December 15, 2014
By Mike Gnatkowski
Interest in ice fishing is expanding in leaps and bounds. And technology is keeping up. Manufacturers and guides put their thinking caps on and came up with refinements, innovations and inventions that are taking the ice-fishing world by storm.
This year, longer ice rods, underwater cameras, straight-line reels, hub shelters, electric augers and plastics baits are dominating the market. Each and all might be just right to make you a more successful angler and have more fun on the ice this season.
Check out what's hot for the 2014 season:
Ion | Electric Ice Auger with Reverse
A few years ago, Ion introduced their electric-powered ice auger, and it changed the way ice-fishermen fish. The new improved Ion
, paired with an 8-inch straight-through cutting system, will now offer reverse as well. Adding reverse means you can simply flip a switch and use the reverse function to blow all of the slush out of the hole.
The new 22-pound Ion will still cut about 1,000 inches of ice on a single charge, and has a re-charge time of less than 2 hours.
Rapala | VMC Flap Tail Jig
The VMC Flap Tail Jig
with pre-rigged Trigger X body creates flapping action that mimics a leech or other fleeing prey. Split the tail and then the body imitates the swimming action of a wounded minnow.
The Power Gap hook sports a wider gap than traditional jig hooks. Available in a variety of natural, fluorescent and Ultra Glow colors. Others plastics can be matched to VMC's new line of wide-gap jigs. The exclusive VMC Power Gap hook delivers a wider round gap compared to other micro jigs in equal sizes to increase your hook-up rate.
Available in Tungsten Tubby, Larva, Waxy or Nymph, pre-rigged with Trigger X soft baits.
Price: $2.99 - $3.49
HT | Big Eye Longneck Series Winter Combos
The Big Eye Series
of rods and combos meet the demand for longer ice rods. They feature extra long, soft parabolic-action glass blanks with a stunning translucent ice crystal pattern, genuine cork handles and lightweight, single foot, super-sized no-ice-up guides.
Specialty lengths come in 36-inch ultralight, 39-inch light, 42-inch medium-light and 45-inch medium action. All utilize HT's four-bearing, infinite anti-reverse Big Eye spinning reels treated with ThermaLube to keep the gears functioning smoothly in the coldest temperatures.
Marcum | VS485C
This underwater viewing system proves top-of-the-line performance without a top-shelf price tag. With a 7-inch, high-resolution flat-panel LCD screen with 800x480 pixel resolution, and an Sony Super HAD II CCD 1/3-inch Image Sensor 01 Lux Camera, the 485C
system provides superior underwater viewing performance at a great value.
The 485C underwater viewing system is complete and self-contained. Included in MarCum's signature red soft pack — LCD screen, camera, 50 feet of cord, sun shield, 12-volt, 7-amp rechargeable battery, three-stage battery charger and down-view/stabilizer fin.
Aqua-Vu | Micro 5C
is a self-contained underwater video viewer. It's a turnkey underwater viewing system that includes a 5-inch vivid color LCD and a high resolution Micro camera with 50-feet of rugged optical cable.
The cam is also equipped with Aqua-Vu's Auto-Light Sensing IR illumination system, for maximum visibility in dark or dirty water. Driving this real-time fish finder is a diminutive lithium-ion battery. The Micro 5c is ideal for ice fishing when space is limited.
Eskimo | FatFish 6120, 6120I & 9416I Shelters
The 6120 and 6120i (insulated version) feature wide-bottom design in a six-sided hexagon configuration. These shelters offer 80 square feet of fishable area. The wide-bottom design allows for 23 percent more space than a comparable standard six-sided design.
Eskimo has also designed the world's largest fully insulated hub-style ice shelter, the Fatfish
9416i. This roomy shelter offers 109 square feet of fishable area and is over 14 feet long from hub-to-hub. The 9416i (pictured) features heavy-duty 11mm poles to provide strength and ample support.
339.99 - $
Eskimo | Lake Runner
This is a towable utility hauler designed for high-speed tracking behind snowmobiles and ATVs. The steel frame provides superior durability over a plastic or molded sled and gives you added ground clearance for avoiding winter obstacles. The Lake Runner
by Eskimo features 6 inches of ground clearance that gets your gear off the ice and provides stability in transport. Its unique design gives you the option to lower the sled easily while loading and unloading.
