Getting started in ice fishing obviously requires some upfront investment. You need to buy tools and learn ins and outs of the process. But there is right and wrong way to get started in ice fishing. The right way, in my opinion, is to start buying your ice fishing gears from core essentials, and then expand it to things that are nice to have, but aren’t necessary.
First and foremost, the cornerstone of any ice fishing tool kit is the rod. It is the one thing you use almost all the time. Good thing about ice fishing rods though, is that they’re quite inexpensive. Especially if compared to other ice fishing equipment like tents or clothing. For under fifty dollars, you can afford basic ice fishing rod and reel combo that will allow you to catch most common fish. That’s basically all you need – you can use anything to break the hole in the ice, and if you have ice fishing rod properly set up, you are ready to go. That’s inefficient in the long run, but perfect for when you’re just getting started .
But using random tools to make a hole in the ice isn’t always a good idea. It might work, but there are more efficient ways to perform the same task. Most effective, yet simple tool you can use to speed up the process is hand auger. Hand augers are rather simple – they are made of metal and have pointy ends, and they are supposed to be used manually. Compared to having no auger at all, they are indeed huge improvement, but there are ways to dig your ice fishing hole even quicker. You can achieve these feats by using either electric augers or gas powered augers. They are much faster and don’t put a lot of pressure on your body like hand augers do. In the beginning though, i’d recommend to stick with hand augers. The ones that dig a hole through ice automatically for you are good if you’re doing it a lot, and in the beginning, you don’t have to do it a lot.
Next, we have the rest – ice fishing shelters, clothes, and other minor accessories. Shelters are good investment only if you plan to go somewhere very cold. Otherwise, warm clothes and good gloves should suffice as a protection from cold weather. Buying shelter is also a smart idea if you have group of friends who like to go ice fishing, but none of you have one. I first heard(or read) this from ice fishing enthusiast who is also a blogger. You can buy one as a group and it will be much cheaper in the end. Or you can borrow from someone, if you know such a person. At first, renting an ice fishing shelter is also a viable option. You don’t want to buy one for using it that once. So it’s good idea to rent it to find out how much you like ice fishing. If it turns out that you like it quite a lot, you can buy shelter afterwards. Talking about various ice fishing shelters, their prices and differences, will take too long. That’s why i’ll recommend reading this tutorial about choosing good ice fishing shelters.
Boots and good socks for ice fishing trips are also worth buying, because you have to protect your feet at all costs. Same goes for gloves. Bibs on the other hand, aren’t essential, but if you have budget for it, they can make your trip very comfortable.