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Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

If you want to become a more efficient boat angler but haven’t utilized modern technology, you might want to take a closer look at what’s available.

Sonar electronics and electric trolling motors are improving angler efficiency at a rapid pace.

Sure they’re expensive add-ons. But if you fish often, you’re going to appreciate what they can do for you.

Sonar units are no longer bottom finders or fish finders. When incorporated with mapping chips, GPS, high-powered imaging and a basic understanding of the kind of areas that hold your favorite sportfish, these electronics can literally put you on top of a hotspot.

And when you get there, GPS enabled electric motors can hold you on the spot without you manipulating controls.

I’ve spent the past few years testing some of the new equipment and can assure you that these improvements are very applicable for our waters.

By Louie Stout

Lake of Woods Should Produce More Keeper Walleyes This Summer

Want to catch keeper walleye?

Try Lake of the Woods in Bremen, Ind. this summer.

If Hoosier biologists’ fall survey is any indication, the “Woods” should be one of the better Michiana hotspots for walleye.

District Fisheries Biologist Tom Bacula had a research team shocking the shallows last October and turned up a surprising number of quality fish.

A generator on the flat bottom boat pushes electricity through electrodes that dangle in the water over the bow. There’s just enough juice displaced in the water to stun nearby fish in 5 to 6 feet of water – without killing them – and allow team members to net them for closer inspection. Scale samples and length measurements are recorded before the fish are turned back into the lake.

By Louie Stout

Thinking about buying a boat?

As exciting as that can be, there always is an element of apprehension - unless you’ve done your homework.

Now is an excellent time to begin your research at the winter boat shows.

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a fishing boat, pontoon, pleasure boat or a versatile rig for multiple water sports, these shows are worth the visit. With multiple dealers under one roof, you can compare brands and models without burning gas and wasting time.

More importantly, you can save money. Dealers offer show specials that are only available during the show.

Andy Peterson of Starboard Choice Marine in Edwardsburg insists you really can get a better deal by buying now and not waiting until spring.

“A lot of boats the dealer has in stock are floor planned (financed) so it behooves him to move a boat this time of year,” said Peterson. “He can reduce the cost of holding onto the boat and offer it for a little less.”

By Louie Stout

Major Ice Fishing Event Set for LaPorte

A national ice fishing contest is coming to LaPorte and area anglers are invited to participate.

The North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) will conduct a qualifying contest on Pine and Stone Lakes Feb l1 with other activities scheduled for Feb. 9-10.

Entry fee for the national event is $200 per two-man teams. Teams must register online at www.naifc.com. The payout is 70 percent of the entry fees with 20 percent going towards the championship slated for next December.

One of every five teams entered in the LaPorte event wins cash. Aqua Vu, Quicksilver Lubricants and Lucky John Lures will provide additional prizes.

The top 10 finishing teams also earn invites to the national championship held on North and South Twin Lakes in Naytahwaush, Minn.

Teams will be allowed to move and drill as many holes as they wish.

Tournament hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with weigh-in at Cummings Lodge.

Contestants will fish for a bag limit of eight bluegills and eight crappies. Portable fish shelters are allowed with walking, ATVs and snowmobiles the modes of transportation.

NAIFC festivities open Feb. 9 with seminars followed by a smaller scale tournament Feb. 10 on the same lakes.

The NAIFC Pro Staff will conduct the first seminar Feb. 9 at the LaPorte Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Center. The program opens with an ice fishing basics program from 5-7 p.m. followed by a more technical, how-to discussion at 7 p.m.

If the national event entry fee is too rich for your blood, there will be a “Friends of Fishing” derby Feb. 10.

Entry fee for that event is $20 per fisherman with 50 percent going toward cash prizes and the balance slated for a Friends of Fishing “Take a Kid Fishing” event.

Registration will begin at 5 a.m. at Cummings Lodge on Stone Lake. That tournament will end at noon and there will be cash prizes offered, plus every angler’s name will be entered in a drawing for a gas auger donated by the “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” tourism bureau.

First-place cash prizes will be awarded to anglers catching the longest fish in six categories: pike, bass, bluegill, redear, crappie, perch and walleye.

Stone and Pine Lake are the designated waters but participants can fish on any lake within LaPorte city limits. You can get more information for that event by calling 219-510-3193.

Also, ice fishing experts will conduct a “Kids Ice Camp” at 1 p.m. that same day at the Best Western Plus Hotel & Conference Center. Kids and their parents will learn about ice safety, bait, electronics, rods and jigging techniques. At 2 p.m., the kids and parents will be invited out onto the ice to experience in person what was demonstrated inside.

Every kid in attendance will receive a fishing rod from Lucky John Lures.