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augernaut

Ice fishing reels

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There is a legion of real serious ice anglers who use - believe it or not - the cheap plastic schooley reels, or somethign similar. Mount them on a good quality ice rod (100% carbon graphite), and you have an unbeatable combination of light weight and absolutely no line twist. Spinning reels always twist the line to some degree, and in a shallow water type situation, it is difficult to keep a horizontal jig from spinning. One cardinal rule of gill, crappie, and perch fishing is that fish will not hit a spinning jig. I myself use mainly spinning reels - especially for walleye jigging and any panfishing over about 10 foot of water. However, I'm really starting to play around more with the schooley type reels for shallow water work though - also the european style of tiny little rods that have an integral reel in them (kind of like a Normark Teho, or Marmish). As far as baitcasters go, I think unless you are fishing lakers in DEEP water (60-120 FOW), there is really no reason to use a baitcaster. A good spinning reel will land any walleye or pike you hook into.

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Well put augernaut, those are words from a true finesse panfisherman smile.gif

Spinning jigs = bad

I've been using a lot shorter rods for shallow panfish bites as well. They work a lot better for sight fishing when you're leaning over the hole. They also play a fish surprising well too. Rods as short as a foot are being used for bites like this.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

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Iceleaders
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Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

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Up until last winter, I too was vitually a 100% spinning reel guy. Now my oldest who was 7 last winter really got into ice fishing also. I had some old Garcia 5000's and put them on a rod he got for christmas and a ice rod I already had. I found that they were much easier for him to use without any assistance from Dad, which made him enjoy it more. I really enjoyed using them while dead sticking with a slip bobber. The line never gets caught on the bobber stop knot when I use the baitcasters, like it does with a spinning reel, which lets you get back in the ballgame faster after rebaiting the jig. Especially on a lake like LOW where you are letting out 30 ft or so of line.

SPUD

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So far every reel I have for ice fishing is a spinning reel. I've seen baitcasting reels for ice fishing also. What other reels are there and in what circumstances would you recommend one over the other (i.e. are the baitcasting reels better than spinning reels in some ice fishing circumstances)?

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I ice fish with spinning reels probably about 99 percent of the time. I have one rod equipped with a baitcaster and thats on a 36 inch Medium Heavy Genz rod. Only time I've used that rod is for quick-strike jigging for pike, and a spinning reel set-up could be used the same way.

In my opinion, a spinning reel can be used in every situation and the isn't really a circumstance where I'd choose a baitcaster because it will out perform the spinning reel. It all comes down to personal preferrence.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

[email protected]
Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

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My thoughts for northerns, walleyes, is to use a baitcaster is to lessen the line twist, here is my thoughts on how that works, your fishing vertical right? so when your fishing why do you want a line that doesnt wind in a vertical motion? I think there still is some line twist but not as much, but like someone said a spinning reel works just fine.
Best Fishes
Chris

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Thanks Matt :-)

I've got a new one this year I picked up late last winter - it's the Frabill Sensive 18" microlite rod, and I put the little HT levelwind reel on it - the reel is blue and black, aluminum, looks like a tiny little fly reel. Should be an awesome finess rig! I'm going to spool with 2lb Stren Gold, and a 2lb flourocarbon leader. Oh man, I can't wait for ice!!!!

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I'm a hang the rattle reel on the wall and drink beer kind of guy. But, where I live we don't put out 30 feet of line. Going hand over hand is actually easier in 4' of water.

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Matt,

Yeah, I've looked at the Sweet Pea and Finesse plus from Thorne Bros. Pretty awesome little rods! I'm afraid to buy one, cuz if I do, it will start the "waterfall effect", and I'll have to have about 6 or 7 of them!! My wife might send me up the river!!LOL! That little HT reel is hard to find, I've only seen them a few places - never looked on their HSOforum for them. This one I found at a garage sale for a quarter - it's like brand new. SOLD!

Oh yeah, I also discovered last year that you can very easily make a spring bobber setup like the Thorne Bros one. Just take that little Bic lighter spring, and take a piece of electrical tape - slice it in half, and wrap one half of the tape around the base of the spring until it is just a little bigger than the diameter of your rod's tip-top. You can friction fit the tape/spring end into the tip-top and there you have it! Works awesome - and if you need some extra visibility, you can paint the end of the spring your favorite flourescent color.

[This message has been edited by augernaut (edited 08-09-2004).]

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augernaut,

I know what you mean about Thorne Bros. rods! I bought one a number of years ago. I then bought a Genz rod thinking that would be a good 2nd rod. Wow, was I wrong! I went out and got another Thorne Bros. rod the day after I fished with that Genz rod. I'm planning on adding 2, possibly 3 more Thorne Bros. rods to my arsenal this year. First one I get will be a deadstick rod.

To those who have never honestly deadsticked, you are missing out! Now I just have to get a rod that more idealy suits that situation, it is a highly specialized situation too. Absolute key to deadsticking is good rod holders. You will learn the rest quickly after that.

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Yep, those Thorne Bros rods can be harmful to our health grin.gif Very nice rods, but I've done just fine with several other models as well for a little cheaper price. Nothing wrong with having a few Thorne Bros as well as a mixed bag. In all honesty, it all comes down to personal preferrence. Some of my favorite ice fishing rods cost me less than 10 bucks. Genz rods are pretty awesome rods for the price. JR's Tackle has a new rod similar to the Genz rod and at an even lower price yet! So many rods to choose from...

A garage sale for a quarter!? smile.gif Now thats a find! wink.gif Good idea on the Bic lighter spring bobber.

