Your Bobbers Down Gear Review by Water and Woods Staff
[Editors Note: The package received from yourbobbersdown.com had a wide assortment of jigs, balances, strike indicators, and rods. To say the least they were visually stunning and labeled individually in every size and color imagineable. A little about yourbobbersdown.com before we go any further. They specialize in Custom Rods and FISKAS lures from Sweden for vertical jigging, float & ice fishing. The FISKAS line of Balance, Wolfram Jigs and Strike Indicators (spring bobbers) that they stock are just the beginning. The quality and uniqueness of their lures have been the secret weapon in the Nordic region for many years. FISKAS Wolfram Jigs fish much heavier than other lures of the same size. This allows fishermen to fish faster and more accurately with smaller lure sizes. Their website is jam packed with full color pictures and online purchasing available at very affordable prices. To sum up a short editors note here, “The performance and appeal of this product will be shown in the review below as well as a full line of products appearing in our Outlet this fall. Our special Thanks to Jamie for working together with Water and Woods to bring you this Fishing Gear Review.]
Two teams were formed to get results from multiple locations and the gear was divided equally between Brock and Jason who were chosen to lead their respective teams.
Initial responses of visual inspections concluded the same answer. “These look great! We won’t have a problem catching fish with these.” The Fiskas Swimmer Balance proved to be a favorite for both Brock and Jason. These lures resemble the infamous jigging rapala in every aspect except the price and durability. The Fiska swimmer far exceeded the Rapala in durability while remaining well below the price you would pay to purchase the Rapala. In a side by side test done by Brock with the Fiskas Swimmer and a Jigging Rapala, the results were unanimous. The fish were on the swimmer before it reached the bottom! Clarification through the use of a Vexilar showed the Walleyes laying practically dormant as the Rapala was worked vertically several feet away. After retrieving the Rapala the Swimmer was put to the test. Instantly the fish became aggressive and Brock began to “hook up” on some nice Walleyes.
What could possibly be the answer seeing these two lures are so similar? For one the tail, or fin, on the Fiskas is much thicker with a more radical degree of taper. When jigged just below the surface the extra action this small feature, teamed with a greater depth to the concave shaped body, exuded action that could be explained as phenomenal. In the closing hour of the evening Brock was able to land numerous walleyes in the 3 to 5 pound range.
The review could have ended there showing great success but our teams had just gotten started and both were anxious to review the products further on different bodies of water.
Equipped with a tackle box full of lures which were foreign to the local fish, Brock headed for deeper waters the next day and we turned our attention to Jason who had been fishing inland ponds and tributaries.
Jason was met with freezing rain and dense fog on his first day of field testing. Setting up in 7 to 10 feet of water he focused on panfish with the ever-looming knowledge that, “Where there’s panfish…there’s Pike.” After landing a couple decent perch on the gold Wolfram jigs he hooked into a decent pike in the mid 30 inch range. “The ice was beginning to sag from the extra weight of the rain coming down. It was real sloppy and the pond was getting bad,” said Jason. The pike was released and due to ice conditions from the prevailing storm, the rest of the day was abandoned in hopes of better weather in the next few days. True to form the clouds gave way to some lighter skies during the next week and temperatures ran cold again. Just what the team needed to firm the ice and get back to the review.
While Jason continued to fish the backwaters Brock was in the Big Bay fishing depths in excess of 40 feet. This 180 degree turn between Brock and Jason afforded the opportunity to challenge the gear in an endless variation of water depths and clarity. Although the weather may have been similar in the 100 mile stretch between the two, the fishing conditions had no resemblance at all. The ponds were shallow and murky. The lake was clear and deep. They couldn’t have scripted a more challenging field test for this gear! They were now into day 2 which would prove just as successful but with more suprises. Both fishermen were unaware that they would each catch fish that neither had taken through the ice before!
Jason set up in 9 feet of water with fairly overcast skies and cooler temperatures. From the start a few decent perch were taken before a school of frenzy feeding pike took over the area. The pike proved to be keyed in on the lures as everyone caught fish, including the camera crew! Let me tell you this makes for a great day for everyone. “It was strange that these pike were so eager to take these small jigs.” We hadn’t been working anything larger like the Fiska swimmers at the time.” We were in search of the panfish hoping to hit some crappies when the perch showed up. I guess they brought company!”
The pike wanted the small larvae jigs. “I wasn’t sure if the hooks or the lighter rods that we were testing would hold up but they did the job perfectly.” “As long as we checked our line for frayed areas we were able to keep catching these pike without problems.” “In fact I think I spent as much time behind the camera taking pictures as anyone else did. The fishing was great!” As the bite slowed down later in the day we moved about a bit more searching for schools of crappies.
