When you think about it, if you had an axe, a length of fishing line, a safety pin, and something enticing for a fish to sniff at, like perhaps a piece of cheddar cheese, you might just catch something besides the cold from Hell that is sure to befall you.
However, don’t count on it for being the vacation of a lifetime or the pathway to a mouth-watering fish dinner. You are most likely to wish you were anywhere else in the world and besides that, you just might starve to death.
In order to make your ice-fishing day a resounding success with unforgettable memories, you really should be properly equipped to give yourself the best chance of not only catching fish, but being able to do it in comfort.
As you become more involved with the sport of ice-fishing, the equipment you might use will vary, but there are essentials that any ice fisherman can make use of for his day on the ice.
First off, an ice auger is the way to go when cutting a nice neat hole in the ice. Leave the axe at home. You will also need a bucket to keep your fish in, a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the hook from the fishes mouth and a fishing license.
A fishing rod with around a 6 pound test nylon fishing line would be about perfect for most ice-fishing. Be sure you use hooks that are not too large for the fish that are local to the area.
The bait you use will depend on what you are fishing for. You might use earth-worms, minnows, or smelts. Any local fisherman or fish equipment retailer would be more than glad to give you some tips on this and most likely the fishing store will stock the bait.
A tip-up is important. It elevates the rod from the ice so that when a fish nibbles you will be able to see the tip of the rod move. You stick it in the ice and it is shaped like a “y”.
You will also need enough food and water for the day and it would be wise to have some sort of communication device, like a cell phone or two-way radio for instance. Also, always bring along matches and a lighter.
Be sure to bring a back-pack so you can include a spare set of shoes, socks and other clothes in case you get wet.
Those are pretty well the essentials, but if you want to go the extra mile, ice-fishing can be taken into another dimension and comfort zone.
Consider how great it would be to have an ice-fishing hut to keep you out of the wind. Perhaps you might add a heater and a small stove to cook your fish fish for lunch. Something to sit on is also important to your comfort.
You might buy yourself a depth finder and fish radar and watch as the fish pass by or sniff at your bait. Perhaps you might bring along hand-warmers, a compass, flashlight, or sunglasses.
Above all, don’t forget a camera to get some pictures of your catch so people will believe all your fish stories.