Deadsticking works wonders out on the ice. Noodle rods are pretty good deadsticking rods, very sensitive tips and some of them have solid backbones and are ideal for both hook-set and strike indicator. Thorne Bros makes a rod specifically designed for deadsticking, same with Croxton Pond and several others. But don't just go with rods that are labeled as deadsticking rods, there are a lot more out there that can be used in the same fashion. Deadsticking is prime for crappies, walleyes, among others...

Here's an articles I wrote on deadsticking crappies last winter if anyone is interested...(old name was MJ5)...

Deadsticking for Crappies


Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

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Matt,
How in the heck did I miss out on that piece of information last winter?? I think you pretty much summed it up there!

I like to keep things simple and comfortable. I pretty much use traditional ice fishing methods, you know, what your dad tought ya!

But I caught on to this deadsticking thing quick and won't fish without it now. Half of the fun is staring at your rod tip rather than the bobber. I mean its basically the same technique but for some reason I can pick up more bites, nibbles, sniffs on the deadstick rod. If you got a quick hand, you can typically set the hook and you got a fish on the other end. Alot of the time, they set the hook themselves.

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augernaut,
Thats a good set-up, should be dynamite on those shallow water gills! Thorne Bros has a rod designed for finesse sight fishing with a tiny spring bobber attached to the end. A pretty nice rod if you're willing to spend a couple extra bucks. I can't picture the HT reel you mentioned, know you got my curiousity going smile.gif I'm gonna have to check their website. Sounds like it would be prime for those light-weight rods. I've seen a few other small plastic-type reels, very light-weight and perfect for shallow water sight fishing.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

[email protected]
Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

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Good article Matt.

Hey, do you Minnesotans ever use tip-downs for crappie? Fairly similar to a deadstick in it's application, but imho probably a little more forgiving if balanced properly. A properly balanced tip-down will give a fish virtually zero resistance throughout the full range of the tip-down's motion. They are great if a fish takes the bait and moves off a little bit. I know they are growing somewhat in popularity here in Wisconsin. I bought one last year, and plan on making a few more this summer/fall.

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When ice fishing with a bait caster make sure to use one with a large opening for the line to come through onto the spool. A small hole will freeze up the first time you reel it up. Quantums do not work very well. Those Abu's with the large slot opening work good. Bait casters are great for jigging raps and pimples, etc.

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Good point on the tip-downs! The Rod Strap by Todays Tackle is a velcro style tip-down/rod holder great for crappies, as well as just about every other species. Very portable and they have numerous different purposes and uses. I set one up just about everytime I hit the ice.

The Rock-n-Reel is a tip-down commonly used by a lot of people as well. Its your standard place-the-rod and let it do the work style of tip-down. This is your balance type tip-down. Very effective in many situations and for many different species. The fish feels almost no resistance and has no chance of avoiding the hook-set smile.gif

Tip-downs bring deadsticking to a whole new level!

Good one augernaut!

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

[This message has been edited by Matt Johnson (edited 08-10-2004).]

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Matt, have you used the rod straps mounted inside a portable, as a deadstick? Looks cool on the HSOforum - but I wonder how easy it is to set the hook. Pretty cool product overall! I got ahold of a Rock-n-Reel late last winter, haven't really had a chance to use it yet - but you can bet it will be searching out first ice walleyes with me this year :-)

Oh, I noticed HT HSOforum is not working too well - if you go to peterson-outdoors dot com and look up the "micro fly reel-drag" under the icerods and reels link, that's that little reel I was talking about earlier - except I'm pretty sure mine has some aluminum in it somewhere! It's model MFR-1

darn, I can't wait for winter...

[This message has been edited by augernaut (edited 08-10-2004).]

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Yep, I've used the Rod Straps both inside and outside the portable. They can be attached right to the poles inside your portable for easy use. I would rig it up so that the rod is balanced, and any strike would cause the rod to dip slightly towards the hole. It is pretty easy to un-hook (un-velcro) when you get a bite. The best part about the velcro is that if you are outside your portable or not paying attention when a fish hits you won't lose your rod down the hole, it will stay latched no matter how hard a fish pulls. I really like the Rod Strap because it can be placed just about anywhere inside your portable. I like to bring a long a few extras and attach them to the poles behind me, and than I'll put spare rods that I'm not using in those so they are up and out of the way, so when I want to use one I can just turn around and un-hook one. Very nice and organized.

If you rig the Rod Strap up correctly, once you get a strike you can pull on the orange flap and the rod will come out rather easy. I haven't missed too many hook-sets because of not being able to get the rod out fast enough.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

[This message has been edited by Matt Johnson (edited 08-11-2004).]

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Great thread - good info. But it leads me to the question of rod spine.

Almost all the rods you see for sale are spinning rods - which puts the line guides on the wrong side of the spine if you put a baitcaster on it.

I realize a bluegill or crappie won't stress a rod that bad - but sooner or later, a toothy critter is gon'na come along, and then you could have trouble.

So whats the consensus? Ignore spine - or get the ice rods custom made to handle a bait caster/level wind?

UG

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I picked up a Genz baitcaster rod last spring on clearence and was able to try it for some laker fishing before the season was up. It was the first time I've used a baitcaster icefishing and I really liked it. I think it will work great for northerns and walleyes also.

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Uncle Grump - you are right, there aren't too many ice rods built specifically for baitcasters. The Genz rod is one, and I believe Thorne Bros. makes at least one model of baitcaster specific rods.

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Duffman, Augernaut

I'm aware of the Genz baitcaster, but seems to me, if I'm thinking of the right rod, its a big heavy beast, for fishing toothy critters. Are either of you aware of any lighter weight ones - other than Thorne or other custom mades??

UG

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Looks like I started quite a conversation here. Glad I could help!

You've got me curious about those tip-downs. Matt, you'll need to show me how they work. Either that or have someone here show me the HSOforum for these things.

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