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PTocko

Total Newbee to Ice Fishing

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Okay - I am taking the leap and getting into ice fishing. Went to the ice fishing show with idea of getting some stuff to get started and basically got overwhelmed. In the end I got brain lock and ended up buying very little. I need some help on setting priorities on what I need versus what would be nice. I am on budget (say $500 with maybe a little wiggle room). I did pick up two rods from thorne bros with two small reels as my sumnmer reels are all too big. Here is what I'm thinking but please help - I did not realize there were so many options. Very cool to see but at the same time a little overwhelming to the newbee.

1) Rods / reels - covered

2) Tackle - have a lot of small jigs, spoons etc that I think I can use to get started.

3) Auger - have access to s strikemaster something or another. My brother-in-law is willing to sell me a new in the box one for $250 he won - said it retailed around $400. All I know is it is an 8 1/4" hole which he said is adequate.

Here is where it gets tricky

4) Electronics - I have a Lowrance 522 which I will probably convert for use on the ice. Thorne Bros said they could supply everything for around a $150.

5) Shelter - This is where I got blown away. I looked at everything at the show and came away confused with what (if anything) to get.

Right now I am leaning towards not getting a shelter and just limiting my outings to nicer days. My reasons for this are three fold. First, I am new to the sport so I want to make sure I enjoy it before going nuts and getting everything. Second - If I get a shelter I will need some accessories for it (heater, lights etc) which will drive up the cost. Third - I believe in getting "better" stuff that hopefully last longer and is a better value long-term. It seems that shelters in this range are way over my budget right now - especially given 1 and 2 above.

I believe that elctronics are necessary to at least know if you are fishing where the fish are - but am wrong to prioritize this over a shelter?

Please help a newbee out. Thanks.

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flasher first go with someone one here for some great experiences and see if ya wanna really do it or not. electronics are very important as is a house but their are open seats all the time on here. save up buy something that you really like if ya get hooked next year. hope ya find someone to fish with and keep that battery charged!

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I dont think I would convert your Lowrance? I would shop around for a Vex, or Mar. They sell alot on these sights and craigs list for alot less than new. a house is also easy to find a good deal with people geting bigger houses.Welcome to the winter season, you will love it!!

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You’ve came to the right place. I don’t blame you one bit for being overwhelmed at the show. It’s pretty intimidating even for the guys that have been fishing a long time.

I’ve never used a Lowrance on the ice so I cannot say how that will work, but your flasher will be the key item in your arsenal that everything will revolve around. If you are going to dump money into one item, I would do it here with a good flasher.

There are times when the fish are suspened that you would not have a shot at catching fish and with a good flasher you can put the bait in front of them and predict the bite.

I would recommend any one of the Marcum flashers with the VX-1 being a good starter flasher that won’t break the bank. If you look around you should be able to find one for $199. If you want more bells and whistles, step up to the LX3 or LX5.

While a shelter isn’t necessarily needed, it will allow you to get out at times you wouldn’t normally go. I use last night as a good example. It was pretty cold, the wind was blowing. Without a shelter, I probably would’ve stayed home, knowing that the bite didn’t start until 4:30. However with a shelter, we were out there till 7PM, nice and toasty warm and pulling in some Crappies.

You will get a lot of good advice here and I wish you good luck! Be sure to ask specific questions to get better answers. Any detail helps.

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Welcome to the fantastic world of ice fishing.

You can get by without a shelter.

There are several for sale forums on this site where you can perhaps pick up a good used shelter.

If you are handy and have a way to haul it, for less than $100 you can build a shelter out of plywood and tarps that will last you at least one season. I got one I use I have had since 1987.

I have two that I use quite often one is like 4 foot by 6.5 foot and just made a little one that is 3 foot by 5 foot. That I can slide into the back of my Van so on a whim I can fish while driving by a lake that looks interesting to me.

Otherwise I don't know your location but if you post that you want to go fishing many people on this site have empty chairs at times for quests and enjoy the company.

Don't know if this reply helps but again welcome.

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I fished for years without the flasher (bought the house first), caught a lot of fish and had a good time. Now that I have the flasher I wouldn't want to go without it but would still get the house over the flasher. I am not sure what you classify as "nicer days" but now that I have a house there are not many days when I decide it is nice enough to leave the house at home.

With your budget I would do the following:

1) buy a nice used house which can be found reasonably priced ($150 - $250) if you shop around(c-list). If you get a good deal on the house and decide ice fishing isn't your thing (this won't happen), you can turn around and sell if for pretty much what you paid for it.

2) buy an entry-level flasher for $250 - $300

3) buy a lazer hand auger $50-$75

4) buy the power auger once you have the money to do so

It is hard to have a good time out on the ice when your whole body is freezing cold. Even if the bite is slow you can still have a good time in a nice warm house.

You will Love ice fishing!

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PTocko, good to hear your pulling the trigger on hard water, it's a great sport. Since you have combo's and tackle already covered I won't get into that.

Auger:: The deal from your bro in-law sounds like a bargain...if you can do it, I would. I own a SM LazerMag with 10" bit and love it. 8&1/4" would be a nice size. If money is tight, you could always get a Nils hand auger and purchase a powerhead later for the auger bit when you have more cash to burn.

Electronics:: I have a 522 I just picked up this spring...I brought it to thorne bros. and they did get me all hooked up for around that price. So far, I LOVE IT. Graph Mode is excellent and if your using any chips in the GPS you can't go wrong. Highly recommended.

Shelter:: I bought mine in the early fall and got an excellent deal off of [YouNeedAuthorization]. It's a suitcase style clam. I like it. Setting up and tearing down can sometimes take a little while but nothing that bothered me too much. If your going alone mostly the small flip-over shelter's are hard to beat, 1 or 2 man. That's probably what I'll buy next year. If you plan on going with others a lot I enjoy the Quickfish 3 as it assembles super easy,quick and fishes 3. You can find those for a great price, just look around.

