Converted User of Automatic Fisherman

Automatic Fisherman successMy mother bought me an auto for Xmas last year… I didn’t think much of it. I took it to Maine fishing with me and set it along with all our other tip ups. Well very soon we discovered that our whole group of adult men turned into excited little children when that rod snapped up!!! Haha.

We had a blast with it! I immediately ordered 5 more setups! So this years trip I had a full array of autos set amongst 35-40 tip ups. When a flag went up on a tip up, a few guys would go and tend it. But when an auto sprung, it was a stampede of snowmobiles and quads !!!!

The whole gang got turns at reeling in beautiful land lock salmon and some fair size togue. Fish after fish…. It was super exciting !! I’ll never use a tip up again! Thanks

2017 Video Contest

We are offering a video contest for Automatic Fisherman. Win up to $200! The purpose of this contest is to have fun and show off online. Videos can be about:
• Tips on using our products
• Catch fish
• Kids Catching Fish
• Something Funny
• Anything else you think our customers and fans would like to see
Automatic Fisherman will select the final five videos to be voted on by you the public via Facebook. Selection will be based upon views, likes and comments.

You can share right to our Facebook page here and we will transfer for you.

Rules located at

2,000 Facebook Likes

We are working with pro-staff to bring more photos, videos and stories to help you catch more fish! We want to share more on Facebook to make it easy for people to find and read. As a special promotion, we will be giving away a Heavy Duty Hoodie Sweatshirt upon hitting 2,000 likes. You can see it by clicking here.

We can get there more quickly with your help. Consider inviting your friends. It is super easy. Here is a screen shot from


Shallow Water Walleyes

Shallow Water Walleyes
by Steve Ryan

Shallow water walleyes present unique challenges for ice anglers. It’s about walking softly and carrying a stiff stick. These fish are in such skinny water that the ice can be nearly as thick as the water beneath it. Presentations and equipment must be refined to fool these wary fish. You can see them, and they can potentially see you. Blink and they’re gone.

On Green Bay, Wisconsin, Guide Bret Alexander waits until late ice to experience the best shallow bite of the season. With safe ice arriving shortly before New Year’s Day, he takes advantage of the incredibly consistent and prolific whitefish fishery. Walleyes are available for those willing to fish the 20- to 40-foot contours during low-light periods, but when groups can load up on 100-plus great-eating whitefish in a morning, walleyes take a back seat. It’s not until giant prespawn walleyes show up in greater numbers and slide into water less than 6 feet deep that walleye fever takes hold.

“When the weather turns nicer in March and anglers flock to the rivers in their boats to catch small, staging male walleyes, we relish the opportunity to catch double-digit fish in just a couple feet of water on short jigging rods,” he says. “The weather is comfortable. New fish move in every day and personal-best fish often are caught daily. It’s the perfect time to be on the ice cracking ‘eyes.”

Prespawn Walleyes
While walleyes can continue to be caught along deeper shoreline contours throughout late ice, the most consistent and exciting bite occurs in bays with features that attract prespawn walleyes. Essential elements include flats with easy access to deep-water migratory routes; sheltered bays lined with seepage areas that provide late season runoff; and irregular depths and distinct transitions in bottom content. Vegetation or small creeks that attract and retain baitfish are beneficial. These factors offer the ideal combination of food, shelter, and spawning grounds for prespawn walleyes.

Once Alexander finds a likely walleye holding area, he devises a plan to intercept as many fish as possible. Shallow fish can be easily spooked, so he gets an early start each morning. More than an hour before first light, he fires up his 10-inch Jiffy Pro 4 auger and drills from a couple dozen to nearly a hundred holes. “The Jiffy Pro 4 has a powerful 49cc 4-stroke engine that runs on a small propane tank,” he says. “That means easy starts in the dark without mixing gas, priming, or choking. Plus, it runs quieter and cleaner than gasoline engines.”

Holes are spaced from 15 to 30 feet apart, depending on the size of the area to be covered. Successive straight lines of holes are drilled parallel to the shoreline to cover multiple depths and to increase the odds of locating areas that funnel walleyes.
After drilling holes, the area is allowed to “rest” for 20 to 30 minutes before an assortment of jigging techniques are employed. During this time, holes are scooped and Frabill Arctic Fire tip-ups and Automatic Fisherman units are baited with emerald shiners or golden shiners and set in holes not reserved for jigging. He drills a second hole close to each of these holes, occasionally jigging a large flashy spoon or lipless rattlebait in these open holes. This approach triggers bites from walleyes that were already drawn in by the livebait and also attracts walleyes to the livebait, even though they may refuse the lure being jigged.

