Basic Gear for a Safe Ice Fishing
Picking up where we left off on the topic of ice fishing precautions. Today, we would like to add more important information on safety. We already went over the principles of how to choose your fishing spot by the thickness of the ice. Now, to enjoy the most of your ice fishing trip you need to carry some special gear and equipment to make your adventure easier, safer and warmer.
The first thing you should do while you enjoy any outdoor winter activity, is keep your body temperature stable. Remember you are going to be in the same place for hours and your temperature could drop pretty easy. Go over the cloth-layering article for more information.
Once, you have your clothing layers ready; you can start searching for the perfect spot to drill a hole. A toboggan or sled is a practical way to haul equipment onto the ice. Some anglers put their gear on top of their shanty, which is transported on runners. Attaching a long cord to sleds should make them easier to pull, and if someone falls through the ice, anglers can push their sled to them while holding onto the line.
Wind and snow can polish the ice to a glassy, slippery surface. Therefore, consider using crampons, or cleats, for walking on ice. Carrying with you a couple of picks or spikes with wooden hand holders can be useful for walking on ice and in case you or someone falls into the water, these can help pulling the person out.
Where to Sit
Remember you’ll be spending hours out in the cold, so bring along something to sit on, such as a small stool or folding chair, sometimes even a 5-gallon bucket. Even if it sounds fancy, a portable flotation cushion will not only add comfort to your behind but will give you something to throw in case someone falls through the ice.
It is vital to have a fishing partner. This way you can protect each other. It is also important to let someone know, where are you heading, for how long and when should you be expected to be back.
Remember to check the ice thickness first. Here are some tools you can use for these purposes:
An ice chisel or “spud” is a metal rod with a sharp, flat blade welded onto one end, used for chopping holes. Drive the chisel into the ice, using a stabbing motion, to create a hole. Next, measure ice thickness with a tape measure.
This tool is for drilling your fishing hole in the ice. The hole shouldn’t be more than 12 inches across. You can choose from manual, electric and gas augers. Electric and hand or manual augers are light and quiet but require some manual labor. The gas auger will drill the hole faster, but it is heavier, noisier and more expensive.
Of course, there is a lot more of gadgets and equipment for ice fishing, but you can have a great time as you and your friends remain safe and warm, with even just the ones we mentioned.
On the next post, we will go over ice fishing tips and techniques to make the most of this winter and make freezing your behind off worth it. Let’s face it. You don’t want to sit all day on the snow and arrive home, empty-handed.