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Gadgetman

fly reels for ice fishing?

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Ok, whats with the fly reels showing up on ice rods? I assume it is a matter of eliminating line twist? Does it make a difference, and if so would those of you that use them recommend them. Does a guy need to buy a real nice one or is just a basic modestly priced one good enough? Just curious, dont want to miss out on a potentially great idea, but also have no other need for a fly reel

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I started out using a flywheel 30 some years ago.

Before that I used eye screws on a cut off broomstick.

Been using a spinning and baitcasting for a long time now and won't go back to a flywheel.

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Here is a pic of a rod setup w/ fly reel. I think the rod is a Thorne Bros Quiver Stick. If I remember right, Tom got the idea form one of the guys at Thorne Bros (Pat or Matt maybe). There was a thread on this topic earlier in the season - It is suppose to eliminate line twist issues you can run into with spinning reels - If you are use to a pistol style grip on your ice rod, it takes some adjusting to holding with a fly reel.

3399457262_6bb2797021_b.jpg

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Yep, I got the idea from Pat Smith at Thorne Bros. It works great. The rod I have it on right now is a Thorne Sweet Pea site rod, but next year will run one on a Quiverstick as well. I just put backing on there to get started and test it out but need to add some fly line to basically get more backing on it. Once I have the full amount of backing, it will be a little faster bringing fish up. Right now, I only get about 6" of line per handle turn, with fly line on there I should be in the 9-10" per handle turn. I have it set up with the drag essentially backed off completely. I switched hand position when this pic was taken, but when jigging, you just grip the reel and use your fingers on the spool for tension. You control the drag for each fish, rather than adjusting on the fly (pun intended). I absolutely love it for panfish. There is no twist at all in the line on that rod, and I used it in that configuration for nearly two months of ice fishing. One other positive for using fly reels, they fit in rod bags a whole lot easier than conventional spinning reels. I took the line out clicker out of my fly reel too, as buzzing every time you pull line out to drop a lure gets too much attention from others, even if you are far away. Another thing I really like is being able to work the jig all the way down the water column. I had fish race up from the bottom in 30 f.o.w. to hit a jig 6' under the ice just from working the jig from the time it hit the water.

It takes a bit of getting used to after turning the handle on the spinning reels most of the winter, but once you get it down, it is a lot of fun. Fly reels are also generally more expensive than conventional ice spinning reels. Fly line and fly backer must be put on before your ice line and those are not necessarily cheap either.

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Another option for increasing the rate of line pick up would be to use a large arbor reel. The downside is that they are generally more expensive. The reel shown in the pic is an Okuma Sierra 2/3 (~$30-$40), for a little more (~$50) you can get an Okuma SLV. The arbor on this reel is quite a bit larger, and with 200yds of dacron backing, you will have a pick up rate which is considerably faster than the Sierra.

If you really wanted to get into very large arbor reels the price jumps way up, so for this, it would probably not be viable unless you wanted to get into fly fishing as well.

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Mine is attached with electrical tape. It is more difficult to get it on there than a spinning reel but it works alright.

OnAFly -

I looked at large arbor reels, and didn't like the idea of it. The reason for a smaller reel is so you can palm it easy to get the best jigging action. The one I have is actually a 4/5, and yes, quite cheap, but it gets the job done. At about 40 bucks though, it is more expensive than any spinning reel I have rigged on a ice rod, even more than my Tica Cetus reels.

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Ahh, I see. That makes sense. I used to have the same reel. I don't know how many times I dropped the thing while wading the streams. That thing was indestructible.

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Hey gadget,

I don't know if you are still fishing this year anymore. If you are you are more than welcome to try one of mine. If not next year for sure. I have 2 thorne bros. quiversticks with fly reels on em. You saw me using one in west bulls bay awhile back. Does it make a difference? Well put it this way. I have 7 new fly reels sitting on my table for the rest of my thorne rods for next year.

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thanks duckman, may have to look into that for next year. I have put the stuff away for this year as I am heading up to duluth for work this week. See you on the open water in a couple of weeks

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Great idea. I've got several fly reels I rarely use and could do this with. One downside is that you have to feed line off the reel rather than just flipping the bail. But I hate the line twist I get on light line and small jigs. I'm definitely going to try this next season.

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That downside is really a good side if you think about it though. By feeding line you are able to work the lure down the water column much easier than with a spinning reel. If I want, I can get a jig down on a fly reel just as fast as I can with a spinning reel. Just back the tension off completely and when jigging, palm the reel. Works great.

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