Ice fishing is a pastime understood only by those in very cold climates. It is an especially popular sport in North America that involves catching fish through a hole in the ice. However, there is much more to the sport. The time spent bonding with nature and fellow fishermen is invaluable, despite the frosty temps.
The Fishing “Pole”
Ice fishermen use fishing rods like any other angler. It must be easily flexed, with a tip that moves with the slightest tug of the fishing line. The guides, or holes through which the fishing line is thread, must be large. Use a micro spinning reel that is built for extreme fishing environments. Use a jigging rod if you are fishing for pan-size fish, and jig hooks. If you don’t want hold onto a fishing rod the entire time you are ice fishing, use a tip-up, which sits over the ice hole and raises a flag to alert you when a fish has grabbed the line.
In addition to bait appropriate for the fish you want to catch, bring a tackle box that includes pliers; a compass; fingernail clippers to clip fishing line; a knife; hand warming packs; and the proper weights, bobbers, jigs, hooks, etc., needed to fish. Only the bobbers need to be specifically made for ice fishing.
Take something to sit on, like a five-gallon bucket or folding chair made for the ice fishing field. Also take an ice chisel (if early in the winter) to cut out a hole in the ice, or use an auger for mid to late winter; a skimmer to scoop ice out of the hole; a collapsible shovel to remove any snow cover on top of the ice; and a sled to help carry everything. Make sure that the bucket you are sitting on has a lid, so you can also use it to hold your fish. Also, bring a first aid kit for any injuries that might occur. Don’t forget a cell phone. Dedicated ice fishermen may want to invest in a shantee or ice fishing shelter and/or a portable heater.