Catching shallow ‘eyes requires stealth. “When targeting these late-season walleyes, you have to figure that the fish are holding under the ice in shallow water all night long, becoming active at prime feeding times,” Alexander says. “As the sun gets high in the sky, walleyes pull out to deep water, returning shallow that evening. We are literally walking over them on the way out each morning and anything you can do to not disturb them during this pre-dawn period is essential. So I drill and prep holes in complete darkness. Once first light comes, we avoid running our Ranger ATVs through the area and advise customers against walking around with ice creepers. Any extra noise or vibration on the ice can make these already wary fish much more difficult to catch.”

In clear-water settings, Alexander prefers subtle jigging techniques with a mix of Rapala Jigging Raps, Salmo Chubby Darters, and jigging spoons. He favors lures that kick out to the side and provide a swinging action under the hole. “When fishing in water 3 to 6 feet deep, walleyes are rarely cruising more than a foot off the bottom, so we keep presentations 10 to 12 inches above the bottom,” he says. “I typically start with a Jigging Rap and give it a quick snap, followed by a long pause, then another snap and pause, with a slight quiver of the rod tip. This quivering action gets the minnow head on the bottom treble hook to bounce and give off more scent. I repeat this process, varying the height of the snaps and the length of the pauses until fish tell us what they want.”

During low light, Alexander uses Vexilar sonar units to spot fish approaching the bait. When he sees a fish move in, he jigs slightly more aggressively. Shallow walleyes typically are feeding fish, so don’t give up on them if they move off sonar. They often come back within a few minutes to again inspect or take the bait. If a fish doesn’t commit on its second visit, change your lure to a different color or to a different style of bait.

Presentation Details
He says color preferences of walleyes can be dramatic at times. “It’s not uncommon to have groups of 12 to 20 anglers for a morning trip and I try to have at least two rods rigged for every angler with a variety of lure styles and colors. My favorites are #5 and #7 Jigging Raps in firetiger, chartreuse, white, and glow. At certain times, one color produces more fish than all others, and we change everyone’s lure to that color. Other days, the flash of a spoon or the natural rise and fall of a minnow on a jig is what they want.”

Alexander uses medium-heavy jigging rods in the 28- to 32-inch range, his favorites being Frabill’s 32-inch Ice Hunter and 30-inch Bro series rods. In shallow water, you typically only get one chance to stick fish when they bite, and these jig rods deliver more power and control than longer and slower-action rods. Alexander suggests 20-pound-test braided line and a 12-inch leader of 14-pound-test fluorocarbon. When landing big fish, the heavier line and abrasion resistance of the fluorocarbon leader help to lead “green” fish up the hole.

Larger diameter 10-inch holes are handy for turning fish up the hole in shallow water and for seeing fish as they move in on a bait. Sight-fishing can allow you to observe if a fish reacts positively or negatively to your jigging presentation. It also requires patience and minimal movement on the top of the ice.

As the morning progresses, brighter skies and light penetration can spook fish from the shallows. Alexander suggests covering holes with slush ice and reverting back to electronic “eyes.” An underwater camera can be helpful for spotting fish and locating clearings in weeds and patches of rocks, gravel, or bottom depressions that concentrate fish. He’s seen it happen many times—a handful of holes are drilled in a small area but one hole produces far better than the others. Slight changes in bottom content or surrounding cover are usually the reason, and an underwater camera is the best way to find these variations. Once located, these prime spots can be entered into a GPS unit for future trips.

Fehr on the Flats
Guide Luke Fehr of Manitoba takes a more active approach on his favorite big walleye fishery, Lake Winnipeg, which he considers one of the hottest waters in North America for shallow walleyes. “Most of our ice fishing takes place on the southern portion of Lake Winnipeg, which has a featureless basin with minimal structure,” he says. We primarily fish in 3 to 12 feet of water where the bottom content is mostly sand with a bit of rock or channel structure carved by current and waves.”

“Fish aren’t relating to specific structure. They roam, feeding on the constantly moving baitfish schools. We have to be mobile, efficient, and tactical in our approach to finding and staying on fish. I rely heavily on electronics, as well as quads and snowmobiles to get off the main ice road and explore away from the pack. Pressured fish in skinny water can be difficult to catch, so we try to find new fish daily.”

Fehr uses a Humminbird Ice 55 and 597 ci HD ICE to locate and catch fish. “I rely on the 597 ICE for its mapping and GPS capabilities. It gets me out to prime spots. Once there, I turn to the 55 to locate and work individual fish. We have plenty of water to cover so we fish aggressively with rattlebaits, spoons, and flashy jigs. My go-to lure is a Savage Gear Vibra Prey lipless crankbait. They now offer the Fat Vibe. I can use it to fish the entire water column quickly and efficiently. If we don’t get bit in a hole within 15 minutes, we move to another hole in that location, and if no one has a fish within an hour or so, we change locations. On shallow flats, it’s more effective to be mobile and pursue fish than to wait for them to come to you.”

