|A flashlight or lantern is another important piece of equipment. Make sure that you
replace the old batteries with fresh ones, and test each unit out to make sure it still
emits a strong light. This could be a lifesaver out on the ice - ensure that they work
Include a strong rope in your pack this winter in the event that an accident
might occur. Years back, a snowmobiler hit a pressure crack and went into the water close
to where we were fishing. Luckily, we had a long length of rope and could get him safely
back on solid ice. Accidents rarely happen, but if they do, it is best to be prepared.
Take a rope that is at least 50 feet long, and with some sort of a floating device on the
end to make it easy to grasp hold of.
Lures and Tackle
Sorting through all of your tackle before opening day will enable you to see what is
needed or what can be discarded. Hooks that have become rusted should be thrown out and
replaced. I recently switched all of my old hooks to Excalibur Trebles; and have noticed a
significant increase in hook ups. These rotating trebles hold tight and are defiantly
worth their weight in gold.
Experiment with prism tape on your spoons to create different colour combinations. I
take along a few rolls of tape whenever I hit the ice, and will "doctor" my
baits if the fish take a shine to one particular colour.
Check the condition of your tip ups to make sure they are working properly. Replace any
hooks that are damaged or rusty, and check the first ten feet of line for nicks and
abrasions. Remember, this line can damage easily with the abuse it gets from the ice
around the hole.
If there is one thing I can recommend for those venturing out on the ice, it would be to
get yourself a quality floater suit this season. These suits are extremely warm and
comfortable and have the added insurance of floatation in case you happen to go through
the ice. They may cost more than a regular winter jacket, however, they are worth every
penny. I tried out a pair of neoprene gloves last season and the
uses are extraordinary for ice fishing. They work great to grab fish coming through the
hole, and excel as "jigging mitts" when holding your rod. They are very warm,
and waterproof, and have become a part of my ice fishing arsenal. If you haven't tried out
a pair of these specialty mitts, take them for a test drive this year.
Ice fishing is a fun and relaxing winter activity that can bring smiles during the cold
winter months. Preparation is the key concept for fun days on the water, and will prevent
heartbreak when venturing out. Have a great "hard water" season and reap the
rewards the ice can offer.