Hit the hardwater this year with an enhanced arsenal of the latest ice-fishing gear and tackle!
Manufacturers are turning good ideas into new products on a regular basis, and this year will be no exception. Baits, augers, shelters, outerwear and rods and reels are all in high demand, and you won't have any trouble finding the gear you're looking for. Whether you're replacing an old auger or looking for the latest in flashers, here's a look at what's in store for 2010.
There isn't an ice angler on the lake who doesn't want to know what's below him. Fortunately, there are some products that allow us to peer beyond the ice.
(LEFT) MarCum Technologies LX-5 Ice System, (RIGHT) Vexilar's FL-20 Ultra Pack
The LX-5 Ice System is the newest and most feature-laden flasher created by MarCum Technologies. The three-color sonar unit includes a dual-beam transducer and allows users to switch between the 8- and 20-degree cone angles with the touch of a key.
A special Superfine Line lets anglers improve the unit's resolution, creating target separation down to three-quarters of an inch. The LX-5's display is visible even in bright sunlight, and it allows users to zoom in on any segment of water in the water column. The unit includes a soft-pack carrying case, a 12-volt, 7-amp battery, and digital charging system. (www.marcumtech.com)
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Vexilar is offering a new limited edition Ultra Pack that includes every option the company offers. It's built around Vexilar's new three-color FL-20 sonar unit with a bigger display and two auto-zoom ranges. The 50th Anniversary Ice Pack Combo features an enclosed 12-volt, 9 amp-hour battery, a master switch that powers up the unit, remote charging posts for easy recharging, and a battery status indicator. The special system also includes an adjustable rod holder, cable storage cleats and even a tackle box. For convenience, the entire system fits inside a 5-gallon bucket. It comes already assembled and includes an instructional video. (www.vexilar.com)
ROD & REELS
Top marks this year go to Clam Corp's new Dave Genz True Blue Series ice-fishing combos. These solid graphite rods are loaded with an enhanced bite-detection tip and stainless steel guides and are available in four actions and lengths. The lightweight reels and infinite anti-reverse features make for a trouble-free trip and more fish in the bucket. (www.clamcorp.com)
(TOP) Frabill's Bro Series Rod And Reel Combo, (BOTTOM) Clam Corp's Dave Genz True Blue Rod And Reel Combo
The 32-inch Quick-Tip panfish rod is the newest addition to Frabill's Bro Series rod-and-reel combos. The series is named for and endorsed by ice-fishing expert Brian Brosdahl. The Quick-Tip adds muscle to the rest of the line for deep-water hooksets and a more measured line give, which equates to shock absorption on the line. The high-definition rod allows you not only to see the strike but feel it as well. (www.frabill.com)
You never know what baits the fish will want on any given day until you're on the water. Rapala's new Jigging Shad Rap is a great start in tipping the odds in your favor.
The Jigging Shad Rap has been building a reputation among ice-anglers since its introduction and is now available in two sizes and 12 classic Rapala colors, seven of which incorporate glow technology. The size 03 is 1 1/2 inches and 3/16 ounces and the size 05 is 2 inches and 5/16 ounces. The bait was developed specifically for under-the-ice conditions and works beautifully with a sharp, snapping motion that causes it to circle or vibrate at any depth. (www.rapala.com)
1) Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle's Slick Jig, 2.) Northland Fishing Tackle's Macho Minnow Jigging Spoon, 3) Rapala's Jigging Shad Rap, 4) Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle's Darter, 5) Berkley Gulp! Alive! Fish Fry, 6) Berkley Gulp! Alive! Micro Minnow, 7) Berkley Gulp! Alive! Jigging Grub
The Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle folks have been hard at work. The Slick Jig has been tested by Lindy staff throughout the northern U.S. and Canada with positive results. Word has it that there is no wrong way to fish this jig. Let it glide down naturally, bounce it near the bottom, lift and drop or just let Slick Jig glide away. The weight-forward design takes it into the weedbeds, submerged timber and other hard-to-penetrate cover, and a quick twitch will dart it back out into the open. Slick Jigs are available in 1/4-, 3/16- and 2/8-ounce sizes and six colors. (www.lindy-fishingtackle.com)
