Hard water is here, folks. It’s time to get that ice fishing gear together. Sure, you can walk out onto the ice with little more than a rod and an auger to wet your line, but there are many options out there to make your ice fishing experience easier, warmer, and safer.
A Gas-Powered Auger
Manual, hand-crank augers get the job done, no doubt about it. But by the fifth or sixth hole (especially on thick ice), those shoulders are burning. Treat yourself to the ease of a gas-powered auger, like this Eskimo model, and you’ll be fishing pain-free in no time.
Reliable Ice Picks
Safety must be considered number one out on the ice. Sometimes, it can very difficult to gauge ice thickness or quality and accidents happen. A good pair of ice picks are a necessity to ensure you can pull yourself out of the water in case you were to fall through.
A Bright Headlamp
The sun seems to set a little quicker in the winter. Before you realize what’s going on, you can find yourself in the dark. Get yourself a quality headlamp, like this Coast one shown above, so you can safely get your gear together and get off the ice in one piece.
A Portable Propane Heater
Getting all of those layers on sure helps fight the cold, but a proper heater can be a game-changer. Consider a portable propane heater, like the Mr. Heater Little Buddy Heater shown here, for mobile warmth anywhere on the ice. Propane burns very clean so these heaters are a safe option inside your ice shelter as well.
Ice Fishing Sonar
An ice fishing sonar system is hands down the best way to elevate your ice fishing game. Easily see the water depth, your lure position, and fish all at once on a brightly colored screen. In real-time, you can watch that crappie zero in on your jig and prepare yourself for the impending bite. Check out any of the Vexilar systems as they are the best brand of the bunch.
A Good Pair of Pliers
Deep hooksets and lure repair are just part of everyday fishing and the ice season is no exception. A good set of needle nose pliers (like the Rapala Fisherman’s Pliers) are tapered to get deep into a fish’s mouth to remove a troublesome hook and feature a ridged gripping surface to prevent slipping.
Sometimes, it gets so cold that your tip-up spools can’t even spin. What’s the fun in that? Tip-up lubricants can keep things running smoothly all the way down to -60°F. Pack a tube of this stuff in your tackle box and even if it’s too cold to sit out on the ice, you can be sure that your tip-ups will be able to do the work for you.
A Map of the Lake You’re Fishing
Especially if a lake is newer to you, you won’t have a sense of where the good fishing spots are. Get yourself a topographic map of the lake you’re fishing to help guide you to drop-offs, holes, shallow humps, or whatever structure you’re after.
Check out the massive selection Gander RV & Outdoors has to offer for all the ice fishing gear you didn’t know you needed.