Over the years, i’ve seen many people getting started in ice fishing. I see pattern of same mistakes being made, even though some of the beginners do enough research before diving in. I was a beginner once, and i made those same mistakes myself. With that being said, i thought i’d write a post about common mistakes that beginners usually make and give advice on how to prevent them. Also, in general, i wanted to write tutorial on getting started in ice fishing, in general. So i have some spare time on my hands these days, and i thought i’d complete it before i lost the inspiration and energy for it.
First of all, what you need to do before anything else, is – buy quality ice fishing gear. You should start from most essential stuff like ice fishing rods and reels, and then move on to buying less essential, but still useful gadgets like heaters and all that. People usually don’t have that big of a budget and they can only afford one or two things at a time, but that’s okay. You can go to your first ice fishing trip with very little in your gear – just make sure to have ice fishing rod and some tool to make a hole. You can buy the rest of your tools later and go on more advanced and comfortable trips. Hand auger will be very useful for making a hole in the ice, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry too much about that, either. You can always get one anyway, since they are very accessible and cheap. I found mine on craigslist for twenty-something dollars.
Before you buy anything, it’s always a good idea to check what the customers and experts are saying about it. That way, you can quickly assess what are the flaws and advantages of certain products. If flaws are a deal-breaker for you, you’ll move on and buy something else. I believe research is the key component of making buying decision.
Other important parts of your ice fishing gear will be shelters and good clothes, especially the gloves and boots. Fingers and toes are very sensitive to freezing, and you need to make sure you have good gear protecting them. Good ice fishing boots must be waterproof and you must wear warm socks. Gloves also should be waterproof and warm, but also dexterous. We do most of the fishing using our fingers and hands in general, so having warm gloves but being incapable to perform basic tasks won’t suffice.
Other minor gadgets, that are nice to have, but not essential, are heaters, chairs and hats. Sometimes ice fishing shelters will come with chairs pre-installed, but if they don’t, consider getting comfortable one.