Fehr uses 20-pound-test braid mainline and a 3-foot fluorocarbon leader. He prefers a 12- to 15-pound-test leader for larger spoons and rattlebaits, and 8-pound for smaller jigs. “The fluorocarbon leader adds stealth in the shallow water,” he says. “It’s slight stretch provides forgiveness when a hooked fish surges.”

For his shallow walleye system, he prefers 36- to 42-inch medium-power rods. “Longer rods are more comfortable and practical for hole-hopping,” he says. “You can fish standing up and not hunched over the hole sitting on a bucket. Plus, if you see the occasional fish come in high on sonar, the long rod allows you to instantly raise the lure into the strike zone without reeling in line.”

“To entice fish, I like to show them something that they haven’t previously seen,” he says. “Often, this means finding custom colors. Don’t overlook bright color combos that might seem gaudy to you but can be eye candy to big walleyes. This approach has added value late in the season when fish have been pressured and are more accustomed to the standard mix of lures and colors. Downsizing lures, as well as going with a funky color combination, can be killer.”

Alexander and Fehr’s shallow tactics are adaptable to waters of any size. Large featureless fisheries provide opportunities to spread out and use an active approach to targetiwalleyes that relate to shallow baitfish schools. On smaller systems, or those with deep-water basins, focus on the late-ice period when fish push shallow in preparation for spawning. Find areas that provide food, cover, and spawning grounds and be stealthy in your approach.

Bonus Round: Make the most out of your bonus lines on the ice

Ice fishermen are at a disadvantage because it can be hard to move around in the winter. We have to drill holes in each new area, and we often walk through deep snow and have to bundle up to handle frigid temperatures. On top of that, we can only fish straight up and down and can’t cast or troll to cover water.

Power augers, warm clothes, durable ice shelters and electronics have greatly increased our odds on the ice. Just because we have all of the proper tools, though, doesn’t mean we will automatically catch more fish. We have to develop and adjust a strategy for each lake we fish and each species we want to catch.

Bonus Line Advantage
A huge part of each strategy I develop is taking advantage of bonus lines. Many states allow more lines in the winter than in the summer, which is yet another way to increase the odds for ice fishermen.

Taking advantage of the maximum amount of lines will help you cover more area, catch more fish and even give you a shot at the biggest fish of the winter.

Read more here by clicking here.

Automatic Fisherman Modifications to help Catch More Fish

CIMG_0245The Automatic Fisherman can be used straight out of the package and drastically improve your catch rates over a conventional tip up, however there are a few modifications which will make for near perfect results!

Let’s begin by taking a look at how the Automatic Fisherman works.  First off, a rod is placed in the rod holder of the Automatic Fisherman base.  The line is then baited and sent down the hole.  The rod is then loaded onto the pin of the base and the line is placed over the end of the metal shaft.  Next, the bobber (that is placed between the first and second guides of the rod) is set to allow for the fish to take the desired amount of line before the Automatic Fisherman will deploy.  This is just a quick summary of how the unit works; now let’s break it down and improve our results even further!

Ice Stopper BobberThe Ice Stopper
The Automatic Fisherman relies on the use of the Ice Stopper Bobber in sub-freezing conditions to prevent the line from freezing in the hole, which could potentially render the entire setup useless as the fish would feel that resistance prior to the unit deploying.  The Ice Stopper Bobber freezes into the hole, while the Ice Stopper Solution placed inside remains in liquid form.  This allows your line to pass freely through the Ice Stopper Bobber even in the coldest conditions, maintaining the friction free presentation that is key to icing finicky fish!

Bobber Modification
The Automatic Fisherman comes with a bobber that is placed on the line between the first and second guides of the rod.  This bobber is used to determine the amount of line a fish can take before the Automatic Fisherman sets the hook.  Rather than placing the bobber on the line of the pole and deal with the potential of having the bobber become wrapped around the rod, this modification sends the bobber flying off of the line when the hook is set!

To build a deploying bobber, simply take a paperclip or piece of metal wire and string it through the bobber, leaving about two inches of wire on each side.  Bend the wire at a 90° angle in a straight line on each edge of the bobber.  Then take a pliers and wrap each end of the wire around to create a half circle.  The bobber can now be placed on the line where it normally would, and once the fish trips the Automatic Fisherman, the bobber will fly off and you no longer have to worry about it while fighting the fish!  This modification is extremely useful when changing bobber weights is necessary which I will discuss next.

