Ice Fishing is not for the faint of heart. It requires resolve, and it requires tolerance. Most of all, it requires planning. Hardwater Heroes know that if you start feeling cold, you’re already in trouble. Staying warm is priority number 1.
But, there are other priorities too. Having fun and reeling in the big one is the reason you’re there, right? Beyond staying warm you need the coolest gear and the ability to pick up and move when the action slows down.
Obviously you need to layer your clothes and invest into serious winter jacket and pants. Aside from that, here are a few critical must-haves.
Pop Up Tent
A proper ice fishing hut is always the superior option. But, if you're only out on the ice a few times a year or prefer exploring multiple lakes over the season, something more portable would be far more convenient.
It’s far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Thermal blankets are light, small, and legitimate lifesavers. While you’re at it, bring a throw blanket as an extra layer that can easily be taken off and put back on.
The best way to keep your outsides warm is to warm up your insides. Coffee or tea is not recommended, the caffeine actually speeds up blood flow and you lose heat. But a hearty stew or soup is a great way to keep comfortable.
Boots & Cleats
Good boots are essential to keep your extremities warm but we often forget how slippery it gets out there. One slip and you could end up getting wet, and that’s the fastest way to get cold. Avoid the fall with some hardcore cleats.
What goes for our feet goes for our hands. Most of us do a great job selecting gloves or mitts to keep us warm, but we often forget that we may find ourselves having to dip our hands in the water when it’s time to reel in the big one. Bring a secondary pair of gloves specifically designed for the task.
Jigging Rod & Tip-Up
Clearly you’ll need a rod for fishing. If you’re fishing multiple holes or simply want to sit back and relax you’re sure to be interested in a tip-up. Of course, if you want to splurge you could always up for a tip-up with a built in reel and avoid the rod.
Augers & Ice Slushers
There are a few things to consider when choosing your auger. Ease of use and the size of fish you’re after are the main deciding factors. A ladle is just fine for removing the slush from your ice hole. But it’s messy and it’s slow. If you’re out on the ice often, you’re going to want a better method.
Another item that you’d rather not have to use but absolutely must carry with you. If you ever fall through the ice you’ll be glad you have them.
One more thing you can do to keep warm is be happy. Good times with friends, moving around, and the thrill of landing the big one is scientifically proven (not fakenews: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/95/10/4689/2835223 : happiness produces cortisol. Cortisol regulates the circadian rhythm) to help you stay warm. We highly recommend ice fishing in a social setting. Beyond that, here are a few cool devices to help you have a good time while reeling in the catch of the day.
Fish Finder / Sonar
There are individual units which will measure depth, show you what’s right below you, provide GPS info, and show you what’s around you ina 100 foot radius. There is also some great tech out there there that offers all of the above.
If you think a sonar is too 2018, then you’re in luck! Drones are now under water and providing a whole new view. For the hardwater fisherman who has everything, this is your next game changer.
To see it in action click here
Or, for great gift ideas for the year-round angler, CLICK HERE