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Tip-Ups 101: How to line the rig help


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Hey there,

So this is my first year with tip ups. I have two of the Frabil 10" Pro Thermals (Pictures below). I have line ready to be wound, and I have a rig with a leader. The issue or stage I am at is before all this fun:

Question: With the given pictures, can you please tell me what I need to be doing to wound (sp?) the line and specifically, what I do with the metal "L" bar. Also, the middle adapter rises and falls on my demand. (Just FYI).

I honestly have tried YouTube, Google and our search, but I could not find a simple setup for this, albeit it must not be that hard.

Thank you.

I appreicate your help in advance...






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For starters you put your fishing line into the spool like you would a fishing reel. The line then goes out of the spool through the metal loop next to the spool. To set the tip up you want to put the flag part into the larger slot and put the black pastic piece on the flag shaft. Haven't used a round Frabill in 10 years but suspect two sensitivy settings? Guessing one side of the black plastic piece is easier to set off than the other, could be wrong.

Haven't run a round tip up in 10 years but they are the same in theory to the standard style tip ups.

Hope this makes a little sense.

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Hello there,

So, I wanted to post an update as to where I am and if I can get any closing advice, that would be great!

By the pictures, my line is wound and I have a connecting leader/rig. I am wondering what I do now? I have those mini red bobbers but I do not know where they go. How do I put a limit on the line?

I have learned the flag on top can be set at an angle or a flat to ensure a hookset and not a false alarm.

Thanks again,




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You attach one of those clip on weights to your line, drop it to the bottom, take your fingers and pinch the line right at the water level, then I usually do an arm lengths and attach the bobber to the line. You then wind the line up until the bobber is almost touching the metal L and position your flag under the black flat part so your sucker doesn't set it off. Now you are about 2-4 feet off the bottom depending on what you think is an arms length. Go whack some pike!

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I run a swivel inbetween the black tip-up line and whatever else I'm using. Makes it easier for me to switch out quickstrike rigs (with leaders or heavy mono) and lighter line tipped with a small jig and shiner. So to answer your question, it goes tip-up line, swivel, and then the rig of choice. For me that is, not sure this is the most preferred method.

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From the looks of it, it looks like you're just using the braided dacron. It works fine, but has a tendency to freeze up and get tangled up easy. If you can find some with the plastic coating on the outside of it, it seems to work better for me.

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I use the plastic coated "Tip-up" line as this line is easier to handle than mono or braided.

Before putting your line on the spool, note which way the T on the shaft turns to determine best rotation for the flag to tip up when you'll get a strike.

Add a good swivel with a snap for quick leader changes.

I'll use 10lb. Vanish flourocarbon with a #6 Gamagatsu red colored hook when fishing for walleyes.

For pike, I use a steel leader with a large #2 hook and hook a large sucker or a large golden shiner just under the dorsal fin, then put the minnow about 2-4 feet under the ice as pike can see these from a longer distance when placed just under the ice with more light shining on them.

I also use a quick strike rig with multiple treble hooks for instant hook sets.

Good Luck.

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Another option for tip-up line (and my favorite), is to use fluorescent fly line backing for my walleye rigs. When I get a flag I like to be able to look down the hole and see if the line has been pulled away from center at all. And during a hot bite I can even see the line get pulled sideways right after dropping the bait down, and can set the hook immediately. I use a 4-5 ft fluorocarbon leader on these rigs...

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Thank you for all the helpful replies.

I just have one question and I feel it is really dumb, but this is my first year. Per the pictures, I am all set to go. Now, about that small bobber. I have learned it is a depth reading. I thought it was to stop the line from adding more underneither ice. My question is, is the tip up line free to open up as much as I added ? Meaning, if I have 100 yards, am I supposed to let it fly 100 yards, or should there be a "block" so it doesnt drag all my line out, creating a length of time to respool?

Thank you in advance!

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In my opinion the small bobbers are a pain in the butt. I put a bead on the tip-up line that I peg with the end of a tooth pick. I have had no issues with the toothpick falling out when making depth adjustments. Most of the little tip-up bobbers are cheaply made and hard to get the line under both clips on the bobber. They used to be better made. A small split shot also works.

For me there are a few keys to succesful tip-ups functions. 1. High-quality swivel 2. Flourocarbon leaders 3. An appropriate sized treble hook that I can set as soon as I get to the tip-up.

Waiting for a fish to stop running generally results in deeply hooked fish in my opinion. Most fish I catch on a tip-up with a treble that is set immediately are hooked near the lip of the fish. Sure I miss a few but I have less swallowed hooks.