The Darter combines with Lindy's Slick Jig to double-wham the marketplace with another innovative tool for the ice-angler's tackle box. This bait combines warmwater features in a hard-body bait specifically designed to push the limit. Predators key in on the minnow-imitating action, and the bright finishes and colors seal the deal. The nine holographic patterns reflect light in low-light conditions, and the rattle chamber adds an unusual cold-water dimension. The action is in the name. (www.lindy-fishingtackle.com)
The Berkley Gulp! Alive! Micro Minnow is another hardwater advantage worth having. The new Minnow is a take-off from past successes and is the perfect substitute for the real thing. Gulp! Alive! Minnows can be fished under a bobber or on a jighead. Rig one on a size 2 Aberdeen hook, leaving the hook exposed through the nose. The 1-inch soft-plastic bait targets panfish and walleyes with a natural feel and Gulp! Alive! scent. The eyes and gills are accentuated to complete the deception. The baits come in several colors to match the water conditions. The Gulp! Alive! 1-inch Fish Fry and Gulp! Alive! Jigging Grub round out the new line-up for serious anglers. Put a Fish Fry on a small hook under a float or the Jigging Grub on a small ice jig, and don't leave the hole unattended. Gulp! Alive! Minnows, Fish Fry and Jigging Grubs come in re-sealable 2.3-ounce jars for easy storage. Re-charge baits by putting them back in the jar. The Gulp! Alive! formula is now 20 percent stronger than the regular Gulp! Alive! attractant. (www. berkley-fishing.com)
Last but not least, Northland's new Macho Minnow Jigging Spoon is sure to dig up some action. Tight-line the spoon to fish it vertically at any depth. The holographic realism and three-dimensional eyes combine in six weights and 10 colors, including Super-Glo tones. The sp
oon flips and flutters in unpredictable drops because of Northland's jointed KickerTail innovation. (www.northlandtackle.com)
The Eskimo Shark Z71 Power Auger is Ardisam's contribution to your ice-penetrating arsenal this year. The Z71 features a Viper two-cycle engine with power to spare. The auger has a 71 cc rating with 8,000 RPMs and a gear ratio of 25:1. The unit comes with an auger diameter of 8, 9 or 10 inches, with an overall length of 42 inches. The fuel tank is see-through, so you'll never be short of gas. The muffler guard prevents contact with clothing and skin. The mitten handle grip allows anglers to leave the gloves on, and the automatic compression release valve turns off automatically when the engine starts up, making the take-off easier than ever. (www.ardisam.com)
(LEFT) Ardisam's Eskimo Shark Z71 Power Auger, (RIGHT) Jiffy's Stealth STX Pro Auger
The new Stealth STX Pro auger by Jiffy features cutting-edge technology with a high-torque approach to getting through the ice. The long-lasting blade life, cushioned throttle control and handles, HTT transmission and power to spare combine to make cutting a hole as easy as possible. (www.jiffyonice.com)
There's no substitute for a good fillet knife that will hold an edge. The Rapala EZ Glide Knife is 7 inches of cutting technology in the perfect fillet knife. The EZ Glide features a new scalloped blade and a non-stick blade. The scalloped grooves allow air between the blade and the fillet to prevent sticking and tearing. The EZ Glide has an Ebony Cast Resin handle for easy gripping with cold fingers in less than ideal conditions. (www.rapala.com)
(LEFT) Clam Corp's Universal Seat Heater, (RIGHT) Rapala's Sufix Ice Magic Line
Alt Innovations LLC has made carrying and using an auger a lot simpler for anglers with ATVs. The Auger Sidekick mount comes in two models, the Universal Rack Mount and Universal Basket Rack Mount. The Auger Sidekick rides on a pivoting system that allows ice-fishermen unprecedented stabilization while drilling. The basket model offers additional carrying capacity. (www.augersidekick.com)
Alt Innovations' Auger Sidekick
Keeping certain body parts warm is a priority. Clam Corp. has introduced its Universal Seat Heater that fits most seats, runs up to eight hours on a 9-amp flasher unit battery, and can produce 80-degree temperatures for comfort on the coldest days. The spade clip connections fit most flasher units to allow for about 6 hours run time when used in conjunction with the flasher unit. (www. clamcorp.com)
