Ice fishing for smallmouth bass

MILLE LACS LAKE, Minn. -- “There’s one,” Christian Hoffman said as he set the hook, “and it feels like a good-sized fish.”

Christian Hoffman sets the hook on a big smallmouth bass just before sunrise on Mille Lacs Lake. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

Christian Hoffman sets the hook on a big smallmouth bass just before sunrise on Mille Lacs Lake. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

Andy Walls with a trophy smallmouth caught on a light panfish rig. Finesse presentations often account for the biggest fish caught during winter. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

Andy Walls with a trophy smallmouth caught on a light panfish rig. Finesse presentations often account for the biggest fish caught during winter. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

Christian Hoffman with another dandy Mille Lacs Lake smallmouth. He says the same presentations usually work wherever smallies swim beneath the ice. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

Christian Hoffman with another dandy Mille Lacs Lake smallmouth. He says the same presentations usually work wherever smallies swim beneath the ice. Submitted photo / Christian Hoffman

The evidence seemed to support his claim. The ultralight rod Hoffman held was arced into a nearly impossible bend, and the reel’s drag whined as it gave up line.

After a few powerful runs that looked to test Hoffman’s equipment to the limit, he kneeled down, reached into the hole and pulled up a trophy smallmouth bass. “Now that’s a good way to start the day,” Hoffman said. After a quick photo, the fish was sent back down the hole.

Accidental discovery

Hoffman said he and his fishing partner discovered their smallmouth pattern by accident. “My friend Andy Walls and I were hunting for walleyes off the edge of long shoreline point. We drilled a series of holes and marked several fish holding tight to the bottom with our electronics.”

Hoffman, of Brainerd, Minn., is a full-time videographer for Outdoor Sportsman Group, the company that produces In-Fisherman Television. Walls, of Grand Rapids, Minn., is the manager of Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods. They have fished together since they were in fifth grade.

The point topped out at about 10 to 12 feet and dropped sharply into water 20 feet deep. Perfect spot, they thought, to ambush a few walleyes. “It was about a half hour before sunrise,” Hoffman added, “and we were confident that this spot was going to produce some big fish.” 

For full article, go to: Park Rapids Enterprise

Source, image(s), credits & more: Park Rapids Enterprise | Steve Hoffman