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.