(TOP) Cabela's Ice Sled Cover, (BOTTOM) Rapala's EZ Glide Knife
Anyone who has messed with tangled line knows the value of a strong, smooth line that will stay manageable and repel water even when the water temperature goes south. The Sufix Ice Magic Line by Rapala is a vast improvement over traditional ice-fishing lines. The line is specifically engineered for hardwater conditions. It ranges from 1-pound-test to 12-pound-test and is exceptionally easy to use. Sufix Ice Magic Line has additives to deter the water absorption that causes the ice buildup that keeps most anglers busy cleaning off the fishing line. Sufix is fast sinking and will put your bait down into the water column where the fish are. (www.rapala.com)
Cabela's new ice sled cover is designed to fit most sleds currently in use. The cover features laced expandable cinch cords on top to fit the cargo and around the sled base to secure the cover to the sled. Side zippers allow easy access. The fabric is 600-denier polyester. The cover comes in three sizes. (www.cabelas.com)
The Alaskan King Ice Shelter is a relative newcomer to the market and offers superb on-the-ice accommodation. Ameristep's shelter is roomy enough for three anglers at 72 inches square by 82 inches tall. It's easy to carry, and when folded measures only 54 inches by 9 inches and weighs in at 23 pounds. The Hub Wall design features black walls and four windows with anchor screws to secure the shelter to the ice. The Alaskan King cuts the wind and allows for a space heater to take off the chill. (www.ameristep.com)
(TOP LEFT) Ameristep's Alaskan King Ice Shelter, (TOP RIGHT) Frabill's Headquarters Ice Shelter, (BOTTOM) Clam Corp's Denali II Ice Shelter
The two-person, instant setup, portable Denali II ice shelter by Clam Corp is another great buy for 2010. The pack size measures 24 by 41 by 59 inches, stands 65 inches tall and weighs in at 95 pounds. The new Easy-Glide push buttons makes tearing down quick and easy. Clam has carried a four-man, back-to-back shelter for years, but the Denali II incorporates the best features in a portable package and makes moving from hole to hole a reasonable venture. (www.clamcorp.com)
The Headquarters ice shelter by Frabill is an ice-fishing castle. It's more than 12 feet long, nearly 6 feet wide and almost 7 feet tall. This beauty can house up to six anglers along with all their gear. The shelter is constructed of sturdy premium 300-denier tent material with extra polyurethane coatings for waterproofing. The shelter features front and rear zippered doors, safety reflectors, and removable 12- by 12-inch windows. The new MaxVent airflow system regulates heat loss and fresh air intake. (www.frabill.com)
The Cold-Snap Parka and Bibs by Vexilar is new winter gear that not only looks good but also provides exceptional protection from those cold winter winds and sub-zero temperatures. The Cold-Snap suit hails from Minnesota and is always on the drawing board. A total of 15 pockets provide enough space to carry everything from extra rods to hand warmers. The hood is detachable, the parka is water-resistant, and the bibs have heat pack pockets to keep even your back warm. The bibs feature full-length heavy-duty zippers on the legs, padded knees, and roomy front cargo pockets. (www.vexilar.com)
1) Vexilar's Cold Snap Bibs, 2) Vexilar's Cold Snap Parka, 3. Snosuit's Arctic Series Gloves, 4) Ardisam's Yukon Track Original Alaskan Hat
Cold ears are one thing that can quickly make an ice-fishing trip go south. The Yukon Track Original Alaskan Hat by Ardisam is just what the doctor ordered when the temperature goes south. The hat offers soft, quilted lining and ear, chin and forehead flaps lined with rabbit fur. The outer shell of the hat comes in a variety of colors and is available in leather, heavy-duty polyester, a 65/35 poly-cotton blend, and Taslan nylon. Resilience, weatherproofing and warmth make this cold-weather gear worth keeping handy. (www.ardisam.com)
The Arctic Series jacket, bibs and gloves by Snosuit promise to make life on the ice a lot more bearable this year. Snosuit has incorporated a removable three-way adjustable hood, DuPont Teflon fabric protector, ankle-to-hip zippers, Snocore insulation and gloves with goatskin palms, sidewalls, finger and thumb wraps. The gloves even have a nose wipe material included. Now that's planning! (www.snowsuit.com)