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The Boatless Angler - Chapter 6.1 - Gearing up for Ice Fishing!

Ice fishing is the only time a boatless angler is able to get off the shoreline and venture onto the lake! So as a boatless angler, there are a few things we can do to prepare for this exciting time. First lets go over the most important aspect of ice fishing and that’s the rod and reels!

Gearing up for Ice Fishing!
Part 1- Rod and Reels


Many boatless anglers have old beat up ice fishing gear, much of which is often a stick with line attached; if this is you, it’s time for an upgrade! Nowadays there are many different ice fishing rod and reel combo’s that you can get for a very low cost. What to look for is somewhat reflective of what you want to be fishing for this winter through the ice.

If you are the panfish angler, you want to find a rod which is light action, as it is needed to feel those subtle hits. If you are more of a walleye, pike or lake trout angler you want to find a rod that has a bit more back bone, as it will be needed to set the hook especially if fishing deeper waters.

But the most important thing to look for in an ice fishing rod no matter what you fish for is large guides. If you have small guides on your ice fishing rod you will have difficulty fishing as ice will build up and plug these up. This will prevent you from dropping your line or reeling it up.

To avoid this issue large eye guides will not totally freeze up and you can fish all day long no problem!


When purchasing a reel for ice fishing, get yourself a small spinning reel as they are very effective for all types of fish. Make sure you get one which has at least 3 ball bearings, as well as an instant anti-reverse.

The more ball bearings the smoother the reel, but this feature will also help prevent your reel from ceasing up during those brutally cold days. The instant anti-reverse option will not only allow a better hook set and line control, but also again will aid in the prevention of the reel ceasing.

In addition to looking for high number of ball bearings and instant anti-reverse, try to avoid ice fishing reels with the drag control on the back. This type of drag system does not do well in the cold. Water often enters the space between the drag dial and the reel itself. This will cease your reel and sometimes if the water freezes it can even crack and break your reel. So get yourself a reel with the drag on the top of the spool as this simpler design is better for the cold.


When buying a rod and reel combo for ice fishing make sure the rod has large guides and the reel is equipped with a high number of ball bearings, instant anti-reverse, and the drag control on the spool. These few hints will make a day on the hard-water a fantastic one; so get out there, upgrade your ice fishing gear and catch those fish!


Coming soon,
Gearing up for Ice Fishing!
Part 2- Clothes and Accessories

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