Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ice Fishing... A World of Plastics

When I first started ice fishing the biggest difference (other then the cold) was getting use to buying live bait again. Not since i was a child using worms did I spend time in an actual bait shop buying bait on such a regular basis. But over the past few seasons I have been spending less and less time in search or minnows and wax worms because in that short period of time the "plastics" market has exploded.

Although still dominated by some of the bigger names in the industry (Berkley, Northland) there are a number of small plastics manufacturers that have really started to product quality baits at a reasonable price. Here are a few you should keep an eye out for and maybe you too will spend less time hunting minnows this winter.

Customer Jigs & Spins:

Not exactly a new comer to the ice fishing game, CJ&S has been the standard in ice fishing plastics for years. Their line-up includes  the Ratso, Shrimpo and Rat finkee jigs and all are quality products and panfish slayers.

CJ&S makes each of these baits in close to 20 colors including my fav's.. Pink/White, Motor Oil and Pearltreuse. The bodies of these jigs hold up well and replacement bodies are readily available If you decided to take the plunge and make an order, I recommend picking up some of their "slender spoons" these are some of the best spoons on the market today

J&S Custom Jigs:

J&S are new comers in plastics industry, they have 5 styles of bait available in just over 20 colors, including some glow options. I first heard about J&S when they made the smart move of becoming an sponsor on the icefishing website Not only did they sponsor the site but they started out by offering a free sample pack that would have 1 of each of the baits they carry. I was so impressed i placed a $20 order to go along with my sample pack. (at $1.99 for a pack of 8, $20 bucks will get you a nice little collection)

The ice mite and paddle bug are my two favourites. they are the perfect size and both have great motion in the water.

You can check them out at the site below, or purchase them from Sportsmans Direct or ReelGoodGuides

be sure to try the glow jigs

Maki Plastics:

Ok, this part of the post could take a while, Maki plastics must be the most comprehensive of the plastics companies on the market today, with close to 30 different styles of bait and 11 color options of each of the baits, you could be there for a while.

The Maki plastics are a bit more expensive then J&S coming in on average at $2.79 a pack. I own a wack of these plastics, but tend to gravitate towards the "maki", the "eggi" and the "poli" all three make for a simple presentation while in the water with limited movement by the angler.

my colors choices are "glow", "motor oil" and the "red"

KJB Plastics: 

KJB is the first of these companies that I purchased from. They have 21 different bait options and nearly 40 color options.. yes i typed that right.. 40 Color options!

KJB's baits are the most durable of the plastics that I have yet to try. They are made of a firmer plastic but still impart great action while in the water. I will be the first to admit that some of the bait options they provide are kinda useless (the hummer and the grub come to mind) but they also have a few real nice baits.. check out the "V", "Spurn", Hook-Guard" and the "BB Body". for color choices you should give the "silver pearl", "pearlesence" and the "iridescence pearl"

KJB sells their plastics for $1.25  a pack, and ship pretty quickly.

(a close-up mix from some of the above companies)

I know most of these companies are small and not local to most anglers. But they are readily available on-line for good prices. I mix and match the above along with plastics from the Berkley Gulp arsenal. You cant beat the line-up of Gulp waxies, minnow heads, and maggots. They are a bit cumbersome and sloppy in those damn jars, but the product is good. As for Northland tackle they are currently expanding the "Bro Series" that was launched last winter. I really like the "bloodworm and "slugbug" both are excellent crappie and gills baits. but i tend to steer clear of the scudbug. One company I didn't really touch on was Little Atom, and I would be remiss not to mention the "nuggie" a main stay in may fisherman's arsenals. This bait is the best of two worlds, the egg like body holds well on the hook and give off the beaded look that drives many panfish crazy, and the long twitchy tails moves extremely well in the water. Little Atom makes a quality bait but is priced higher then most of the baits listed above

be sure to check out some of these while on the ice this season, they wont completely replace live bait, but you will quickly learn there is a whole new world out there once you get hooked on plastics


  1. You are getting me in the mood. Can't wait to start drilling holes.

  2. Im with ya, but with the temps in my area, it will be Jan 2012, before i see ice

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