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There are alot of variations for running tipups and leader material. For most pike a 12# floro or mono leader is sufficient, no need ofr wire and if your mono shy then you can run a short piece of 30-50# powerpro far a bit stealthier approach. Most of the time I run 6# mono on my rigs for walleyes and have taken plenty of pike on those with only occassional bite offs. Some folks tie a barrel swivel onto the dacron and then attach either a floro or mono leader or the quick strike rig. If you want to have the ability to quickly change the rigs leaders then tie your leaders with a duolock snap and you simply snap whater rig you want onto the barrel swivel. I typically tie my floro leader direct to the dacron using a uni to uni knot. As far as a line marker, people go all different routes from bobber to duct tape, knotted rubber bands to sinkers. I like to use a small pinch on sinker. Pike as a rule don't seem to be as line shy as walleyes but there are days when a lighter mono rig translates into many more bites then rigs that are using the heavier hardware.


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I'm going Pike hunting tomorrow with my tip ups, should I just throw a treble with a sucker on the end and forgo the leader? my current set up is a swivel, 2 ft of 8# vanish, a swivel snap with a 9" red leader and a #8 treble. is this all too much metal on the end? Is the vanish enough? I'm pretty new to the tip up game, trying to learn this way of fishing. for walleye, I have a rig with a swivel, 4 ft of 8# vanish floro, and a large octopus red circle hook for a shiner or fathead. this a good mix? I have been taking notes from these forums, all of you guys are a huge help to make a guy feel competent on the ice. I thank all of you for your contributions.

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ok, now I have a dumb question. what is the point of 20 lb braided tip up line if you're just adding 2-5 ft of 8 lb test floro at the end?

A couple reasons.

The braid doesn't have memory like mono.

Black line is easier for you to see laying on the ice.

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I say spool her up. I put the whole spool of tip-up line on. It's only $5 or so and you never know when you get a fish that will make several long runs before you notice the flag up. Per your question, I don't think it matters how long the flag may have been up versus the amount of line you need to let the fish have. Once I notice the flag is up, I take my time walking toward it and watch to see if the line is unreeling. What I've been told and what works for me is to set the hook when the line is moving. What I've been told is that if you try to set the hook when the fish is stopped and turning the bait around in its mouth, you may just yank the bait out instead. That said, you may be there a bit without seeing the line moving. Then I just slowly feel for tension and if I feel firm resitance, I pull hard to try and set the hook. Most of the time its worked.

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B-man is correct on the use of braided line. Mono, as your primary spooled line, can very difficult to re-spool each time it is pulled free, and tends to have spool memory, while braid is soft, pliable, and easy to re-spool.

I would stick with about 40-50 yds of line per tip-up, tops! Completely filling your spools with line may cause you a headache as the line will tend to "want" to roll off the spool. I've caught hundreds of fish on tip-ups and never had a fish completely spool me with 40-50 yds of line. Been close! But never happened. wink

masoct3 and others here....please remember, if your planning to use only a single hook, or treble hook, and not a "lure" of some kind, you MUST add a blade or flasher of some type to the line, as an attractor...by law at least in Minnesota.

Most commercial quick strike rigs you purchase now will already have a small blade of some type built into the rig.

masoct3...if you are using a quick strike rig, which is a multi-hook system, and which I would recommend you use, you do not have to wait to set the hook on a fish. Simply gently feel for a little weight of the fish when you lift the line carefully with your hands. If and when you feel a little weight set the hook firmly and keep steady pressure on the fish hand over hand until you ease them head first up the hole.

If you feel you have a large fish on the line, DO NOT wrap the line around your fingers, or hands, but let the line slide smoothly thru your finger tips only applying a little pressure while the fish makes it's run. If you try to STOP the fish from running the whole event could end badly, either with your fish breaking free, or you being cut deeply by braided line slicing thru your fingers.

Remember, late winter fish are pretty docile critters. A huge pike or musky can easily be landed by hand if you take your time, let them swim or run a few times, then carefully ease their head up the hole. As stated earlier, take your time and don't rush the process.

Nothing can teach you more about fishing with tip-ups, or fishing in general for that matter, then time on the water, with trial and occasionally some error. Find someone in your area that has used these techniques in the past, and tag along with them on a trip. I'm sure they can teach you a lot about the system, and the "hands on" knowledge is way more valuable then anything you can read here.

Best of luck to you. smile

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