Precision Balancing
This next tip can be a make or break factor when dealing with small or extremely finicky fish.  As we know with the Automatic Fisherman, the bobber placed on the line acts as a counterweight as well as a visual cue for when a fish grabs your bait.  Having the right balance between your counterweight and your bait/lure will essentially eliminate all resistance on the line when a fish grabs your presentation.

There are two ways to achieve perfect balance and thus create a resistance free presentation which will prevent fish from spitting your bait prior to the triggering of the Automatic Fisherman.  First, you can change the amount of weight to your presentation so that the line nearly pulls your bobber up without having a fish pull on the line.  This method works well, however having too much weight on your presentation may cause the presentation to become too gaudy, resulting in less bites.

The second option is to adjust your bobber weight based on your presentation.  This can be achieved by purchasing a variety of bobbers and setting them up as explained above.  You can then choose the properly weighted bobber to match your specific presentation.  For instance, when fishing for Pike and using large Shiner Minnows, a larger bobber will be required to prevent the minnow from raising the bobber.  On the other side, if you are using a small ice jig tipped with wax worms for Panfish, the lightest possible bobber will give the fish the least amount of resistance therefore making it more likely for them to eat the bait without feeling resistance and spitting the hook.

Crappies_HRTrigger Sensitivity
Another crucial component to the resistance equation is the triggering pin.  The triggering pin can be adjusted both with the bolt and the angle of the pin.  The bolt is used to get the pin in the ball park area to properly hold the rod at a 90° angle to the unit.  Once this is achieved, the pin can then be tweaked to adjust the sensitivity of the trigger.

Care must be taken when adjusting the sensitivity of the trigger, as the rod can very easily deploy and if you have your face in the immediate area above the unit you might get slapped silly!  I recommend having the line wrapped around your hand to have control of the tripping of the unit as well as keeping a safe distance from directly above the rod.

To achieve the lightest possible setting, the tool supplied with the unit should be used to bend the pin slightly each time until the Automatic Fisherman trips with nearly zero resistance but also will not randomly trip from a gust of wind.  This fine tuning may take a bit to get just right, but once it is set will lead to many more hookups in the future!  Once each pole is adjusted to its base, I like to number or label the pair so that I keep the same rod with the same base to prevent having to re-adjust things.

Counterweight Placement
Whether you are using the bobber through the line or the modified paperclip bobber, determining how much line to allow the fish to take before the unit deploys can also make a big difference in your catch at the end of the day!  I recommend starting with various bobber locations which will help you determine what is most productive on that given day.  There will be days where setting the bobber right on the ice next to the unit will be necessary to give the fish the maximum possible amount of line, while other days you might only want the fish to get an inch of line before the unit trips!  Paying attention to what works on that specific day will lead to more hookups!

Setting Depth
Getting your desired depth just right can be challenging with the Automatic Fisherman since the rod tip is placed onto the pin and then additional line is used to set the bobber in the desired location.  There are a couple ways to ensure your bait is set at the desired depth.  A simple way of getting your depth right is to simply determine where bottom is, then to use a marker to mark that spot on the line.  Make sure to wipe the line dry prior to doing this to ensure the marker will work properly.

Another option is to use a flasher to adjust your line once the system is setup.  I prefer this method as it can be done quickly and precisely.  Care must be taken when adjusting the line, as too much tension will result in the unit deploying!

Automatic Fisherman TipsDrag Control
Properly set drags are as important as any other facet of this unit, as they are your line of defense while you make your way to the hole.  Having your drag set too tight can easily lead to break offs, while a loose drag may prevent a good hook set which may allow the fish to spit the hook before your arrival.  When determining the proper amount of drag I like to set the rod into the unit and load it on the pin.  I then wrap the line around my hand and pull straight down until the unit trips.  I then continue to pull the line to ensure the drag is set to allow the fish to take line while maintaining a steady pressure against the fish.  Obviously when fishing Panfish the drag should be set much lighter than when chasing large Pike or Steelhead!

Rod Selection
The type of rod and action of the rod being used ultimately determines the magnitude of the hook set.  Choosing the right action for the species being targeted will ensure the proper amount of pop when the unit trips.  When targeting Panfish, a light action rod will prevent the unit yanking the lips off the fish, while a medium or even medium-heavy action will ensure a solid hook set when targeting Pike.

Getting the most out of your Automatic Fisherman will undoubtedly be the difference in an average and an exceptional day on the ice!  I hope a few of these tips will lead to even more productive days on the ice using your Automatic Fisherman!

Send Us Your Fish Stories

Hello this is Kerry Paulson owner of the Automatic fisherman. I would like to say thanks to everyone that has purchased our product past and future and see if you have any pictures or videos of fish you caught on the system. If so you can send them to us at and we will put them on our new web site.