Ladredge Structure on a String
by Deitz Dittrich & Paul Waldowski
Deitz: Have you ever received a gift from someone and thought to yourself, "Hey thanks," and then thought, "Like I would ever be caught dead using or wearing that."? Paul Waldowski and I were in that boat this last winter. Maybe not exactly like that, but that is bit how we felt. With that in mind, please bear with me as we try and explain one of the biggest items to hit the ice-fishing world this next year.
Paul: The funny part of this was, I thought the same as Deitz when I received mine. I remember my exact thoughts, "You've got to be kidding me." Well… This is not a joke! It all began early last winter. When it comes to new items, I'm like a little kid with a new toy and find it hard to turn down. I contacted Deitz, and he also agreed. We sent our shipping addresses and awaited our new product.
Deitz: Shortly thereafter both Paul and I received a product in a box to test out. When I opened the box I may have even giggled. I said to my wife, "Hon, you have to check this out." In the box was a product called Structure on a String. It consisted of a heavy sinker, a length of line, and a plastic weed wrapped on an extension cord holder. Both Paul and I received four of these units. I pretty much set them aside for much of the winter, as I didn't have much confidence in them, however, when FishingMinnesota.com prepared for the Northern Minnesota Ice Fishing Swing get together in March, I packed them with the rest of my gear; I also e-mailed Paul and told him he should do the same. We both agreed that Upper Red Lake would be the ideal place to test them out as it has minimal natural structure of its own. We could really put the weeds to the test.
It wasn't until day three or four of the Ice Fishing Swing that Paul and I discussed "planting" a weed bed on Upper Red Lake may be a "good" time, if not a funny one. The premise of Structure on a String is that the fish will find the cover and suspend by it thus giving you more chances to catch fish because they just might hang around your hole longer. Again, I have to admit I was very skeptical!
Paul, myself, and quite a few other FM members started drilling holes in the early afternoon, knowing that on Upper Red that the more holes you drill the better chances you have of finding the fish. Paul and I discussed how we should go about "planting" our weeds. Paul decided to use more of a V shape to draw the fish in, while I used only three of my Structure on a String to make a triangle around the hole I had planned to fish. Both of us left about three to five feet of room between the holes that the weeds were in and the ones we were fishing from in hopes that the fish would not get caught in the system. After setting my "Bermuda Triangle" of Structure on a String, I proceeded to drill about twenty other holes.
When I returned to my center hole (the one in the weeds) I could see a fish suspended on my LX-3. I dropped my Scenic Tackle Go Devil Spoon down and pulled from the hole one of Upper Red's beautiful 14" crappies. As soon as I put that one back down the hole, yet another showed on the screen of my LX-3. When I was done, seven of the monster crappies had come through the hole in about a minute and a half. I then checked the other twenty holes, to no avail. When I returned to the Triangle, I had found that more fish had found the weeds and were ready to feed. I caught six more. Paul, in the meantime, was finding similar success.
Paul: I had put down six weeds in order to "surround" my house with them and was fishing right in the middle of the "patch", and it was providing some pretty fast action. I had also tied on a Go Devil Spoon as that lure allowed me to fish at a faster pace and thus take advantage of a hot bite. This bite continued at a very steady pace through the evening, while the other ten or twelve other anglers who were with us were picking up a straggler fish or two here and there.
Deitz: I could have sold that last Structure on a String for some pretty big bucks (remember I had only put three of my four down). I borrowed them to Hole Hopper and son who were on the trip with us. The two, by that time, were totally sold, as every time Paul or I would catch a fish from a hole by the weed we would yell out, "Another fish out of the weeds." Once Hole Hopper and son had their weed planted, it was not long before their action increased.
When all was said and done of the fish we caught, 85% or more came from holes that were drilled within ten feet of the Structure on a String. Coincidence? I think not.
I am sold and vow to never laugh at anybody who uses this product; not only will I not laugh, I will be joining you. This product is for real and will be along on many of my ice fishing trips this ice-fishing season.
Deitz Dittrich and Paul Waldowski