Crappie Ice Fishing: Dont Forget The Gear
Let me first start with the obligatory tip: make sure the ice is thick enough for you and all your gear. The next thing is to be ready for the cold. Nothing will ruin a good fishing trip faster than losing a finger or two. Granted most accidents involve people falling through the ice so if you are using an ice shelter, as I strongly suggest, be sure to buy or build one that distributes the weight over a large area.
Depending on where you are, some people build stick frame shelters on the ice, other places use a simple tent and there are variety of trailers to be bought that have all the benefits of home in them. I think these trailers do take away some of the raw sport but they do make for a good couple of days of fishing. Be sure to dress for the occasion and always keep an extra set of dry cloths just off the ice, you never know. My brother had never been ice fishing and had been living in the warm southern states for some time. So he becomes a great example of what not to do. We had hauled our simple shed on skies out to the ice.
Once we located our spot we began drilling our holes. My unsuspecting brother was tasked with holding the shed. I should mention another very important tool here, ice cleats. The wind can be vicious on hard water as was the case that day. Over the growl of the augers we heard the faint screams and looked up just in time to find the shed come to a halt. Running to the rescue we found my brother with one leg in an abandoned hole.
Of course there are a few lessons to be learned here, first don't mess with your older brother he will hurt you. Next do not forget the simple and important things like ice cleats, these are cheap yet very effective when you put them on. Of course you can spend lots of money on various styles but my only suggestion is to stay away from the type that look like a spring stretched over the sole of your boot. These spring type cleats are good with side to side action but not so good in forward motion. So stick with a spike type of cleat.
Next lesson anchor against the wind, when on the ice where the wind might be a problem be sure to anchor yourself and equipment. Some people will simply pull a little water from their holes and pour that around what they want to stay put. I have used ice steaks when I really wanted something to stay put.
And the first lesson, an extra set of clothes saved me from a good beating that day and it might just save you or someone one day.
Now that you have your shed, tent, trailer or whatever in place and all your holes are in just the right spot we can talk about tackle. Start with a light rod of course you can fish with just about anything that you can tie a line to but when ice fishing something a little more specialized might be better.
For a pole you want something short but super sensitive. This can be hard to do because much of the sensitivity of a normal warm weather pole is gained from its length and light fibers. Fishing for crappie you will want to chose a very light ice fishing pole something that will support a very light line of two to four pound test.
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