We worked the submerged structure in various depths. After several small hookups we decided to move further to the edge of the structure. We were hoping to catch the crappies suspending between the dropoff and the protection of the sunken timbers. I tipped a #4 gold Wolfram jig accented with the orange bead and a minnow hooked in front of the dorsal fin for a live presentation. These small jigs are flashy enough to catch fish on their own. After combining that jig with a minnow I closed the deal on a largemouth bass! Bass aren’t commonly caught here in the winter. In fact, this is a first for me and after fishing this area a number of times with limited results I’d have to admit that it was the gear that helped me land this first ever fish. I’m looking forward to getting back out here next year with these lures.
As we shifted our attention back to Brock we soon found out that he had been having the same good fortune as Jason. Although we have every bit of confidence in our teams we figured that if one struck out the other would come through. Now both teams seem to coming through with great results and this leads me to surmise that you just can’t go wrong with a knowledgable staff and a tackle box full of hot products like these.
Brock informed us that he hadn’t used the jigs as readily as Jason had. He fished almost exclusively for larger gamefish with the vertical jigging balances. Maybe we should have informed him that the jigs were doing so well on the pike. Regardless he didn’t come up short by anyones standards and took in a night time fishing trip for some more walleye action. He was putting these lures to the test alright. We hadn’t made any arrangements for night fishing but what’s a test without a few suprises!
“The way these Fiskas swimmers produced during the day I just had to see what they could do during the night.” The fish were hot for the lures again! “I didn’t bother messing around with anything else.” “These lures had produced fish for me when others had failed so I was looking to fish exclusively with the Fiskas if at all possible.”
It was well below zero due to a nasty turn in the weather and the wind was whipping up pretty good. To say the least it was “crisp” out on the lake. The fishfinder was marking nothing below me but a barren wasteland void of baitfish or gamefish but the atmosphere changed quickly. “Within 5 minutes of jigging I had 4 fish come in at once. I hooked up on the first one and came up short on the second who took the lure on the way down. In 35 feet of water I didn’t expect a strike to come at only 12 feet down and he took me by surprise!” Common for walleyes to take a lure on the drop, I should have been a little quicker on the draw but I wasn’t really expecting the fish to be that aggressive in the middle of this cold snap. I had anticipated that I may have to finesse the fish in order to entice a bite.
I had brought along a dozen minnows to tip some of the smaller epoxy jigs in order to create a slower presentation in the colder waters thinking the walleyes may be a bit on the lethargic side. So much for thinking like a fish! Once I had the walleyes below me they usually hung around long enough for me to get the lure back in the water again. I timed about 2 hours on my watch when I packed up to leave. In that time I landed 9 walleyes in the lower 20 inch class of which I kept two. I had hooked up or missed possibly a half dozen more that also took the bait on the way down. I was using the Higley Signature series rod that came with the package. I had my reservations about the sterdiness of the rod at first until I hooked into my first good fish. The rod held up to everything including a nice 5 pound trout which really took the fight to me for a while. The rod was sensitive enough to feel what my lure was doing yet strong enough to get a good hookset when I need it. These rods along with the lures should set standards for others in the business.
I took to the lake for one more morning of fishing to finish off the review and was greeted by clear cold skies that had held through the night. I moved out further into the channel and marked a depth of 45 feet on the downslope before dropping a line. Once again I marked nothing on the fishfinder for the first several minutes. After a few more jigs I heard the alarm sound and as quick as that I had a fish on. He came in fast and slammed it hard! I thought for sure this must be a pike cruising through by the way it was fighting. Non-stop action right to the surface as I realized I had hooked into a decent Splake trout, and yet another fish falls prey to the Fiska swimmer.
Like walleye, trout tend to move in schools out here in the bay so I wasted no time getting my lure back down. I watched on the finder as a fish tried to make a quick hit half way down in about 20 feet of water. I paused for a moment and gave the lure a quick jig trying to entice the fish back for a second look. Nothing. I let the lure freespool again watching the fishfinder and another fish showed up at 30 feet. This time he took it and it felt like another good trout. I noticed several more fish flashing across the screen as I brought a very large smallmouth bass to the ice. Now this is odd. I would never target bass for a day of icefising. It’s just unheard of other than the possible few quirks of nature. Other than Jasons recent largemouth I had never seen or heard of anybody ever catching a bass of any sort through the ice in this area!
On that note I decided to end my portion of the review feeling how could I possibly top that one. The gear provided for my field testing was top quality merchandise that can not be found in this area. I would be willing to venture an educated guess that these products could very well be the new lure in the future here when retailers start stocking the merchandise and I’ll be looking forward to the next season.
For more information on purchasing lures and custom rods you can visit Your Bobbers Down for a full list of lures and rods available. Don’t forget to tell them Water and Woods sent ya!