Overall, it really sounds like your almost there. It all depends on what kind of fishing your going to be doing, with how many people and how often. Keep an eye peeled for deals and sales going on and you should be able to find some nice equipment without breaking the bank. Good luck buddy.

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I think you are on the right track. That is a good deal on the auger. You should be fine with the 522, I've heard good things. Best advise is go out with some folks. See what you like what you don't like. DO some get togethers and up your learning curve. Where are you located at? I usually have room for another person and always eager to get someone into the sport. Shoot me at email shane at [YouNeedAuthorization] dot com.

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Why would you all be telling this guy not to modify that 522? They are AWESOME through the ice. In fact, there are only two advantages I can come up with for a Flasher over a graph at this point in time: (1) you can operate them with mittens on, and (2)I know they will take the "big fish kick" that clears them from the ice hole when things get hairy. Granted, those two things have me sticking with Vexilar, but if I already had a 522 I would have a hard time making the argument for either.

Go ahead and convert it, and buy that auger. That way you can fish whenever and where-ever you want.

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My suggetion would be to check out the classifies and [YouNeedAuthorization]. First and foremost, buy what you need to be comfortable. This encompasses clothing, shelter, power auger, etc. You can get a heater and headlamp for $50. the more comfortable you are on the ice, the more you will like it. If you are cold and miserable, you will give up sooner and would not be doing yourself any favors. A flasher would be the next thing. You can catch fish without one... but a flasher is like an ace up your sleeve.

Again, if you are on a limited budget... you may want to stay away from purchasing a few items brand new... and go with buying a ton of items used. You can always re-sell and upgrade later.

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Again, if you are on a limited budget... you may want to stay away from purchasing a few items brand new... and go with buying a ton of items used. You can always re-sell and upgrade later.

Yes, yes, yes

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Why would you all be telling this guy not to modify that 522? They are AWESOME through the ice. In fact, there are only two advantages I can come up with for a Flasher over a graph at this point in time: (1) you can operate them with mittens on, and (2)I know they will take the "big fish kick" that clears them from the ice hole when things get hairy. Granted, those two things have me sticking with Vexilar, but if I already had a 522 I would have a hard time making the argument for either.

Go ahead and convert it, and buy that auger. That way you can fish whenever and where-ever you want.

As looney suggested. Use your 522 on the ice in graph mode! Very awesome.

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I would say if you have some buddies that also fish hardwater ask if you can tag along. I had just started about 6 years ago and just went with friends for the first year. When I had figured it out that I absolutley love the sport I kept an eye out for deals in Feb. I had pretty much got all set up for about half the price for the next season. If I had known about this site back then I would've deifinately taken advantage of the open seats, and learned a lot more.

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I also recommend going out with someone that has experience with ice fishing. Makes a big differnce if you have never done it before. Using this site is also a great resource ... so you got that covered.

Good Luck!

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Why would you all be telling this guy not to modify that 522? They are AWESOME through the ice. In fact, there are only two advantages I can come up with for a Flasher over a graph at this point in time: (1) you can operate them with mittens on, and (2)I know they will take the "big fish kick" that clears them from the ice hole when things get hairy. Granted, those two things have me sticking with Vexilar, but if I already had a 522 I would have a hard time making the argument for either.

Go ahead and convert it, and buy that auger. That way you can fish whenever and where-ever you want.

I totally agree... I run a Lowrance M68c graph on the ice and it preforms flawlessly. Convert it, use it, love it.

Move on the auger...

Fishing shelters are a lot like buying any other house. you are never satisfied, continually improving, and looking over the fence for something better. What ever you buy will likely be replaced in 2-5 years time as you soon discover the 'faults' of the one you currently occupy. My advise, buy one that fits your needs right now without breaking the bank. See if ice fishing is really going to stick with you, then move up when needed.

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Thanks to everyone for replying. To those who offered their contact information to talk about some of this stuff - I will call / email in the next couple of days.

1) I probably will go ahead with the 522 - it seems simple and easy and I am familier with this finder from the summer.

2) I did look on C-list for a shelter - found several of interest. Will probably start a new thread with some questions specific to what I found there.

3) I will definately take up people's invites to fish. One of the main reasons I am taking this activity up is because I have many friends/family that are pretty avid hard water fisherman. That being said - I always like meeting new people. I live across the street from Prior Lake with very easy access so if anyone wants to fish Prior - just let me know. Also, if you are already "out there" and want company - let me know.

Thanks again for the replies. Good luck! PTocko

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I would say you can get into a Fishtrap scout for $100-150. I found mine on a site you should be familiar with for resale. Great for hole hopping and tows easily. The heaters will be onsale with the holiday clearance so that is what i bought after the Auger and Vex.

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I'd say get a shack, maybe a used fishtrap or something like that, because you can get all the electronics, auger, rods, shovel, heater, navigation, cooler, backpack, tackle, etc... but if you don't have a sled to pull it in, well, its just a lot of back and fourth hauling your gear.

And who wants to invest 50-100 bucks in a decent sled that could carry all your gear?

I mean, if your gonna spend that on a drag sled, you might as well get a shack for a couple hundred bucks more or whatever....

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I would say you can get into a Fishtrap scout for $100-150. I found mine on a site you should be familiar with for resale. Great for hole hopping and tows easily. The heaters will be onsale with the holiday clearance so that is what i bought after the Auger and Vex.

I found a bait shop that sells new scouts for $190

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Check out the post lowerance520 ice machine 11/29/08

Good info. I am setting up my 522 for ice this week.

I am going to start withice machine setting posted.

Thanks for the settings

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