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Rattle reel setup and tips?


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I bought a Catch Cover Rattlesnake Reel for some friends that have a permanent/hard sided shack in the Haliburton Region. The product itself is made in Minnesota and I believe they are more common in your end of the ice belt than across the border here. While hand lining technique and setup are probably the same for most tip ups, the rattle reel is still uncommon in my area as far as I know. I'd like to know what you would use on a lake with walleye and rainbow trout as the target species. My current best guess is 150 yards of 20lb tip up braid to a 10lb fluorocarbon leader with a bobber/float to regulate/mark the depth and a single hooked live minnow. What are you guys using with these rattle reels as far as line and tackle in regards to large walleye and rainbow trout? The 10lb should be enough if the fish is fought correctly with minimal drag applied as well as lots of line and room to run I think? The lake they are on has few if any other huts so a lot of line can be let out if necessary. If you have any tricks, advice or stories you're willing to share on this topic please post it as well. I'm almost starting from scratch other than the cardinal rule to never wrap your hand with the line. I've never actually fished with it but I think I've got a good idea how to operate it.t I think it will make a good and productive addition to the hut with a little advice from experience on how to fish with it properly.

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You can use Dacron line in house that’s heated or outside if the temps are warm but a coated line like fly fishing line is a go to for us.  When multiple rattle reels are used in fish house it’s a good idea to use different color line on each reel so when there is a tangle it’s easier to sort it out.


The amount of line you want on there is dependent on how deep you normally fish.  I figure a good rule of thumb is at least twice the deepest depth you plan to fish.  No need for 100 yards.


I connect my fluorocarbon leader to the line with a quality barrel swivel.  10lb is also a common test to use but you could go lighter.  I think the most common reason fish are lost on these rigs is people set the hook too hard and pull the fish too fast when hand lining.  There’s no rod to absorb any of the shock.  Just let the fish run like you normally would, then stop the line and let the fish tighten it up a bit, then give a light but firm tug to set the hook and take your time hand over handing.  Sometimes you have to be ready to let the line slip back through your fingers (like drag on a reel) if it takes a run.  When the swivel for your leader comes up the hole it’s time to play nice to turn the the head to get them out.  It’s very easy to rip the hook out if you overdo it.


For setting the depth: you can either use a float of your choice clipped on the main line for bigger bait or use a slip bobber knot or rubber band knotted on the line for a depth indicator with small baits.  When I’m using the knot or rubber band I set it just below the reel instead of at the water so I can see it in the house.  That way I can tell if I missed a bite or how fast the fish is taking the bait and sometimes even if the minnow is swimming well.


Hope that helps!

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Thanks Wanderer! Quite a comprehensive and condensed summary of the topic. I will have to review everything before ice comes in and show the post to my friends that I bought the Rattlesnake Reel for. I still have some questions though. I bought two types of Suffix tip-up line. One is the V-coat, (vinyl coated), and the other is the regular Dacron braided tip-up line. Between these two, which would make more sense to attach the leader to and would act as the main line most of the fighting and friction would occur. The reel will be mounted in a heated hut primarily, but not always. The V-coat line seems thick, but with a 4-5 ft. leader is it an issue? Also, besides zip-ties does anyone have a good way of mounting the Catch Cover disc system in hub-houses? By the way Wanderer, I was checking out your thread and found it interesting. No one has thrown a spear in Canada for a long time, at least Ontario. Around here it was outlawed somewhere between 1920-1950. I can't remember exactly when right now. When the law was passed there were still those who attempted to continue the tradition of spearing pike in Cook's Bay, Lake Simcoe (Ontario), but the Ministry of Natural Resources cracked down hard on those who did. Just a faded part of history now. The only spears from the area are in private collections and museums now. The decoys that survived sit like folk art on mantels. Spearing is something I've wanted to try for some time since I appreciate how things were done before the high end rod and reel set ups of today. My favorite way to fish for perch is a jigging stick with a slab grabber/flutter spoon and a high hook. Even the rod and reel can go S.N.A.F.U. at times, and hand-bombing/ hand lining technique comes into play. It's always good to practice the simple basic technique once in a while I feel. With pike numbers on the rise in certain areas I feel we could go spearing in some lakes, but the M.N.R. would probably take 10 years to analyze the situation before changing the regulations. Keep up the tradition Wanderer. Passing on knowledge of the sport to others is what keeps it alive. Here in Ontario spearing is a lost skill. Enjoy the season with your brother Wanderer, here in Ontario we've just gone through a 15C/60F day yesterday where I live near the East shore of Lake Simcoe. Not a good start to the ice making season. for us but I still hope a cold snap might save us for the new year. If you ever have any questions about Lake Simcoe and fishing there (mostly perch, whitefish, lake trout and pike), stop by the Lake Simcoe Message Board run by John Whyte. It's my usual forum for ice fishing and hopefully the rest of the members would be just as helpful and kind as you've been. My profile name is loonietoonie.

