Wind tip-ups have never really impressed me over the years. They tend to freeze up easily during cold weather and can be a pain to get set just right. For those of you that have not seen a wind tip-up, they work much the same as your normal tip-up. Basically, they sit over the hole and when a fish takes the bait a flag goes up, letting you know. The main difference between the standard and the wind tip-ups is the fact that the wind tip-up has a large metal wing that catches any amount of wind and jigs your lure or presentation up and down similar to what you would do if you were jigging the hole with a rod and reel.
I have had many of these tip-ups over the years, but never really had anything good to say about them. It seemed like I could buy one and it would only make it a few trips before the wing broke or something else went wrong with it. The cost of these wind tip-ups vary, you can usually find them for around the $12 mark. Well, if they only make it a couple of trips, why bother, right?
During a yearly ice fishing trip to the White Earth Bay area of Lake Sakakawea, I decided to give the wind tip-up another try. Needless to say the memories of tangled lines, frozen tip-ups and the frustration to get them to work right was echoing loud and clear. But what the heck, I had four days to get the kinks out of the system.
The most popular presentation for catching walleyes through the ice at White Earth is using a small treble hook tipped with two fathead minnows. While jigging this presentation seems a bit ridiculous, a small amount of jigging keeps the minnows very active and sending out the vibrations that attract walleyes. I set two of the wind tip-ups out with treble hook presentations on them and let them go to work. It wasn't long before the flags started popping. Although the tip-ups were catching fish, I was catching just as many jigging with my rod and reel combo so I still was not convinced.
After fishing with these tip-ups for two days and watching them perform, things started to click in my head. The tip-ups were working slowly up and down, basically the same as I was doing. Why not put jigging spoons on the tip-ups to give them more flash. Bingo!
In order for the tip-up to work properly, a jigging spoon that was very light had to be used. A perfect match for this is the Walleye Willospoon made by Bait Rigs Tackle. The Walleye Willospoon is very light and flutters with any amount of movement at all. The third day I tied a Glow in the Dark colored Willospoon on one of the tip-ups and placed a couple of small split shot weights above it about a foot to help it get down to the bottom. I set the tip-up so that it would jig the lure around six to eight inches off of the bottom. I reversed hooked a fathead minnow on the single hook that the Willospoon comes rigged with and let it go to work.
That day there was three of us fishing, and that meant twelve lines going through the ice. By the end of the day, the wind tip-up rigged with the Walleye Willospoon had out-fished the rest of the lines combined nearly two to one. That was definitely enough to open my eyes. Results like that far out-weigh the flaws that the wind tip-ups have.
After seeing the numbers of fish that were caught by using the tip-ups paired with the Walleye Willospoons, I would highly recommend getting the set-up and start using it. I have been a faithful user of wind tip-ups ever since that trip and from my own experiences they do out-produce any other presentation when rigged properly with the Willospoon.
Give them a chance, take the time to get use to rigging them correctly and you to will be rewarded with increased catches.