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I'd like to talk tonight about lifting fish, specifically crappies and gills. The most common mistake I've been noticing is that enough distance does not get put between the fish and the bait as the lift is being done.
Even I get into the habit of lifting a few feet to trigger that chase and the subsequent strike and for the most part that is all that's needed ,however when the fish do not give chase I believe we as fishers think that the fish are not interested and give up working that fish we are targeting on our sonar.
Last weekend for example I was lifting up to 6 feet away and to my suprize the fish were bolting for my bait.
It's truely amazing how far those fish can see even in stained water.

Sometimes the fish would stop a few feet after the chase begins. They might have lost sight of the bait so a wiggle of the rod tip can help them relocate or reaquire their target.
Sometimes they get to what I'd call the back door and stop without hitting.
It may have been that I went past their ceiling.
Here's is where I want to push that fish.I know that it wanted to feed because it gave chase.So I'll lower my bait real slow,thereby pushing that fish back down.
If I drop too fast the fish may run back to the bottom and in some cases out of the sonar cone.
So by slowely dropping I am allowing that fish to remain in a striking position just below my bait.
The distance I'll push depends on how high the ceiling is. I'm looking typically to push that fish a couple of feet.
Last weekend was also an eye opener on fish hitting on the fall.
I had more fish caught by pushing in one weekend than I did all of last winter I'm thinking.
What causes this type of hit I'll never know ,but a pattern developed and I worked it to the fullest.
My rod has a spring strike indicator on it and it's pretty sensitive.I have it weighted so that there is a slight downward bend. Noticing that the spring would straighten out was a tell tale sign that there was no weight any longer on the end of my line....fish on! Sometimes on the push I'll pause 3 seconds before trying to relift that fish if it did not hit on the fall.
Well by lifting real slowely I'll watch that spring and if it starts to bend too much...fish on!
[img]http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h209/palisade1kid/MuleFest10early...[/img]
Lifting and pushing fish can be easier with packs of suspended fish.Singles are a bit tougher ,but the game is on with a signal marking on my flasher.

Of coarse color and sizing of the bait needs to be determined. A thinner line also helps due to the lack of line coil. Another thing that helps with thinner line is that the fall is faster in that initial 20 foot or what have you to that target fish.
Most often I'll run a split shot.One that is small so as to not blot out my bait signal.
A sinker should be attached not to tightly as to dent the line and make a weak spot.It should also be far enough away to give the bait ample line allowing a more natural presentation of that bait.
One other bonus sinkers add. They are an attractor to fish.
The small nature of a bb sized split will draw fish into the sonar cone.
In some cases the fish will fly right by my bait to close in on the sinker while preforming a lift.
Talk about good eyesight.

Each and every fish is a brand new ballgame in seeing if you win with your lift and or push.
Have fun working those fish!

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Kieth, I hope I even get to use my ice rods this year. We have 1-2 inches on some lakes with about 20 inches of snow on top of it! Sheeesh! In the mild Mid-Atlantic, we might not get the safe ice. Hoping for some open water crappie next week in southern Delaware.
i understand this method we use it here,now when sight fishing they pull up and won;t rise say 3 ft of water,threw the box at them today.plastics to live and nothing they pull up look and leave.any idea how to get these fish to bite,almost always the bigger gills would rush in and stop.
Steve...if they are rising they are interested ,but the bait is too big...your gonna have to go smaller and maybe even dead stick them.
That's why I tie a hundreth oz hair jig and you don't need meat.
Thanks for the info ,honestly i never tried that but if the situation happens again i;ll remember that.thanks again
Working these fish today a nice gill hit....well over 10"

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