Basic Ice Fishing Questions. Please help. Going out for my first time….?

I am an avid fisherman. However, I have never been ice fishing. I totally got hooked up for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited. I have all the essentials including a great selection of jigs. I know I can just “google” some ice fishing tips, but some personalized answers from experienced anglers would be much appreciated. So I will post a few basic (and ignorant) questions below that I would love to have answered.

1) Safety. When do I know the ice is safe enough to go out?
2) Location of holes. I am getting a four man shanty. Do you drill the holes parallel with each other or can you do a “four corners” type thing? For example… if you can do the “four corners”, would it be safe to step in the “t” shape (middle) left in the ice?
3) Bait and jigs. What are good baits and jigs to use? Do minnows or night crawlers work well? How about tipped on a jig? (there are walleye, crappie, large mouth and smallies in the lake I will be fishing)
4) Other essential equipment. I know I am going to get out there for the first time and be like “Sh!t, I forgot the…” What crap am I gonna forget that I need to bring?

So, yeah. Any advice would be much appreciated. I have the epuipment, a case of beer and some fresh herbs just waiting to hot box the sh!t out of my shanty. I can’t wiat!
Let me be a little more clear on the location of holes. Basically, what is a safe distance between holes without weakening the ice? Or is such a mass quantity of ice not going to weaken? I just don’t want to step between some close holes and fall through. You smell what I steppin’ in?

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I have just bought a fishing rod, reel, 8lb line, floats and lures, what goes on the line first etc?

I know how to tie knots etc, I’m just a bit unsure of how I set up the line, I am going fishing for trout, my rod is set up and the line is through the last eye on the rod, can someone tell me what gets tied on first? (bubble I think, then 2nd etc etc)

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When fishing, how long should you wait after the fish first bites to try and reel it in?

I have been fishing a few times now. Sometimes when I feel a fish biting, I reel in too soon and it goes away. Is there anyway to make sure that the fish is caught on the hook and when should I start trying to reel it in after I feel the bite?
I go fishing in a river with live worms.

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What to do/buy first for my upgrading of fly fishing gear?

I am fishing on the North and Main Branches of the Ausable River between dawn and dusk. I am fishing for small to medium sized trout, and I was foolish and bought a 7/8 weight rod with preloaded 7 weight line. I was told to use a 5 weight outfit from orvis by Tom Rosenbauer from the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast, and I plan to do that, but I so badly want to get into tying flies, because I want something to do while I am not fishing.(I only go upnorth to the AuSable 3 times a year, each trip for a week, and a few 3-day weekends) I want something to do while I am home, preparing for the next trip. I want to buy the Orvis Fly Tying Kit, but I am also wanting to buy the Orvis Streamline 5 wt. Outfit. Will I be okay with the 7/8 weight until I have enough money to buy the 5 wt. outfit? Should I buy the Fly tying kit first? or the new outfit first? (I am 15, turning 16 in a few months, and just doing odd jobs to save up for fly fishing things, so I dont really make a whole lot of money, but I want to buy one of these items) What one should I buy first?

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Missouri fishermen celebrate 100th anniversary of first bass tournament with reenactment

Missouri fishermen celebrate 100th anniversary of first bass tournament with reenactment
Warren Platt and Brent Wagaman were taking a trip back in time. One hundred years ago to the date, two lure manufacturers competed in the first bass tournament — a contest to see which of their surface plugs could catch the most fish.

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