Ice Fishing 101

It’s ice fishing season and we couldn’t be more excited to get out there and become an even better hardwater angler. If you’re new to the sport and you’re just getting ready for one of your first trips out on the icy water there can be quite a lot for you to learn.

From gearing up to using sonar, we’ve put together this list of 6 ice fishing essentials to help steer you in the right direction for your best catch.

1. Clothing

When people say they don’t enjoy ice fishing, majority of the time what they really mean is they don’t get pleasure from frozen fingers, frostbitten toes, ice-covered ears and chilled backsides. Trust us, we don’t enjoy that either. That’s why we wear two pairs of socks and two sets of long underwear. The first layer made of thin, lightweight silk that wicks away any moisture and the second layer consisting of wool-polyester-polyamide blend.

Your next layer should consist of wool pants and a thin turtleneck sweater followed by an ultra-thick pure wool turtleneck sweater that keeps you so warm you’ll only need to pull on your jacket when the temperature dips below -25 degrees. Purchasing an extreme-weather suit will be one of the wisest investments you ever make if you’re really serious about ice fishing.

2. Auger

When you run-and-gun, expect to drill at least 150 holes over the course of a day. Also be prepared for ice that’s three to four feet think, so you’ll need an extension on your auger to hit the water. Most importantly, you have better be using the lightest auger with the heaviest torque and sharpest blades you can find at your local hunting goods store.

Once you’ve drilled your holes, never lay the auger, particularly the wet blade, down in the snow. That will only ice it up and make it impossible to drill more holes later. Instead, start drilling a new hole stopping about halfway down and rest the auger upright in the hole which will help to dry off the blades.

3. Gear efficiency

The more unnecessary items you bring along when ice fishing, the more time it takes you to set up everything, and the more reluctant you are to move to a new location when the action slows down. If something’s not likely to be used, it doesn’t come along for the ride.

4. Tackle

When it comes to tackle, proper organization is yet another key to efficient and effective running-and-gunning. Carry all of your hard baits, jigs, spoons and other lures, inside small and medium-sized see-through plastic tackle trays. Dedicate one tackle tray to flash spoons and another to horizontal lures. Soft-plastic and scented baits should be stored in resealable plastic bags.

With everything organized and prepared you can stow your hardwater gear inside the box on the back of your snow machine and have everything you need throughout the entire season.

5. Boots

As for keeping your feet warm while running-and-gunning, it has nothing to do with how many layers of socks you put on. In fact, wearing too many socks will constrict the flow of blood to your feet and make them sweat causing them to get colder faster. What matters most are your boots, specifically the thickness of the sole.

Never buy a pair of boots with steel toes or shanks, no matter what the cold-weather rating is, or the price. Your feet will freeze. In addition, never wear your boots in your vehicle as you drive to your ice-fishing destination. Your feet will be sweating by the time you arrive, your boots will be filled with moisture and your feet will chill faster than you can say “let’s go home.” Instead, wear a pair of loose-fitting, lightweight running shoes for the drive and put on your boots when you step outside the vehicle.

6. Sonar

A quality ice-fishing sonar unit is another hardwater fishing essential. In fact, you really can’t run-and-gun without one, since the name of the game is targeting a wide variety of depths and structures.

Ice-fishing sonar units typically sport an arm that positions the transducer out over the middle of the hole. Try lowering that transducer cable through the hole until the head is below the ice, even if it’s three feet or more. That will allow you to receive crystal clear signal.

Now that you have your list of ice fishing essentials, it’s time to hit up Triggers and Bows where you will find everything you need from top brand names at the best prices. Visit us today close to Brantford, Woodstock and Simcoe or save the cold visits for those ice fishing trips and shop our store online from the comfort of your warm home.