The second is when the rod tip is jerked. It is best to see that early strike, as it is the most productive, since there are many times that it is the only strike detected.
Fishing in the open usually is the best to see the line, but when in a shelter, or in situations when line color blends with a snowy background, early strike detection can be a problem. It is these times when certain things must be tried to change the background or lighting conditions. Another possibility is line color changes. There are several available – clear, yellow/gold, blue, solar green and fluorescent, to name a few. At times I will have rods rigged with different colors of lines, normally clear, blue and green, but if there is anyway to manage it, I will stick with the clear.
If changing line color doesn’t work then the next step is to alter light conditions. In the open the light is a bit difficult to change, but in the shelter there are a couple of possibilities. First are the windows. Depending on how many are available, try opening all completely, or partially. Then close one or two.
Change how they are opened until the right lighting is found. If this doesn’t work, close the windows, and try something like Frabill’s Shelter Lights, and angle them in different directions.
Next is changing “the background”. In other words, change what is behind the line. Snow and ice can be a helper. Try building up the sides around the hole, and see how the linecontrasts against it. There are times when dirtier snow, especially if stained by murky water from the drilled hole, will help as a background.
Remember, the key to successful straight-line fishing, is being able to have the maximum visibility of the line, and the most sensitivity possible. Give some of these tips a try, and hopefully you will have a more productive ice season.