Preparing for Ice Fishing Early Will Benefit You In More Ways Than One
Nov 21st, 2002 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Nov 21st, 2002 at 12:00 AM
It’s time to start thinking ICE again! The cold clear nights are lowering water temps into 30’s and 40’s. It wont be long until the channels freeze and then soon after, the lakes. It may not be time to put away the boats quite yet, but it is a good time to get the ice fishing equipment out. Sporting goods stores will soon be stocking the shelves with winter fishing gear. This is a good time to take advantage of the selection of tackle and equipment. It’s also best to purchase what you want early rather than waiting; coming to find out that what you wanted is no longer available. I like to make a list of what I need and what I ran out of the previous year. That way I can stock up to avoid running out while on a trip or on the ice. Some of the items that I like to have a plentiful supply include line, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, and the “hot baits” of the previous year. If you are looking at purchasing a new shelter or auger, this is the best time to do so. Most stores only get one shipment of shacks and augers in a year. Once they are gone, that’s it. The most important item that I think is best to have enough of is line. Panfish anglers use the lightest lines they can find. One, two, and three-pound test line is not as plentiful as the four through eight-pound test. It always seems that once the fishing gets good, the line disappears. The stores tell you that they will be getting a shipment in, but doesn’t seem to show up until ice out. Line can always be used so buy enough early and you won’t have to worry about running out it in the middle of the season when there’s none to be found. Every year also brings new baits and accessories. If you see something you like and think it may be a hot item, don’t hesitate to buy it. Again, most stores only make one order a year, so if you don’t buy it when you want it, chances are it may not be there when you need it!This is also a good time to get the augers out of storage and inspect them. If your power auger is in need of any repairs, get them in early to avoid the long wait brought on by the rush of first ice. Make sure to buy new blades or have the old ones sharpened. This will save a lot of time and strenuous work while out on the frozen ponds. Another overlooked preparation is charging the batteries for the electronics. While the battery may have been new last year, if you didn’t have it on a trickle charge throughout the summer, it’s a good chance that its deader than a mid-winter bite. Check the batteries for a charge and if they need to be replaced do it now.Fishing poles and tip-ups are the most important tools to ice fishing. After all, these are the tools that catch the fish. It’s confounding to see most anglers replace their line on their open water gear a few times a year. While ice anglers on the other hand, fail to change their line from year to year. Take the time while watching TV in your warm living room, to remove and replace your line. This will avoid the frustrating breaks and tangles while on the ice when its ten degrees with thirty mph winds. Have a safe year, and I will see you on the ice!!