Halloween decoration have been in stores for two months. Thanksgiving decorations are up. This means that its time to start thinking about ice fishing and new ice fishing gear.
Ice Fishing Tip-up Rigs
If you need one, you need 3. Don’t exceed the rod limit. These tips ups are basic but keep. With a hit, they spool out line until you get to them. You even get a minnow net. Add a little bell to the arm so you don’t have to watch. Tip-ups are as old as forever. They’re simple and effective. Just cut the hole in the ice and place the rig.
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Thermal Tip-Up Rigs protect the arm and line link from the extreme cold. This one covers a 10″ hole. With thermal or traditional. you have to lift the tip-up to pull in the fish. Its a little bit more difficult to check your bait with a thermal because you just can’t pull the line. With the wooden center post, its a little more difficult to lift. Many people say the the wind can’t move a thermal rig. They are neat, but too complex for me. I have fished a lot in the sub-attic and never had a traditional tip-up fail. Lots of people are switching to this modern rig.
If you have been ice fishing for a long time, you might want to use one of these again. About 60 years ago, my father-in-law made his own ice fishing rail after he saw one in a sporting goods store. I inherited two from him and used them for years. They go over a huge hole. The ice does not have to be flat for them to function. Because the flag is released only when the spool turns, there are very few false alerts. These are cumbersome to carry. The flag release does need to be clear of ice. You may need an ice fishing rail as part of your new ice fishing gear 2020.
Rod Holder Tip-up
If you are like me, you like to play fish with a rod. For ice fishing I like an ultra light, but any rod will do. If I am jigging, I have to hold the rod. Just waiting, I set the rod down. Before, I always propped my rod on a forked stick so I could see movement. Now there’s a tip-up rod holder that does it all. You can easily grab your rod to play the fish. No hand over hand reeling. I think its more fun to land a fish through the ice with a rod than by just pulling line.
Ice Fishing Gloves
When I started ice fishing, I wore regular gloves. If I had a bit, the gloves came off. My hands froze. There are lots of styles of ice fishing gloves that are water proof. If you don’t intend to completely soak your hands, water resistance gloves work well. There are three finger pairs for added warmth. Pull-back mittens make baiting a hook easy without taking off your gloves. Cold hands can ruin a fishing trip. A pair fishing gloves is a good idea.
Ice Fishing Footwear
If you are ice fishing, you are standing on ice or snow covered ice. You need warm boots. Sorel makes a heavy, insulated boot great for hiking through snow. You will also be comfortable standing around on the ice waiting for a hit. They are great for slogging through mud that’s not too deep. Even wearing heavy warm, water pants, falling on the ice can hurt and soak you. If you are walking on flat ice, you might want to wear cleats. There are different harnesses, latches, grips and materials. Cleats are easy to carry in a back pack. They are inexpensive. Why not carry a pair just in case?
Other Things You Need
You need an ice auger to cut the ice. There are lots of power augers. Many people think power augers are too heavy and noisy. People often carry hand augers in case the power auger fails. Power augers make things a lot easier once you’re on the ice. I have always used an ice chisel. Its a bit of work, but there is no chance of getting gas or oil in the fishing hole. They are easy to carry and don’t break down. But, without a wrist strap, they do shoot out of sight in a hole pretty quickly. A hand auger is light but bulky to carry. They do a great job cutting through the ice once the hole is started.
Keeping your ice fishing hole slush free is important. When you think of new ice fishing equipment, you need to think slush scoop. There are plastic scoops and metal scoops. Personally, I like to use a completely metal ladle with about a 10-12″ metal scoop. Because slush and ice can be heavy, a sturdy handle is best.
You can sit on a tackle box. A log is a good idea. I started carrying a light folding chair made of clothes to be comfortable. It straps on top of a back pack and is not affected by cold, water or snow.
This is the basic new ice fishing gear you should consider when you are thinking of new ice fishing 2020. Make a check list of everything you want to take for a day on the ice, now. Add to it when you think of something. Hopefully, you won’t out on the ice and realize you forgot something.