If you’re heading out on the ice, hoping to catch as many fish as possible, then you’re probably wondering what’s the best bait to use. PowerBait, a pungent artificial paste, may be the surprising choice.
Artificial bait hasn’t always had the best reputation. It can be expensive, smell awful, and worst of all – it doesn’t catch any fish.
If you’ve ever spent a day using artificial bait and not getting even a hint of a bite, you may be put off for life. However, PowerBait just might win even the most ardent of live bait supporters over.
PowerBait was created by Berkley, who recognized that there was an opportunity to create a real, working artificial bait. After 25 years of research and development, they found the solution.
Berkley understood that fish use scent as the initial way of identifying food. In fact, many fish have a sense of smell over 1000 times stronger than that of humans.
This sense is what allows them to identify food in murky waters, and after it’s fallen to the ground. Berkley needed to create an artificial bait that appealed to this olfactory sense.
But it isn’t just scent that makes PowerBait so good for ice fishing: it uses taste as well. When a fish bites, it has to be fully prepared to swallow and eat what’s in its mouth.
If PowerBait smelled great but tasted bad, the fish would just spit it out and move on before you got a chance to reel it in.
The combination of scent and taste is designed specifically to appeal to fish, and to get them to keep the tip in their mouth. As the fish settles in to enjoy what it thinks is a good meal, you have time to react, and get your catch.
When ice fishing, this combination of taste and flavor is just as useful. PowerBait has another advantage for the harsh conditions of ice fishing – it’s easy to use.
Live bait can be difficult to rig when you’re battling the great outdoors. PowerBait is quick, simple, and it really does catch fish.
One thing to remember is that PowerBait works significantly better for stocked trout over wild trout. Luckily, many of the trout you come across in ice fishing spots are stocked, so PowerBait works to its full effect.
Can you ice fish with PowerBait?
Yes, you can ice fish with PowerBait. It’s particularly good for fishing planted trout, but can potentially catch wild trout as well. The advantages of using PowerBait to ice fish is that it’s quick to rig, and doesn’t need to be kept at a certain temperature.
PowerBait has been proven to be effective at catching fish, but many tend to associate it with warmer weather fishing. However, it’s just as good for on the ice, especially if the fish have been planted.
Because the trout in lakes used for ice fishing generally are planted, that makes it practically the perfect bait.
If the trout aren’t planted, you may find it a struggle to catch any using PowerBait. PowerBait, for whatever reason, tastes like whatever planted fish are eating growing up.
How you hook PowerBait depends on the type of PowerBait you’re using. The easiest one to hook is the shaped PowerBait.
These are made using soft plastics that are formed into the shape of bait, but still have the smell and taste of PowerBait. Simply push the hook through the body.
PowerBait also comes as a thick paste. This can be applied directly to the hooks, but you might struggle to get it to sink. A better way to use PowerBait is by combining it with split shot sinkers. These small balls are weighty, and help the line to fall through the water.
Apply them either directly above the hook, or 6 inches up. Then, cover the hook with a thin application of PowerBait. Less really is more here, so don’t feel obliged to pile it on.
PowerBait also sells “nibbles” and “bits”, which are non-floating, and easy to hook.
If you’re planning on ice fishing but want to release the fish, don’t use PowerBait. The fish really do like the taste, and it can be very difficult to get that hook back out.
What is the best bait for ice fishing trout?
Live bait, artificial lures, or a combination of the two, can be used when ice fishing for trout. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and many will find a method that works for them and stick with it.
Tiny jigs with maggots are a fantastic choice for ice fishing. Other options include crawlers, earthworms, wax worms, and mealworms. This sort of bait is readily available, and the traditional choice for ice fishing.
If you can, live minnows are another popular bait. However, you might struggle to get your hand on these. They’re also difficult to keep in harsh conditions, which are common in ice fishing.
Artificial bait, such as PowerBait and Gulp!, is also good for ice fishing trout. These types of lures use smell to attract the trout, and taste to get them to bite. They work best on planted trout, which are common in ice fishing spots.
Exactly which is better depends on personal preference, and where you’re fishing. If you’re at a spot without planted trout, then it’s better to avoid artificial lures. For some reason, they just don’t attract wild trout in the same way.
However, there is a massive advantage to using artificial bait: ease. Artificial lures rarely need to be stored in special conditions, so they can be bought straight out onto the ice. They’re also easier to hook than live bait.
If you can’t pick, or you’re struggling to get anything to bite, a combination might be the best way to go. PowerBait comes as a paste, which can be applied to hooks alongside live bait.
The plastic lures of Gulp! are also easy to tear in two, so a Gulp! Maggot and a real maggot can be combined for one extra appealing lure.