After his Grandpa passed away, Chris Granrud found all of his old ice fishing baits stored in Band-Aid tins. Granrud is an Ice Team Pro Staff angler and a professional guide at Rainydaze Guide Service on Rainy Lake out of International Falls.
“I found old baits in those tins and they still catch fish, too,” Chris told me. Talking with Chris got me thinking—some ice fishing baits have withstood the test of time. Here are four that have been catching fish for decades and still available in almost every bait store across the ice belt: the Jigging Rap, the Fat Boy jig, the Swedish Pimple, and the bucktail jig.
The Jigging Rap
Rapala’s Jigging Rap revolutionized the ice fishing world with its circular pattern when jigged. Perhaps the greatest compliment is imitation, and if that is the case, the Jigging Rap is at the top of the class. Knock-offs or designs based on the Jigging Rap’s action abound, but when it comes to productivity through hard water, this bait does the heavy lifting.
The Fat Boy jig
Years ago, the Godfather of Ice Fishing developed the Fat Boy jig with a horizontal presentation. Genz likes small jigs that fish heavy for big gills. The key is a weight that gets down quickly into the strike zone. Today Genz’s more modern take on this jig is the Clam Pro Tackle tungsten jigs. Tungsten is 30 percent heavier than lead, so it gets the job done even better, but the frenzy to use a heavy jig all started with the Fat Boy—the jig, not the Godfather
The Swedish Pimple
The Swedish Pimple has been widely used through the ice a long, long time. Tip the treble hook of this jigging spoon with a minnow or grub and bring home crappies, perch, walleye, and trout, with bigger sizes suitable for pike.
Maybe 100 or more years ago a fishing tackle company launched “bucktail” baits and it was “their” brand, but today dozens of brands identify the use of deer hair as “bucktail” and, as a group, they deserve mention as a legendary ice fishing bait.