Yo Yo For More Lakers!

Yo Yo For More Lakers!

By: Steve Rowbotham

It’s funny how a fisherman’s perception is varied from angler to angler.  Last March I was chatting with an old timer out on Lake Simcoe.He asked me how I was making out on this particular day.  I responded honestly, “We’re having a pretty good day, we’ve landed about a dozen lakers between the two of us.”  He looked at me dumbfounded, and called Bull.  He says, we’ve caught 15 lakers all season in our hut and this is one of the best years in recent memory.  Let me tell you, techniques can make the biggest difference in the world, and I’m going to share with you one of my favourites.

The Technique

The technique is called the yo-yo and the concept is very simple.  I will allow my bait to fall to the bottom.  I bang the bait off bottom a couple times to create some disturbance in the silt then I proceed to reel it up about a quarter of the way to the surface.  I then immediately drop it back down to bottom.  Now I’ll bang it on bottom a couple more times and proceed to reel it up about half way to the surface and drop it back down.  This technique is extremely effective, especially when nothing else is working!


This particular technique is a very active way of finding fish, and will appeal to the most active fish, but I have seen it work wonders in turning non-biters into biters.  As a fishing guide, this has helped to put many, many fish on the ice for my clients.  The concept is to trigger the predatory instincts in the fish.  Think about how many times these fish see a big spoon jigged in their face, or a big white tube jig dancing around on bottom and its always the same, the fish can take 3-4 minutes if it wants to examine your false offering.  Sure, they catch fish and they always will, but why not increase your odds?  To start with, banging your bait on bottom creates noise and bottom disturbance, which in turn, attracts predatory fish to check out the situation.  Next, your bait fleeing ¼ and ½ way up the water column can be seen from a greater distance away and will also attract fish from greater distances and you also appeal to the fish suspended higher up in the water column. Finally, the fish see the bait being reeled away as the bait attempting to flee and it triggers their predatory instinct, where the need to either eat now or miss their opportunity, and with no time to truly examine the bait, they need to make a choice, and they often choose to eat!


For me, the yo-yo technique revolves around two particular baits: a 4 inch tube jig and the Impact Laker Taker.  Both baits have an excellent darting action and offer a very enticing action when yo-yoed.  I have both baits hooked up to 26 inch Medium action St. Croix Premier ice rods, Mitchell Avocet 1000 spinning reels, 10 lbs Berkley Fireline and a 6 foot leader of 10lbs fluorocarbon line.  When choosing colour for both baits, I have just two colours for each that I use, and they relate to weather.  On a sunny day, I choose a smoke/silver fleck tube or an emerald shiner Laker Taker. On a cloudy day, I choose a white tube or a natural shiner Laker Taker.  Give this technique a shot this year and you’ll put more trout on the ice!

Author: Steve Rowbotham is the 2008 and 2010 Barrie Bassmasters Angler of the Year and has been guiding on Lake Simcoe since 2005.  To inquire about his Guiding Services on Lake Simcoe, please visit SRFishing.com

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