Ice fishing is a great pastime during those cold, freezing months. During winter, you’re going to be cold anyway, especially in the northern states. Why not take some pleasure in the ice and snow season?
You don’t have to pack away your fishing gear once it starts to get chilly. Instead, invest in a great ice fishing rod and reel so you can head out to the ice.
But before you do, you need to be ready. From your ice fishing rod and reel to your tackle, you need to prepare.
We’re going to walk you through getting your ice fishing rod and reel ready and everything else required. This is what the professionals do.
Pick Out an Ice Fishing Rod
If you’re a newbie to ice fishing, it’s fair to say you don’t have an ice fishing rod. You can’t substitute with any rod, you need a rod made for ice fishing.
Ice fishing rods are a lot smaller than your average fishing rod, measuring in at three to four feet. It has to fit inside small spaces.
Are you looking to fish for the smaller fish or do you want to catch the big ones? This determines the rod power and it’s something to consider when you’re buying an ice fishing rod.
Don’t overlook the rod action. The rod action refers to how far the rod bends when a fish is on the line.
You might not be a newbie and you already have an ice fishing rod put away. When you pull that rod out, examine it.
Make sure everything is still intact. Check out the eyelets to make sure they’re not bent or broken.
You might need to get your ice fishing rod fixed. You might even have to replace it if it’s taken a big enough beating.
Pick Out an Ice Fishing Reel
Now that you have a safe ice fishing rod ready, you need the right ice fishing reel to along with it.
An in-line reel is one option for cold fishing. These reels sit underneath the fishing rod. It prevents tangling of your line while you’re casting or reeling the fishing line in.
It’s easier than you’d think to tangle up your fishing line when you’re ice fishing.
Most professional ice fishermen use spinning reels. They’re small so they don’t overpower the small rod. And it keeps your ice fishing combo lightweight.
The best reels for ice fishing are ultralight reels. You don’t need to spend the extra money on heavier lines.
The fish are swimming a lot slower during the cold months. They don’t have the energy they would in the warmer months.
Get Your Fishing Line Ready
When you leave a fishing line unused on a fishing rod for a long time, the line can be brittle.
Which is why it’s important to check that fishing line before you head out. Make sure it’s still strong and it’s not torn. Replace it with a new line if you need to.
Never forget to check the fishing line or your ice fishing trip can end up a pointless disaster.
Fluorocarbon fishing lines are a great choice for ice fishing. Professionals love fluorocarbon line because it sinks faster, despite a current.
And they don’t get frozen since they don’t soak up too much water.
But if you plan on deep fishing, consider a braided fishing line instead. A braided line with eight strands soaks up less water compared to lines with fewer strands.
Bring the Right Bait
We can’t forget about bait. Any professional will tell you that bait is the most important aspect.
Without the right kind of bait, the fish aren’t going to latch on. Just as you would if you were fishing during any other season.
When you’re only ice fishing for panfish, you need insects and plankton. This is what panfish feed on during the colder months.
Since it’s hard to come by insects in the winter, tiny jigs will do fine. They resemble what these small fish are looking for.
If you’re fishing for the bigger fish, tiny spoons are perfect. They flash and all the white from winter intensifies that.
This flashing catches the eyes of the game fish, like walleye and trout. They’ll bite down and you’ll have to reel them on in.
Live bait, of course, is the best bait for any fishing. So, if you have access to live bait, we’d highly recommend that being your first choice.
You Have to Have an Auger
An auger is a necessity for ice fishing. When you don’t have one, you can’t ice fish. It’s as simple as that. Every professional has a hand auger for their fishing trips.
Without an auger, you have no way through the ice. Well, you might have a way but it’s going to be difficult and frustrating.
A hand auger will work well for your needs. You don’t need a big auger. That would be overkill.
Augers with lazer blades are superior at cutting through ice. It’s faster and easier for you.
If you already have an auger, make sure it’s in tip-top shape before you leave. It needs to be running right and have no damage that could affect its’ job.
Ice fishing rods and reels are only a step on your way to the perfect ice fishing trip. You need the right bait and the right equipment. We wanted to share how the professionals get ready for the ice fishing season. We hope this helps you ice fish like a professional.
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