words Al Woods
Ice fishing refers to the practice of using lines and hooks to catch fish through a hole created in the ice. Although it sounds daunting to some, ice fishing is becoming increasingly popular and has developed a lot in recent times.
So long as you are equipped with the right gear and your trip has been planned thoroughly beforehand it can be a fun and enjoyable experience.
When confronted with such extreme conditions, you must be prepared with the essentials. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced ice angler or someone new to the sport, there are some basic but essential items that you should bring with you.
Below, we have identified the gear that we consider to be an essential addition to an ice fishing trip. There are many other sites available that provide you with further detail on all of the gear that you require for ice fishing.
Due to the potentially hazardous conditions that you are likely to encounter on your ice fishing trip, particular pieces of equipment are deemed to be essential. Unlike a fishing trip that mainly centers around the use of a bucket and rod, when going ice fishing you will need to be prepared for the temperature and treacherous surfaces.
Wrap up – it’s going to be cold
As I’m sure you’ve gathered, ice fishing means that you are going to be confronted with some pretty cold temperatures and so it is important to ensure that you are wrapped in layers to prevent the cold from intervening with your enjoyment of the experience. As you leave your house to embark on your trip, you are yet to know what the temperatures on the ice are going to be like and so it is worth wrapping up in plenty of layers. It’s better to be warmer than standing on the ice wishing you’d thrown on that extra layer. While you want your clothing to be warm, it should be breathable too. When wearing so many layers you are more likely to sweat and clothes that aren’t made from breathable materials are going to cause this sweat to build up rather than dissipate resulting in an uncomfortable experience for you.
Footwear is also important. Of course, they must be comfortable and sufficiently ventilated to keep you warm as you embark on your outing, but they also need to be suitable for traveling across the ice too.
Now that you’ve layered up and you’re equipped with the correct footwear, remember the other parts of your body that are going to be exposed to these extreme temperatures and wear gloves and a hat.
An Ice Fishing Shelter to protect you from the cold and wind
An ice fishing shelter is a valuable addition to your fishing gear and can make your life much easier when you are sat on the surface of the ice surrounded by cold and wind. They also provide a convenient place for storing all of your fishing gear for the duration of your outing. Set up your heater just outside and you are then prepared for the extreme temperatures. The size and the material used to construct the shelter can differ depending on the manufacturer. Ensure that your shelter can house all of your equipment and fellow anglers if you fish in company.
Fishing Rods and Reels
The quality of your equipment is going to determine the success of your fishing trip. Many people are likely to wonder whether the rod that they use for traditional fishing can be used for ice fishing but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Traditional rods aren’t designed to endure the harsh conditions of ice fishing. Similar is the case with the line. When exposed to cold waters the line is unlikely to hold up, instead becoming brittle and possibly breaking. Anglers may choose from a jigging rod or a tip-up, both of which have been designed to withstand the elements of the icy waters.
Also remember that in most instances, unless you can drive along the surface of the ice, you will need to transport your fishing gear to your fishing gear by foot. For this reason, it is important to consider the weight of the gear that you choose. Heavy and bulky equipment is likely to prove challenging when it comes to transporting it across the ice.
Now you’re prepared with your warm attire and fishing gear, you are likely wondering how you are going to get to the fish that are currently concealed by the icy surface and this is where an auger comes in. An auger is a piece of equipment that allows you to drill a hole into the surface of the ice and there are many variations available. While some who have previous experience of using an auger may opt for one that is hand-operated, others may prefer to use an automatic auger that does the majority of work for you.
An Ice Scoop
An ice scoop is going to be an essential addition to your fishing gear. The scoop is going to be used to remove the slush that has gathered around the hole in the surface of the ice. You don’t need a specific ice scoop and there are many different options available that are likely to cater to your needs.
Plenty of Jigs and Live Bait
Jigs and live bait are an important pairing when discussing the essentials for ice fishing. Although jigs can be used with live bait, they tend to be successful in catching fish when used with plastic too. Often the type of tackle that you choose depends on the fish that you are aiming to catch. While it is possible to fish with live bait it is important to note that live bait isn’t going to last as long as other options because following exposure to the cold it is likely to deteriorate. Ensuring that you have an insulated box to hand makes it possible to fish using live bait as the box is going to preserve the live bait for longer. You will soon be informed of a jig bite once it has been submerged in the water, as your line is likely to begin moving.
Although we have touched upon this previously, we would consider a heater to be a worthwhile investment. Some may not consider a heater an essential, however, if you are likely to be on the ice for a while, investing in a heater could be beneficial. The type that you choose is largely based upon personal preference. A heater can make a huge difference to anglers who feel the cold pretty quickly.
A sled can make a world of difference
While some may choose to transport their fishing gear across the icy terrain by hand, others may find it easier to invest in a sled. This makes the task of transporting your gear much easier. Ice fishing gear can be heavy and in many instances, it is almost impossible to transport it without the use of a sled. Until you arrive at the lake, unless you have previous experience at fishing at the location, you are unlikely to be familiar with the expanse of the area and you may be required to spend a lot of time on foot to reach your desired spot. A sled allows you to preserve your energy for the day ahead by instead allowing you to transport your gear without needing to carry it.