Time to Dust Off Your Ice Tackle
by Marianne Conrad
While on my way to work this morning, I caught a glimpse of a small pond I have
frequented over the years. Fishing the pond both during the summer and winter months has
brought me endless hours of entertainment and it was my hope that I would be spending time
jigging through the ice some time soon. I noticed on this morning that the pond was
finally developing first ice of the season and even though the ice cover is not quite firm
enough to support my weight, it did begin me thinking about readying my ice fishing tackle
so all would be ready as the ice hardens.
First to be considered are my tip-ups. I will begin by closely examining
all the mechanical parts like spools, springs, wing nut, etc...I will clean
up, repair or replace anything that is not functioning smoothly. Next I will check
the flag steel for rust or kinks and as for the flags, I will make note of any that will
also need replacing. It is at this point that I will begin to develop a shopping
list and include the number of tip-ups I will need to purchase as some of my older traps
will be beyond refurbishment of any sort.
Next I will check the condition of the dacron line I use to fill my tip-up
spools. As it is not necessary to change the line every season, some of my spools will
contain line that may be several seasons old. These will definitely need to be changed as
over time the materials that make up the line will begin to breakdown and compromise the
strength and elasticity needed for very cold water conditions. Here too, I add a couple
of spools of 18 pound test dacron line on my growing shopping list.
After having attended to my tip-ups I will now turn my attention to my ice auger.
Even though my 8 inch knuckle buster is only a few years old, I will still take this time
to examine the blades for any sign of rust, nicks or dull spots and I will freshen
them with a hone if necessary. If by chance you have an auger that is a little 'wear worn'
you may want to consider having the blades sharpened by a professional. Or if they are
beyond the point of no return you can purchase a set of new blades from most area tackle
After filling the spools on my jigging rods and greasing the gears of my reels,
last but not least, I will go through the remaining contents of my ice-fishing tackle box.
As usual, my sounders are in short supply and I will also need to replenish the snelled
hooks in sizes 8, 6 and 4 as well as restocking split shot sinkers and ball bearing
swivels in various sizes. As for jigging lures I can always use more Swedish Pimples and I
will purchase an number of them in size 3 and 4 and the colors I prefer are solid
gold or silver and for a decorative touch I will also need those adorned with red or
chartreuse prism tape. This year I think I will also load up on painted jig heads in
a 1/32 and 1/16 ounce size to which I will rig a few 2 inch Salty Lunker Kalins
grubs. I have never tried this lure presentation through the ice, but this year I plan to
give these grubs a try. After all, the fish in this particular pond happen to love
these lures and just gobble them up during the open water season so why not jig them
through the ice? Since I fish in New Hampshire I will obviously keep in mind the ban
on small lead jigs and weights after january 1, 2000 and will use lead substitutes as
According to the weatherman, this weeks daytime temperatures will remain in the
twenties and the winds will remain calm. Perfect conditions for growing ice so I suspect
it wont be long until my little pond firms up. Now that my gear has been properly
attended to, I will be ready when it comes time once again to walk on water.
"New Hampshire Outdoors" Radio Show
Hosts - Marianne Conrad and Jim Riccardi
- Live on Saturdays from 8am to 9am WSMN AM 1590 in
- Rebroadcast on Friday evenings from 6-7pm WKXL AM
1420 and FM 102.5
|What's your experience with this subject?
|Click here to view other sportsmen's posts