One of the most important tasks for anyone who wants to go ice fishing, is to prepare for next season. It’s late summer right now, so the season is only few months away. Lots of devoted ice fishing enthusiasts are starting to prepare for season right now. If you want to have great time on the frozen lakes, maybe you should too. Most people with subpar ice fishing equipment do fine, but people who have the most fun ice fishing are those who prepare very early. There are many parts of ice fishing equipment that you need to prepare, but we’re going to focus on most important ones – rod and reel, shelter, augers, clothes. At first glance, it might seem hard to make sense of all this. You might not even have any idea of what rods and reels are supposed to do. I tried to explain things for that level of understanding. First off, i’ll discuss shelters and other minor ice fishing equipment that might be useful to you.
There are few different types of ice fishing shelters. I can’t really recommend best shelter for you – for that, i’d need to know what your needs are. I can only give you broad outlines on how to choose shelter for yourself, and the rest is up to you. For instance, depending on how big your group of friends is, you should decide the size of the shelter you’ll get. I would recommend getting a shelter that houses at least four people though. Price difference between small and medium-size ice fishing shelters isn’t that much anyway. Plus, you might make more friends who like to go ice fishing, so it will be useful to extra room in your shelter, just in case.
Just because i and many other experienced ice fishing enthusiasts use it, doesn’t mean that you’ll need ice fishing shelter too. If you are beginner, there’s a big chance that you won’t need ice fishing shelter. Most beginners avoid extreme cold weathers and go ice fishing when weather is less extreme, so they can get away with not having shelter more easily.
Stereotype is that ice fishing is expensive hobby to have, but in truth, it’s the opposite. You can get started with simple chair and ice fishing rod and reel, plus jigs combo. All of that will cost you less than fifty dollars, if you do your research right before buying any product, you’ll be just fine. Many of the best ice fishermen i know have started that way. On the other hand, if you want to get serious with ice fishing and take on more extreme challenges to catch more fish, you will indeed need to slowly upgrade your ice fishing gear.
Having good ice auger is even more important than any type of clothes or shelter. The task of choosing good ice auger for yourself is much simpler, because there is much more narrow pool of options. You have manual augers, which are cheap and get the job done, but require manpower to operate. There are also electric and gas augers, which are automated and therefore take practically no effort on users’ end. The conclusion is – if you plan on drilling many holes, get expensive automatic augers, while if you think you won’t be drilling that much, it’s better to stick with manual augers to save money and time. You can technically survive without having ice auger at all, but manual ice auger costs too little for that to be a realistic option. The effort it takes to drill holes without ice augers is much more valuable than about twenty dollars, which is what good manual ice auger will cost you.
There are many more gadgets – for example, sonars and flashers that people use to catch more fish. They are by no means necessary for beginners to have fun, but having one is certainly a plus. Pros don’t want to waste time on discovering best spots for ice fishing or drilling holes with their hands and that’s okay. It’s totally different for beginners though – significant part of the fun is exactly the process of finding best spots to drill and drilling them. Still, modern gadgets are pretty powerful and if you have budget that allows for such luxuries, go for it. It will indeed help you catch more fish, but i still remain unconvinced that catching more fish equates to having more fun.
We have one major part of ice fishing gear left – clothes. By clothes, i mean boots and gloves too. High quality clothes – boots, gloves and bibs combined – will set you back by about three hundred dollars. Most of that cost will be due to bibs and boots. I have Frabill bibs and can attest to their excellent quality. Baffin is the best manufacturer of ice fishing boots, i think. I’ve owned two pairs over the years and they sure have kept their quality standards high throughout last few years.
Gloves are extremely important too. They protect your fingers, which are some of the most fragile parts of your body. You must absolutely make sure that gloves you get will be warm and waterproof, or you might put your health to risk. Good ice fishing gloves cost around twenty to fifty dollars. Some people also use skiing mittens, but i don’t like them because they lack dexterity. For more tips and tricks regarding the process of choosing ice fishing gloves, check out this tutorial. I, and probably you too, need to be flexible while on ice fishing trip.