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palisade1kid

Lets talk ice rods and reels

21 posts in this topic

We all have different opinions on what makes a good ice rod and reel.

Let's talk about what we like and dislike.

Of coarse there are different styles of fishing that will

dictate what gear we use on the ice.

For me....since I like to work the water column with light /small baits a good light action rod with a fast tip works well.

I'll also mount a spring bobber on the end to read the hit.

The reason for a stiff blank is so that the rod does not shake so much and that I can get a quick hookset.

Having a fast tip also helps in that endeaver,yet giving me a nice bend in my rod to enjoy the ensueing battle with the fish(pannies).

I do have a few medium action rods for heavier fish like walleyes and pike less a spring.When they bang my bait you most definitly feel and see the hit.

I'm not a big fan of the noddle rods which shake too much and when setting the hook I'll have to reach way up high to load up the rod blank.

As to reels I've found once you get over a 40$ price level you'll most likely be getting a product that has

several ball bearings ....8 or more giving you a smooth reel and a positive back stop.Second ...I find the bail springs are way more stiffer which helps in that flip flip flip of the line peeling off due to the spring lifting.

Yes you should make sure the line is in the roller guide ,but I've had reels that lost me fish due to a poor hook setting ability due to the spring opening.

Lastly the drag....it should break loose smoothly and as it rotates it still should be a constant smooth release.

You'll notice that in most cheaper reels that the drag is all or nothing .There's no in between setting and they bind up.Smooth then stiff as it plays out.

A general indicator is when you go to buy a reel in the store,turn the spool backwards. If you hear a click-click-click-click it most likely is a good drag set up.

Having 1 click adjustments also is a good sign of a better drag.

The only real way to know it to have one spooled up with line and pull the line to see if the drag release smoothly at all times instead of undulating tensions as you pull the line.

I see in the stores 20-30 dolloar combo rigs.

My advice is to stay away from these "deals"

The rods may be adequate ,but the reels are most likely very low quality.

Go to the store now and those rack of combos are almost all sold.

Ergo this post.My son just bought a combo and withing 2 hours he was having issues.

What do you guys think?

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You pretty much get what you pay for. I've had both and to me it seems you can get by with the rod but cheap reels are terrible. When they get wet and it's cold they don't reel very well and the drag is worthless! My 2 cents worth. ole

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Kieth: I agree. In the 50 odd years I have been ice fishing I have come to the same conclusion. I do not mean to say that I know everything. Only what works for me.

I am a bit different however, I tend to favor a longer rod. Say 42" or so. HT Enterprises makes one in there "ICE BLUE" Series. It has a fast tip and enough give in the butt that if by chance you do hook a bigger fish you still have a fair chance to land him. Moslty, I stand over a hole. Don't know why, Just always have! I will set a dead stick about 10 yards out in deeper water for eyes or pike and fish crappies, sunfish or silvers (white bass) with the long rod. I have used the standard 28-30 inch rods and they are nice don't get me wrong. I just like a longer rod. So sue me!

Like yourself I am a firm believer in spending the extra cash to buy good equipment. The combos on the market today" 9 times out of ten Five years from now will be in some landfill or at the bottom of the lake. Anyone listening. I am an old man who has made his share of mistakes biy "Listen to Kieth" He knows what he is talkng about. Buy the Best Equipment you can afford! Get a well made light action rod and a decent medium action rod. You won't regret it, TRUST ME!

As for reels, I usually fish with the same "Cardinal" I have used for 15 years on my medium action stick and the same Mitchell reel I use on my Ultra Lite long rod. The point I am trying to make is to not only buy the best equipment you can but also to use the equipment that fits your hand well and you are familiar with. Believe me, it makes a lot of sense to use something you are familiar and are comfortable and enjoy using.

Give your reel a good oiling with a well known grease or oil that is designed for cold weather. There are several on the market these days. They are all made to government standards but not all greases or oils are meant for cold weather. If you can't find one take a look at some of the new gun oils that are designed to function in sub zero weather. You may have to oil more than one a winter with a gun oil but at least the reel won't freeze up on you at a critical time. Make sure you know if your reel is designed for grease or oil though! If you do not know then you would be better off taking the reel into the shop that sold it to you and having someone who knows what he is doing do it for you. I learned the hard way years ago that a reel designed for oil doesn't work well if you put grease (in this case lithium grease) in it.

