A Better Way to Fish a Tip Up
It's zero degrees outside, you're hands are chilled to the bone and you want to switch your tip ups from targeting northerns with big trebles to fish the twilight bite for finicky walleyes. Do you have to cut and retie all your tip ups? That sounds like a horrible idea! Here's a system that I've been working on that allows you to be flexible and quick when it comes to tip up fishing!
About 12 years ago, I talked with a young guy at a bait shop up in northern Wisconsin and he shared a tip with me that has helped me a ton. He said that he uses heavy mono instead of a wire leader to fish pike. He said in all of his experiences he never got bit off. We tweaked his idea and started to use heavy fluoro - 30 Lb test Gamma 100% fluorocarbon leader material. The fluoro gave us the ability to fish for walleyes in pike infested waters and catch both without the bite offs.
I cut a piece of pipe insulation (about a 3 ft section) to organize all my tip up leaders. I use a Berkley crosslok swivel attached to my tip up line. I cut my Gamma Fluoro leaders at about arm's length (6'). I use a variety of trebles. I like Mustad's triple grips in size 6 and 8 for pike and Gamakatsu round bend trebles in size 10 (I like the red ones). One of the other keys to tip up fishing is having something that can mark the depth that you're fishing. This makes for a quick turn around after catching a fish and rebaiting to get your bait down to the desired depth. Some guys like to use super tiny bobbers, my preference is Lindy's soft stops (made for slip bobber fishing, perfect for tip up depth markers). And that's it!
Now when you want to switch from one size hook to another, all you have to do is grab your pre-tied leaders and throw one on your crosslok snap swivel and you are ready to go! (Don't forget to crimp a split shot 12-18" up from your treble!) And the next time you're out, hopefully these couple of tips will result in someone yelling "tip up" more frequently.