Glow Baits are Re-writing Ice-Fishing Rules

Some of the ice-fishing rules that we used to feel satisfied about are now being seriously questioned, just because of the new generation glow-in-the-dark paints. Glowing jigs, plastics and hooks are writing revisions in the book on such things as the time of day bluegills shut down to what it takes to catch a northern pike under low-light conditions.

Dave Genz, as he always seems to be, is at the center of the new ideas. When it comes to attracting and triggering fish, he still believes in the value of vibration, scent, overall size and shape, and other factors. But because of his gaudy successes while using glow baits in situations that he used to think held less promise, Dave has come to believe strongly in the importance of fish seeing your offering.

-“At the golden hour, when the sun is going down,” says Genz, “the bite often intensifies, even when you’re using non-glow jigs. Fish are out there moving, looking for food. But then as it gets darker, I used to see all these fish on my Vexilar that would not bite.

“Looking back on it now, I think, in a lot of cases, it was because they couldn’t see my bait. Let’s put it this way. Now that I’m fishing with glow jigs, a lot of other people have packed it up and gone back to shore and I’m still sitting there catching fish. Glowing baits can make the bite last a half-hour or more longer, sometimes keep it going after dark.”

What sold Genz was that the fish he was catching (after the bite was traditionally over) were species known to ‘shut down’ in low light. Sure, walleyes and crappies were part of the catch, depending on the day. But it was the bluegills, perch, and even pike—fish with a justified reputation for poor low-light vision, fish that you rarely catch when visibility is limited—that kept biting.

“I know what I have on my line now, pretty much all the time,” says Genz. “Some kind of Techni-Glo jig. I’ve seen enough evidence to convince me that, even if you have two fishermen who are about equal in ability, the person with the glow jig will always catch more fish than the one using a non-glow jig.”

(Genz has worked with Lindy to develop a growing list of Techni-Glo finishes on his signature baits, the Genz Worm, Fat Boy, Flyer, Frostee, and new baits like the Genz Bug.)

Night Feeders Also Go For Glow

For Genz, the value of a glowing ice jig is universal, even when he’s fishing for walleyes and crappies, species known to forage efficiently at low light and even after dark. “As far as I can tell,” he says, “the glow baits we have now help you catch more fish no matter what species.” The classic slow period that occurs as dusk gives way to true darkness can even be minimized by using a bait that glows. “I’ve always thought it had something to do with the fish needing time for their eyesight to adjust to the dark,” opines Genz. “When they can see your bait easier, they don’t seem to have to wait a half-hour before they bite it. If they can see it, they’ll come in and eat it.”

Building Multi-Tone Glow

Building contrast into your presentation package has long been considered a plus. In other words, finishes that include more than one color often outfish solid colors. When it comes to glowing baits for ice fishing, you now have the ability to show the fish several shades at once, because soft plastics are made in glowing colors, too.

For example, Lindy offers numerous Techni-Glo plastics under its own name and the Old Bayside brand. There are even tiny Techni-Glo Tails designed for panfish.

(Jig heads sized for larger plastics, known as Max Gap jigs, are also offered in Techni-Glo finishes, as are Fuzz-E-Grubs.)

Genz predicts that the effectiveness of glowing baits will remain strong over time. “Especially for golden hour and night fishing,” he says, “I see glow being the thing, right down to glowing hooks people use with crappie minnows. In some areas, it’s to that point already. The people who are using glow are outfishing the people who aren’t.”

First Published on December 28th, 2005

Winter Fishing Systems, Inc 2019