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#11355102 - 01/18/16 11:01 PM Advice Needed - Ice Fishing
TripletsFish Offline

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Denton, Texas
In mid-February, I am taking two of my three 15 year old sons to Upper Peninsula Michigan for my great-aunt's 90th birthday party. The party is on a Saturday, and we have been invited to go ice fishing on Friday.

My cousin texted me, "bring warm clothes and gear." Cell phone service is spotty, so he hasn't been able to elaborate.

We are flying with an airline that charges for checked bags and large, carry-on bags, so we are just bringing backpacks of clothes and toiletries. I figure I should pack 3 spinning reels and hit a Walmart or Bass Pro between Chicago and Michigan for 3 cheap, short rods and ice fishing line.

This will be our first time to ice fish. Any advice about gear, clothing, etc. would be appreciated.

#11355498 - 01/19/16 09:06 AM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
KingwoodCat Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 38288
Loc: Broaddus TX
If man were meant to ice fish, there would be ice breaker bows on bass boats.
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a look at the American Indian".

Henry Ford

#11355775 - 01/19/16 11:01 AM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
BoPro Offline

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Arlington, TX
Ice Fishing poles are fairly cheap. You can get combos for $20-30. 2-6 lb line is the norm depending on what you are fishing for. When you hook a fish under they ice, you'll notice they are quite lethargic, so heavy line isn't necessary in my experience. I've pulled 30+ inch pike through the ice with 6 lb test line.

As far as clothes, plan on layering. Waterproof boots with cleat. Good pair of wool socks or two. Base layers top and bottom. Warm mid layer, wool or synthetic insulated jacket. And a outer layer. Probably the most important thing is you want the out layer that breaks the wind. The wind chill is what makes a 30 degree day feel like 0. Other than that, if there is no wind, it's quite pleasant.

Now if your in a ice shack, dress like you would for Texas winters....

#11356010 - 01/19/16 12:27 PM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
Allen Bass Fisher Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 2188
Loc: Allen, TX
Ice fished for 20 years. Since I moved to Texas (26 years ago) have not gone back and cut holes in the ice. Check with your cousin first, I'll bet they have plenty of ice fishing gear for you and your sons.

If you do buy some rigs, do as BoPro suggests, get the combo's up there. Find out what you are fishing for. If it's Norther's (Pike) you might only use Tip-Ups. Pan fish, Yellow Perch, even Walleye's you will use an ice fishing rod. These are very light weight and short 2-3 feet at the most as you will be right over the hole jigging. BoPro is right 6-8 pound line is all you need. I did move up to light braid (12 pound) if fishing for Northern's using a Tip-Up. Less likely to break you off or cut the line with their teeth.

Waterproof and warm boots are a must! Get some of those chemical hand warmers. They feel real good is you have to take your gloves off to retie or re-bait. Mittens actually keep you hands warmer than gloves. Gloves are easier to work with so there is a trade off.

Edited by Allen Bass Fisher (01/22/16 12:40 PM)

#11356162 - 01/19/16 01:16 PM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
Fritz423 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 04/25/12
Posts: 529
Wishin' I was fishin', and dreaming of beer

#11357818 - 01/20/16 08:03 AM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: Fritz423]
papamark Offline
Mini Tractor

Registered: 04/28/05
Posts: 10466
Loc: Winnsboro
Originally Posted By: Fritz423

And a Warm Shanty

#11358824 - 01/20/16 02:32 PM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: papamark]
Fritz423 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 04/25/12
Posts: 529
Originally Posted By: papamark
Originally Posted By: Fritz423

And a Warm Shanty

Oh yeah. And I would warn against the "Hot Damn" or other versions of cinnamon schnapps that those guys like to drink.
Wishin' I was fishin', and dreaming of beer

#11358942 - 01/20/16 03:29 PM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
BAIT956 Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 450
Loc: Lake Fork Tx.
"Gear" for ice fishing covers a lot of ground. I would contact your cousin again, mail, email or whatever and see what gear he has.
Are you in a shanty or open ice? Does he have an auger, depth finder, lures and other tackle you can use? How are you getting out there? If it is quite a ways, snow mobile, driving a pickup or what? If you are walking out, you will need a sled to haul the gear.
Absolutely you will need very warm clothes including boots. A snow mobile suit is the best, but you will probably never wear it in Texas. Watch some of the winter fishing shows from up North and see what they are wearing.
Then again, if you are able to drive out to a heated shanty, you can get by with Texas winter clothing.
You could also check out some ice fishing forums from up north and as some questions there.

#11363060 - 01/22/16 11:19 AM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
ratandjmt Offline

Registered: 03/31/15
Posts: 84
Loc: San Antonio
Just to piggy back on a few others. Check with your cousin 1st and see if he actually has gear. I did quite a bit of ice fishing when I was stationed in ND. Depending on who I went with I would just bring myself and a pair of coveralls or load up the bed of my truck. I never felt the need for a 6' rod, we were fishing a hole right in front of us and only ever used the little 2' ones. That should save you some packing space. An ice house can get warm, even the portable ones. I would usually fish with a tee shirt in those. That's the kind of question you need to ask when preparing, it's important.

If you are setting on a bucket in the middle of the lake it gets cold. Especially if the wind kicks up.

Wear extra socks
Insulated boots
Pick up some hot hands
Insulated gloves
A face cover/mask. If it's really bad your nose hairs can freeze.
Clean your hole out regularly

As far as fish. Don't stick your hand in the mouth of a Northern. They will lay you wide open

Edited by ratandjmt (01/22/16 11:20 AM)

#11363219 - 01/22/16 12:22 PM Re: Advice Needed - Ice Fishing [Re: TripletsFish]
dkershen Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 935
Loc: DFW
Warm waterproof boots are the biggie to ensure you're not miserable. Remember that you'll be standing on ice all day if they don't have shanties. I got a hand ice auger in the garage you can take if you're a glutton for punishment. (I'm sure your relatives will have gas augers)

I also highly recommend bite indicators. Feeling a super light bite through cold gloved hands is very difficult. Something like this:


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