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Hey Capt, from your original post you know what you are doing already!  And +1 for everything Wanderer added.  I have used vinyl, dacron, at at some point fly fishing line.  Vinyl is easier to grab compared to dacron.  I prefer dacron because it hangs straighter and slips through your hand easier when you need drag action.  I lose a few fish that are head shaking from slack in the line that is hard to control.  If I remember correctly, fly line has a little give that could help as a shock absorber but its been a while I could be wrong.  I tend to use 10 lb test fluoro leader which results in having to re-tie less often but if there are not many northerns around I would go lighter.  Typically like to set the hook after after they stop the first run and then start again but it depends on how aggressive they are sometimes earlier is better.  Love to watch them hit on the camera projected to the TV screen.  Also love the bell ding...reminds me of Jaws!

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I'll start with the vinyl coated line and then tie two more spools of the regular tip up line. (50yrds v-coat backing to 100yrds braided tip up line). I'm thinking the vinyl coated line would have too much grip for the bigger fish to run easily, but it will make a good backing line that would stick to the reel. The target species are walleye and rainbow trout, but I need to be able to let out line for the big lake trout that are there that I don't target. (There's a gap in age/size between the old/large fish and small/young lake trout.) As for lead line that might take some testing to find my comfort zone with the lake and  the fish in it. That should be all for now. Between both of your posts on this thread I should have everything I need to be successful. Unfortunately COVID-19 lockdowns are a possibility here again, and I have not gone ice fishing with my friends in Haliburton for two years. I've had it with lockdowns and I need more fishing to help keep my sanity. I've been to Lake Simcoe a bit on my own in that time but the season is shorter there and the main target species is perch. Come by the Lake Simcoe Message Board if you feel like it. www.lakesimcoemessageboard.com

If there are any questions or comments I will check this site for the rest of the weekend. Thanks again... C.C. a.k.a. loonietoonie

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@CaptainCanuck  thanks for your post above.  I like hearing about different sporting ways in different regions.


Put whichever line on that reel you feel comfortable with hand over handing.  Either can be tied to you flouro leader.  The vinyl is a little harder to knot but you don’t need an elaborate one.  Doesn’t take much to make it hold.  My go to knot for everything is the palomar but a couple half hitches can do the trick also.



I do prefer the vinyl coated over the standard Dacron for better tangle resistance and no water retention.  It just works cleaner in my opinion.


And yes, your leader should be 4-5 feet long to start.  You’ll loose some each time you retie a bait unless you put a cross lock snap on the end for changing things out.  I prefer just a snap over a swivel.  Less hardware at the bait and a swivel is already on the line so it would be redundant anyway.


In Minnesota we have a lot of pike and in the central zone where I am we’re encouraged to take a limit of 10 at less than 22 inches while limiting the take of the larger ones to help bring up the size structure of not only the pike but the panfish they feed on.  Spearing is fairly popular here.


I’ll check out that Simcoe area and board!  Thanks for your info!

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