If you’re a beginner at ice fishing, you’ll want to follow these tips from Frabill at Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Frabill’s Ice Expert Dan Galusha recommends anyone wanting to start ice fishing should go after the panfish end of things. This will the fisherman action and save money on ice fishing tackle and equipment, all while letting them see how well they actually like it. Below are the basic ice fishing techniques he suggests for any beginning ice angler.
1. Starting on the ice is not expensive. The basic ice fishing equiptment tools are a rod / reel combination, an ice auger, jigs and bait. Galusha also suggests adding portable ice fishing shelters to your gear, especially after the first few times if the decision has been made to stay in the sport.
2. Galusha suggests a spinning combination with 24″ light action rod. He specifically recommends the Frabill 24″ Ultra Light Panfish Popper Plus Ice Combo for its ease of use and spring bobber. If budget allows, purchase two combinations. The reels are ultra lights, which can also be used during open water times of the year.
3. Next, comes an auger. This tool is essential, and a hand model may be preferred at the beginning, mainly because of cost. If you think you’ll stick the the sport, Galusha suggests a power auger. They cut through the ice quicker than manual models, but they do cost more.
4. Another essential of the sport is a stool to sit on while you’re out on the ice. Frabill has a combination of bucket and seat called a Sit-N-Fish, which also has an area for bait and tackle. This multi-functional product has a padded foam snap – on seat lid and beverage holders on inner bucket lid.
5. When it comes to ice fishing lures, Galusha recommends sticking to the basics. It’s good to have an assortment of sizes, which you can switch up when the action gets slow.
7. A portable ice fishing shelter is a great piece of equipment for any ice angler, no matter what level of experience. For a few more dollars, two- to three-man ice shelters can be purchased which will give room for a buddy, as well as extra equipment.
8. Ice fishing safety is very important, so be sure to have the proper warm clothing, including a good pair of gloves. Frostbite and hypothermia can be a serious problem for ice anglers. Wear thick gear like an ice fishing parka and flannel lined jeans.
9. Another product for safety on the lake is a set of ice picks that are worn around the neck on a cord. Hopefully a person will never have to use this device, but if they fall through the ice, it is the easiest way, other than having a rope thrown out by another person, to pull out of the hole.
10. As with everything, remember, safety first. Make sure the ice is thick enough (at least 3 to 4 inches). Check the ice fishing reports in your area. If possible, go with a buddy or near a group of other ice fishers. Even experienced ice fishermen can find themselves in some tricky situations if they let their guard down.