Most people I know put 4 pound test mono on their panfish rod and 6 or 8 pound on their walleye stick. Mono is inexpensive. You can go heavier for pike if you like but I have never seen the need. Still if you want to go ahead. Most people I know use mono for ice fishing. Lately, I have stared using Fireline and I will tie about 8 feet of mono to the end as a leader. I would stay away from the the florocarbons, myself. Just my opinion. I think mono fishes better and Florocarbon is a bit pricy compared to mono. You can buy a lot of mono for the price of Florocarbon. And after all, the idea is to catch fish. Granted you can catch fish on Florocarbon. You can also kill deer with an elephant gun! Remember, Florocaron was designed for Salt Water fishing. Enough said.

Their are those (of course) who like 2 pound test on their rods and I envy them. But I am an old man and cannot stand THAT much excitement so I stick to 4 lb. test.

Anyway, Kieth is "bang on" in his assessment, in my opinion, for those of you out there who are new to ice fishing.

Take care! Tight Lines!

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I use the same reals from my summer rods, so I spare no expense on a good real. for pannies I have my shimano with a light frabill graphite rod, and my walleye I have the same set up with bigger real and rod. I love the frabil rods, great sensitivity. I see that st croix has some ice rods out, I may try one of these. for line, I will use 4 pound on my pannie rod and 8 pound on my walleye rod, I do not use them ice lines, I think they suck. I use limp trilene, this seems to work the best.

for lakers, I use a good baitcaster spooled with 10 pound line on a berkeley graphite rod, which has some good backbone for the agressive strikes and hook sets.

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You really do get what you pay for. I use summer reels all year long.

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I agree with everyone on staying away from the cheap combos. I have been using the St. Croix's that knoppers mentioned and really like them. I bought a couple of Tica reels ( cetus ss500 6bb ) to put on these and have been really impressed. I run Shimano's in the summer, and love those as well. I also agree on staying away from the ice lines. I use good ole Trilene xl yet. I switched from 8 down to 6 on my walleye rigs the last couple of years. I like the better feel, but will maybe someday pay the price of losing a hog.

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Yep you get what you pay for. I have rods from thorne bros, gander Guide series, and St. Croix. I can't remember the last time I bought a combo. I admit many years ago i did. But Now when i buy a new rod. it is either cause I did something foolish and broke a current rod set up. Or when i am in Gander or cabelas i talk myself into buying a new one. i can always justify why i need a new rod :-)

But i have had good luck by only using certain reels for my ice rods, and certain reels for my summer.

I have never been a big fan of rear drag reels. after owning one a long time ago. So i aways look for a front drag reel. The more bearing the better is what i belive. not sure if that entirely accurate, but it has worked for me.

So i have a couple of Tiny Silstars, all teh way up to gander Guides series to the Pfuelgers Presidential for ice reels.

As far as ice lines, I think i have tried must of them. i remember when the berkley ice lines first came out. i was sold on the low memory and the blue line as it would disappear in the water. But will admit i was not ever really happy with the durabilty or strength of these lines. i lost a lot of fish due to break offs from that line. I spool up new line every season too.

But The Fireline is by far the best experience i have had with fishing line. One i am really big on the no stretch and instant hook set you get with this line. I think I can feel a bite better with this stuff then i do any other line. For years i used the Fireline smoke colored line. I even use it on my summer rigs. But last year when they cam out with Fire line crystal i have used nothing else scince.

I could not be anymore happier then using it.

I think the best part of all this. is every one is gonna want and expect something different that they like to have out of their Rod and reel rigs. Part of the fun i think is finding the right combination that works best for you.

35 years ago i remember only using jiggle sticks with pegs to wrap your line around. we've come along way scince then. i was kid back then too.

I remeber buying my dad a Rod and reel Combo probably 20 years ago for Ice fishing. LOL you know what he did? He took the reel off, and made out of wood a piece that would fit into the reel seat. the piece had two pegs on it. so he could wrap his line around it. he was that old school and refused to switch over to a reel.

Thats changed now of course.

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grin.gifMy family still insists on joggle sticks and laughs at my homemade combos made out of scrapped out old rods.

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Things have changed in our industry.I can remember tossing line into the heater,sure do like reels plus having a good drag has saved my fish from busting the line.

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I agree, with the lighter lines being used for panfishing a good reel really does make a difference. Also noticed how spineless my ultra light rod is, bigger fish seem to overpower it. Time to spend some money. ole

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I do like a rod that has a good backbone for setting the hook and for control during the fight.It's also nice not having to stand on my tippy toes to get the rod fully loaded.

They can get too whippy ,bouncing around makes my eyes go crazy trying to see that tell tale tick of a light hit.

