I loved the Slick Jig’s unique profile and action since the first time I saw it in a demo tank at an ice-fishing show several winters ago. Since then, I’ve used it to catch walleyes, perch, pike, crappies and more under a variety of situations, both through the ice and in open water.
Thanks to its banana-shaped body and weight-forward head design, a Slick Jig can do things other jigs can’t. For example, it shines for head-down, bottom-pounding presentations when you slide a tight knot rearward on the line tie. Such sleights of hand can be deadly when lethargic walleyes play hard to catch.
But the Slick Jig isn’t a one-trick pony. Center the knot midway on the line tie and the leadhead adopts a more horizontal attitude, perfect for fluttering live and soft-plastic trailers in place, or for darting maneuvers that send the jig shooting off to the side, before it swims back to center. Under the ice, the ability to “fish outside the hole” can help you cover more water and attract fish from a great distance.
Speaking of tipping, a pair of methods work wonders with minnows. You can impale a baitfish through the mouth and out the top of the skull or slightly farther back, for standard bottom-pecking and swimming theatrics. It’s deadly, but I favor a more sideways hooking style. About five winters ago, veteran Canadian fishing guide Ben Beattie showed me how to thread a minnow through the mouth, out one gill and then back through the side midway down the body. Hooked correctly, the minnow rides on its side and flutters tantalizingly at the slightest of rodtip twitches.
I’ve used the latter rigging method extensively for saugers, walleyes and crappies, and it catches fish when other tactics fail. You can also rig a variety of artificial softbaits on a Slick Jig. Berkley PowerBait Atomic Mites, Gulp! Minnows and Lindy Watsits are just a few of the examples.
Available in sizes from 1/48-ounce Micro to 5/8-ounce, Slick Jigs come in a rainbow of colors ranging from baitfish-mimicking patterns such as Silver Shiner and Purple Smelt to Green Glow, a killed in low light.
Slick Jigs are undeniably deadly through the ice, but their uses extend into open water. In fact, I’d say anytime fish schooled in a small location dictate vertical jigging presentations, the Slick Jig is worth a shot.