig... tie that on the end of some 1 or 2 pound test (I myself... use monofilament sewing thread which is about 5/8 - 3/4 lb. test) Tip that with a spike. Then about every 10 to 12 inches above the Hali jig... tie in a #10-12 size gold hook. Use a dropper loop knot to tie in the gold hooks. Take end of the loop and thread it through the eye of the hook.. then over the end of the hook to secure the hook on the line. Tip those with spikes. I tie in about 4 additional gold hooks above the Hali jig.

You are good to go!!
By the way... small hooked sized Sabiki rigs will work too. Get size 10 or smaller. Although... on a lot of those sabiki rigs the pound test of the rigs is way too heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Don...when you say Hali Jig, you mean something like this.:confused:

 

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Those are them!! You want the smallest size as this is plenty big enough to get your rig down to depth. Swedish pimples will work too... as will any jig of this style of similar size.

I will be in touch with you about Sunday.
 

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if you never have fished a sabiki DONT, they are a nightmare to unhook out of your shanty, pant leg and jacket....
 

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if you never have fished a sabiki DONT, they are a nightmare to unhook out of your shanty, pant leg and jacket....
Fun fun. I always liked when the top hook got stuck on the bottom of the hole you lose the fish. I guess if your using an ankle buster auger you could do a sabiki, big 'ol Hali on a loose rod is what I use along with most everyone else.


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We use the smallest Hali that they make, preferrable in glow, with one to two tear drop, glow as well, tied above the Hali's 8-10". I like to use a very light rod, ice blue makes a 12" ultra light rod that works perfect IMO. Both green and white/clear drop lights work well, the more the light the better. The lake where we fish, we get them from the top couple feet of water all the way down to the bottom, 45' down. Electronics due help when they aren't right next to your drop light/underneath the ice. Good Luck
 

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For the "weighted" part of the rig... I do use the smallest size Hali jig. It is the "Sukkula" style and is the 25mm size. Here is a link to the Nils Master webpage of the Sukkula style Hali jig...

Sukkula Style Hali Jig

I would image a glow jig could help out when night fishing... but maybe not as necessary when fishing for them during the day. There are a couple other Hali styles that also could suffice for the intended purpose.

Seeing that Hail jigs can be a bit pricey.... they are not really a "must have". There are other jigs of similar styles that will work. Off the top of my head... I can think of small swedish pimples that would work too. In all honesty... to go the most inexpensive route for a rig... get a 1/4 oz (or so) bell sinker and tie in four or five #10 or #12 gold hooks. The brand hook and style comes down to personal preference... but I use the inexpensive Eagle Claw Single Salmon Egg hook.



But not this big of course!!! :lol:

Think along the lines of a perch rig that you would use out in Lake Michigan except that you would tie in 4 or 5 (or however many you want) hooks. This would be the cheapest way to make rigs for smelt.

As far as tying in your hooks to the main line... I use the Dropper Loop Knot

[ame="http://www.metacafe.com/watch/783226/dropper_loop_how_to_tie_the_dropper_loop_fishing_knots/"]Video of Dropper Loop Knot[/ame]

Animated Illustration of the Dropper Loop Knot

I actually use this knot for tying perch rigs... and also to tie in the 2nd hook for my 2 hook whitefish rigs. For smelt... I usually make the loop about 3/4" to 1" long. Take the end of the loop and thread the double line through the eye of the hook... then take the loop and put it over the point end of the hook and cinch down tight. This is a very good knot that has served me well as I have never had this knot fail on me.

Do this 3, 4, or 5 times above your bottom jig... making each one about 10" - 12" apart and you have your basic smelt rig. I will tie up 2 or 3 of these rigs ahead of time and put them on swim noodles so I don't have to tie them out on the ice. All I have to do is tie them onto my main line which I have a very tiny swivel to tie into. I use yellow 1 or 2 pound mainline... and I actually do use monofilament sewing thread to tie these rigs with. And yes... using such light line... when "something else" grabs these rigs... it is almost automatic that you will lose your rig. But... (knocking on wood right now)... I have only had that happen to me ONE time so far!!

Ok... time to go tie some smelt rigs and chase after some smelt!! :D
 
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