Few periods of hardwater fishing are as productive as the fleeting first ice window. Large numbers of aggressive fish remain in shallow water, energized by seasonally-high dissolved oxygen levels and chasing abundant forage. Success at first ice requires specialized tools and tactics, developed and refined over decades by some of the most successful guides and anglers across the Northcountry. By attending this week’s Shimano School, you can learn directly from these angling professionals and tap into the first ice bonanza.
Shimano School is an ongoing series of angler education events hosted by JP DeRose, and features compelling topics and special guests from across the spectrum of the fishing world. Shimano School meets every two weeks and streams live on Shimano’s Facebook Page and the Shimano North America’s YouTube Channel.
In this week’s edition of Shimano School, viewers will enjoy detailed first ice insights from two successful hardwater anglers: Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson and Kee Kong. Gussy spends the open water months competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series, notching his first victory in early 2021 on the Tennessee River. During the winter months, however, this Canadian bass fanatic explores the bounty of Sunset Country, focusing on the hardwater opportunities available on expansive Lake of the Woods. Kee Kong is a fervent multispecies angler based in the Twin Cities area. When the water turns crunchy, Kong leverages highly refined presentations to chase everything from perch to brown trout and all finned adversaries in-between. Both anglers will detail the tools and tactics they use to find success on the ice, especially during the brief first ice period. “I’m excited to describe the incredibly diverse and powerful lineup of G. Loomis IMX-PRO Ice rods,” notes Gustafson, “which have rapidly become my favorite tools for every presentation in my hardwater repertoire – from feeding rattle spoons to walleye, to jigging giant tubes for lakers.”
We invite viewers to post questions to the Facebook and YouTube live streams, while Gussy, Kong and DeRose provide the answers needed to help viewers catch more and bigger fish through the ice. Shimano School is in session starting at 8 PM EST on Tuesday, December 14.