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Aren't you supposed to be tying jigs!! ole

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I'm at my day job Ole.

Some day that will be my day job.

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Unclekes brings up an interesting point on Flourocarbon. It is expensive line, but can be spread out for long time if you're only using it for leaders. Is there a disadvantage (other than cost) to using this? Mr.Walleye states it's the most invisible line on the market which seems to be an advantage; I take comments like that with a grain of salt sometimes when they come from a promotor, but there must be some truth to it ...?

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I'm a mono guy,Cajun red dissapears in the deeper water.

Trilene Ice blue blends well.

I'm always catching pannies on whatever line.

Walleyes may have a defference to it ,but I've never had much issue with lines spooking fish.

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Regarding mono vrs. the new no stretch/no seeum lines. Think of them like tools in a mechanics tool box. In certain situations one tool works better than another. But perhaps in 90% of fishing situations mono is the way to go. Remember mono has been around for almost 50 years now. Think of all the fish mono has caught. Also remember that manufacturers keep improving the stuff. If I told you what the plastic wire I fished with back in the 1960's you would not believe me plus it would turn your hair prematurely gray. But the stuff caught fish anyway and was a whole lot better than the braided lines that they replaced.

Regarding visibility of the lines out there? My guess is that some of what the hype is about may be true and most probably is not. Remember we are taling about FISH here not rocket science. A fish is not a human being. HE is not all that smart. If he was he would not bite on 99% of the lures we throw at him. He doesn't have a large brain capacity and he goes by instinct more than reason.

Maybe in some lakes and rivers and impoundments where they have been heavily fished they may be a bit spooky and harder to catch but fishermen have a decided advantage in their quest to put fish on the table. Namely; that FISH HAVE TO EAT. Whether they are spooky or not they still have to eat. So whether the fish can see the line or not if a tempting morsel happens to be dangling nearby they will probably bite.

As for Florocarbon? Well I am not saying it is NOT a good line. It is practically invisible in water and in certain situations it might be the way to go. The question I ask is how many times would you find yourself in such situations. Would some other tool in my toolbox work just as well. Does the expense of Florocarbon justify its use? Like I said, you have to make up your own mind. As for me, well I am not opposed to new things. God knows each year they come out with newer, better and shinier things. (Or so they tell us) but are they designed to catch fish or fisherman like the old addage goes. Some are! Most aren't. Thats what keeps my money in their bank accounts and what keeps America great!

Good Luck! Tight Lines!

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Good points UncleKes.....I should mention I find it hard to change old habits.

I know that I like the forgiveness that mono gives me with it's stretch.Sometimes I'm guilty of having to tight of a drag and that stretch keeps me from tearing my hook loose on a hard set.

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Kieth! I know what you mean! The first no stretch line I used was Spider Wire back about a year after it came out. I have never quite lived down the Northern jaw and lips I pulled out of the lake the fist time I used it.

(That little anecdote will remain secret just between the two of us, by the way!)

Afterward I learned to set with my wrists and not my shoulders!

I also like some of the no stretch braided out there. Like I said, Times have changed and the stuff we have to fish with is today is like day and night compared to just 25 years ago. God sure ahs given us a wonderous age to live in!

Take care, Kith!

Tight Lines!

Uncle Kes

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Kieth! I generally do not rush out and buy the first new, shiny or improved thing that hits the shelves either. I will wait a bit until it has had a decent test run under field conditions to see if it is all it is hyped up to be too. Also, I will let someone else spend the money to field test it rather than take a chance that I might get taken in by some slick fancy talking Salesmen who would not know Lake Mille Lacs from Lake Woebegone!

I suppose a lot of that is my age. You tend to get conservative as you get older and you aren't quite the risk taker you were when you were 20. But I have fun anyway in my own quiet way. Just me and my briar pipe in my row boat in the lily pads. An ultra lite and a can of fresh dug worms over a pod of bluegills.

Your people it seems to me are too busy with life to slow down and appreciate the stillness sometimes. You need to savor the moment not rush through life.

Anyway, enough of my maudlin meandering. Must be the winter blahs!

Take care!

Tight Lines!

Uncle Kes

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Just wait another 2 weeks and we will have tanning weather on that late ice.

Ya know your there when the sounds of geese fill the air.

Dang! I just wet myself thinnin about late ice.

th_HPIM1802.jpg

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Nice to see you are back Keith, but I don't need the image of you sitting in front of the computer in your wet whitey tighties!!!! grin.gif

I love the first bits of open water, but there is some serious catching left to do on the ice so no rush yet.

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