Shappell | 4500 Wide House
According to Shappell
, this shelter provides 65 percent more fishable area than similar-style hub shelters. The 4500 Wide House comes fully assembled and has easy-entry oval doors, tool pouches, a blackout interior, six removable windows, heavy duty textured polyester fabric, fiberglass, pole frames, solid metal hubs and more. It's 68x68x61 inches.
Clam Outdoors | Vista Thermal & Six Pack 1660 Shelters
Two shelters join Clam's thermal line: the Vista Thermal
(pictured), for two to three anglers; and the Six Pack 1660 Mag Thermal
hub-style shelter, for five to seven anglers. The super-tough 600-denier fabric and Full Thermal Trap technology retain heat and reduce condensation with 36 square feet of fishable space.
The Vista setup size is 72x72 inches with a center height of 84 inches and weighs 39 pounds. The Six Pack 1660 Mag Thermal is big enough to keep the whole crew toasty and warm. With 94 square feet of fishable area, the Six Pack 1660 is like a condo on ice.
319.99 for the Vista Thermal; $
399.99 for the Six Pack 1660
Rapala | Retractable Mega Scoop
Designed to remove the slush from holes with unrivaled ease, the Mega Scoop
handle that extends from 15 to 34 inches and eliminates the need to bend over. Extremely lightweight for a fold-in model, this is the scoop of choice for ice trollers who stay on the move. It comes ready for action with a convenient adjustable wrist lanyard.
HT | Polar Fire XT
These deluxe ice fly reels meld machined, lightweight aluminum frames and spools, liquid-smooth 4-bearing drives and multi-setting drags. Straight-line retrieve minimizes coiling and eliminates line twist. A 2:1 gear ratio results in fast line pick-up. Oversized double handles allow easy operation in the cold.
Match the reels to HT's
new premium ice rods featuring custom tapered carbon blanks to allow optimum control and extreme strike-sensing. Ice rods feature genuine cork handles with EVA twist-lock fore grips, fixed reel seats, hook holders and aluminum oxide guides.
Frabill | Straight Line 371
Looking for the fastest retrieve ratio of any straight-line reel? The Frabill 371
has a 3.7:1 ratio, super smooth drag and instant anti-reverse. One revolution picks up an amazing 22 inches of line. A push-button, ultra-fine free spool makes it simple to drop tiny jigs in deep water.
Five-plus-one ball bearings, composite construction, ambidextrous, over-sized reel handle, spool guarded for comfortable palm grip. You can buy them separately or with one of six Straight Line 271 Bro Series Combos.
Clam Outdoors | Maki Plastics' Mino Head
Perfect for pursing a variety of panfish with its tiny, one-inch size, the soft Mino
is designed to tip your favorite panfish lure. You can rig it split-tail flat or vertical or wacky-rig it. The Mino's tail produces incredible action to entice finicky panfish to bite. The Mino Head is a small minnow head for game fish jigs or treble-hook spoons. The super-soft bait is perfect for use with a horizontal jig presentation.
Frabill | Jiggler Ice Rod Series
These are the epitome of long wands for ice fishing. These slender Frabill
sticks are perfect for hole hopping and sneaking up on spooky panfish on clear ice.
The integrated fly-reel line feeds through the rod blank, shielding it from wind for increased sensitivity. The balanced spool with super-smooth drag feeds line straight off the spool, eliminating line coiling and reducing spinning lures. The 1:1 reel ratio and ambidextrous, oversized reel handle put you more in touch.
The reel features Frabill's exclusive Sub-Zero lubrication system to keep the reel liquid-smooth in any temperature. One hundred yards of 4-pound will fit on the reel. Integrated spring bobber detects even the lightest of bites.
They are available in seven models with technique-specific actions from a 48-inch ultra-light sliver all the way up to a 64-inch telescoping wand for just about all ice-fishing situations.
44.99 - $
Northland Tackle | Impulse Scent Collection
Bloodworm, Slug Bug and Scud Bug have been secret weapons in the arsenal of hard-water addicts for many years now. And the go-to plastics are even better now with the addition of scent-enhancing Impulse attractant featuring Micro-Plankton.
The baits have the visual trigger to cause lethargic winter panfish to eat, plus the feel and smell of the real thing. The Impulse Bloodworm has a soft, natural segmented worm body, lifelike cilia and undulating hair. The Impluse Jig'n Tail Slug Bug has a bug-eyed head and a segmented torso. The Impluse Jig'n Tail Scud Bug has a scud body and a hinged flutter tail.
3.49 - $