Bro’s Icy Hot Tips For Rolling The Bones With
Northland Fishing Tackle’s Skeleton Minnow
Veteran fishing guide and Northland Fishing Tackle pro staffer Brian “Bro” Brosdahl says the company’s soft-plastic IMPULSE® Skeleton Minnow is one of the North Country’s hottest tippings for putting portly winter panfish on ice.
“No bones about it, the Skeleton Minnow is a true utility player that catches bluegills, crappies and jumbo perch in virtually any situation—from reluctant weed-bed bluegills to skittish suspended crappies,” he begins. “The bait’s slender, segmented tail section undulates seductively with minimal jigging. Its frail look and subtle action get even the most tight-lipped panfish fired up.”
Brosdahl threads the Skeleton Minnow’s bulbous, hook-friendly ribbed body onto a proven ice fishing jig like the Northland Fishing Tackle Gill-Getter, Mud Bug, Mooska, Bro Bug or Tungsten Fire-Ball® Jig.
“It’s easy to rig a Skeleton Minnow. Run the hook down through the middle of the body, just like you would an angle-worm,” he says. “To ensure proper hook placement, hold the jig’s hook next to the plastic body before rigging. Visualize the shank’s ideal route of travel through the body, and count the number of Skeleton Minnow ribs to the hook’s perfect exit point. You can also trim away ribbed sections as needed to accommodate short hooks or to downsize the presentation.”
Only rarely does Bro place extra tippings atop the plastic dressing. “The Skeleton Minnow is a solo act 90 percent of the time,” he says. “Fished alone, it looks and acts just like a defenseless insect, while the IMPULSE® formula provides all the scent and flavor you need. The only time I add bait is to bulk it up for supersize panfish.”
Jig strokes match conditions and mood of the fish. “For example, when fishing big bluegills along weed edges or inside weedbeds, I hold the jig a foot above the fish and gently wiggle the legs, occasionally adding a slight swimming motion,” he says. “As a bluegill draws near, I slowly pull the bait up and away an inch at a time. Nothing drives a bull ’gill crazy like a good game of cat-and-mouse.”
For spooky crappies suspended in clear water, Bro impales the Skeleton Minnow on a Gill Getter or Mud Bug. “I drop it down and shimmy the rodtip so the tail undulates. While the tail is moving, I slowly raise the jig about a foot and drop it back down
The 1½-inch-long Skeleton Minnow comes in a variety of colors. Bro advises stocking up on different patterns, so you can experiment to find out what the fish prefer. “Bloodworm is hot in some lakes and situations,” he says. “In others, the green shades of Emerald get more bites. And sometimes Purple Passion outfishes everything else combined.”