Essential Ice Fishing Gear
Last time, we started talking about what essential ice fishing gear you need to catch fish through the ice. My preference is to fish outside, which means that I absolutely must wear clothing that keeps the elements at bay.
Advancements in cold-weather clothing make this system work. You start with a performance base layer against your skin. They help keep you warm and move moisture from your skin if you heat up walking and drilling holes. Socks are better than ever, sharing these characteristics. Layer additional warmth for the day’s conditions, using fleece or other insulation. On the outside, my recommendation is a bibs and parka created for ice-fishing.
I wear the Ascent Float suit by Clam, one of several offerings that keep you from sinking if you fall through the ice. Suits of this type are waterproof and block the wind. Padded knees let you comfortably kneel down to fish. Dave Genz says it best: it’s like wearing a portable shelter.
Finish things off with warm boots, a warm hat that covers your ears, and gloves. I keep a towel and hand warmer in each side jacket pocket, and go with big gloves that I can shed with a flip of the wrist. When I’m jigging I wear the gloves but as soon as I hook a fish I can ‘snap’ the gloves off, land the fish, then shove my hands in the pockets with the towels while they’re still in the jacket. The hand warmers bring my fingers back to operational temperature and I put the gloves on and start jigging again. My favorite gloves are Clam’s Renegade or Extreme.
You need bare hands to deal with hooks, tie knots, put on bait or plastics. But keep those hands warm and dry or your fishing day will be miserable.
If you fish outside like I do, you can use a longer rod, say 32-36 inches long. There are advantages to using a longer ice rod. You don’t have to be right next to the hole, and you can stand in a comfortable position, jigging with your arm hanging by your hip and keep the rod tip just above the hole, so wind can’t blow your line around, which makes it harder to detect bites.
The tip is where you get lure action from. The midsection is where you get power to fight fish along with the right amount of flex to help keep the fish hooked when it shakes its head or goes on a hard run. The butt is where you get brute strength.
You only need two rods for each weight/type of bait you use, so I love having high quality, sensitive rods that help me feel bites and fight fish.
There are other approaches to ice-fishing, but this is the way I like to do it and that’s the essential ice fishing gear you’ll need in order to fish comfortably and effectively.