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NAIFC Pro Tony Boshold exclusively ice fishes for panfish with a tightlining setup. In the video above and write-up below, learn the proper hookset with this setup and the best line to rig it with.

Often, the hardest thing for people to understand with tightlining is the hookset. The key is to drop your rod slightly and if the line slumps with slack, that means the fish has your bait and it’s time to set the hook. Setting the hook doesn’t take much force, just tighten your line back out and drive it home. It’s not a big movement. Drop the rod tip, look for slack and then pop it up.

People will argue that Schooley rods don’t have enough line pickup, but they’ve been in play for over 50 years and are becoming increasingly popular. With a Schooley rod (or inline reel), you get almost no line twist, no backlashes, and no frozen reels (due to no metal). If they start to ice up or you drop them in some slush, you can just knock any buildup right off and have a clean reel instantly. The same doesn’t go for your typical spinning reel.

Best Line and Poundage

For a Schooley rod, copolymer line is hard to beat and the only thing Boshold will use on his rods. It comes in hi-vis colors to help you see the action of your bait and is some of the strongest line out there rivaling braid. It’s also has plenty of stretch but not much of a memory at all which further helps to prevent line twists.

Using Copolymer line is the key to success when ice fishing with Schooley rods.
Boshold uses 2 to 4 lb test depending on the situation – Sufix Advance® Ice Fishing Copolymer Line

When it comes to choosing the right size, 2 lb test is ideal for your smallest, lightest rigs and has a great thin diameter of just 1.6 mm. When fishing around heavy weeds or targeting bigger fish, Boshold recommends upsizing to a 3 lb test copolymer. When running larger search baits like spoons, Boshold will often go up to a 4 lb test. He’ll also use 4 lb test when he wants to slow his bait down by bulking it up with added plastic or live bait.

Boshold is not a fan of sizing up to a 6 lb test in copolymer for panfish. This is mostly because it starts to pick up more memory and the diameter gets too large. However, he is not one to sit inside a hut and put up with braid so he will generally use 6 lb copolymer on his walleye rods.

Get Tony Boshold’s Recommended Line Here: Sufix Advance® Ice Fishing Copolymer Line

Strike Indicators

When fish are aggressive, you can go bigger and bigger and lose your strike indication. When they’re finicky, you have to go smaller and smaller and when they start blowing baits, you need to gear up with a good strike indicator. Part of your strike indication is your hi-vis line but adding a spring does help provide some important added visual indication.

More Panfish Tips from Tony Boshold:


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