I’ve only been ice fishing for 4 years now but I’ve already had most of my ice rods eventually snap in two. Often times this occurs as a result of having a fish on and other times it’s because of poor handling compounded by angler-human error. Since I began ice fishing I’ve seen many soft padded ice fishing bags but rarely have I seen any kind of hard case. Often when I’ve secured my flimsy rod bags to the top of the sled it ends up jammed beneath other gear by the time I’ve trekked to my spot. Usually the rods are protected by the bag but on a few occasions I found a mangled up ice rod mashed down within. This year I came across the Frabill Rod Safe which is a hard plastic ice rod case that is lined with egg carton style foam padding. The case is large and fits up to 8 rod combos. Since I only have 4 combos I opted to fill the rest of the space with a tackle tray and a pair of pliers. Overall the case filled with rods and gear is a little heavy but since I’ll be carrying it in my sled the weight is not that much of a concern. The Rod Safe retails at 69.99, a price that I imagine will pay for itself many times over in unbroken ice combos.
Up to this point I’ve been primarily using graphite ice rods which are very light but can also be fairly fragile. Although I find full-sized fiberglass Ugly Sticks are a little heavy for a long day of casting, an Ugly Stick ice fishing rod is reasonably light due its short size. The supposed near indestructibility and long warranty have been the main reasons that I have chosen the Ugly Stick GX2 medium and medium heavy ($19.99 each) ice rods for this hard water season. The GX2s are hybrids of both graphite and fiberglass with the graphite making up the backbone while the fiberglass adds the sensitive and resilient tip. I’m hoping that these rods hold up to regular hardy treatment and that I will have them for an entire season and beyond. Look forward to future updates on these products as I will be testing them throughout the hard water months.
Nothing can ever wash away the rancid tang from the mouth of the ice angler who has had their boot filled to the ankles with ice water on their first step onto a solid lake in winter. Oftentimes that pristine freshly fallen snow hides beneath it the day-ruining monster known to the common man as slush. Throughout the winter and especially late in the season thaws can bring about a thick layer of the nasty stuff on top of the frozen lake. It’s not often immediately apparent and is usually only discovered by the feel of liquid nitrogen hitting your toes.
Even when you are wearing your fancy super warm snow boots if they are only waterproof up to the rubber sole you will be vigorously screwed by slush. Luckily one only needs to be screwed once or twice by these conditions before they join the more enlightened anglers who opt for winter foot ware that resemble and function much like your summer time rubbers. Unlike the rubbers of summer the Baffin Titans contain a space aged liner that the company claims can withstand temperatures as low as -100C. That combined with the fact that they cover you with waterproof protection all the way to the top of the boot had me sold on this pair of extreme weather gear instantly. These boots retail for a little over $100 but if they save me from the slush beast only once they will be well worth it. When you first step into these beauties it feels like you’re getting a warm hug on the foot. So far I have high hopes. Look for a product update as this hard water season unfolds.
Before the year ends we wanted to have one last contest to giveaway some fantastic gear from this year and hopefully bring our facebook page out of the dark ages. It’s been a wild ride and Clive and I are both excited about embarking on our 10th year of Fishing Fury! To celebrate we’ll be giving away 10 WE FISHIN’ MANE shirts with stickers to our favourite submission and the top 3 submissions will each receive a pair of Dizm Eco Eyewear sunglasses- our highest rated product this year!
To win: Like us on Facebook and post your best fishing photos of 2013 before 12:00am EST January 1, 2014.