By Eric Brandriet
As we approach another ice season, it’s time to switch priorities and think about ice fishing essentials. Each year, I evaluate what is going to help me ice more fish. For starters, I need a means to get through the ice and a rod and reel. But there are other invaluable “can’t leave home without” necessities that really make a difference. Few items have shown more flexibility and success than tip-ups.
Here are the top 10 reasons every ice angler should have tip-ups in their ice fishing arsenal:
- Tip-ups are easy to use.
The idea that using tip-ups is difficult and only for veteran anglers is simply a misconception. Tip-ups are easy to set up and are great tools for ALL anglers and abilities.
- Tip-ups are for all species.
Many anglers look to tip-ups only for toothy critters like walleyes and pike. But many don’t realize that Frabill tip-ups exhibit great flexibility with the ability to detect the lightest bites which means they’re effective for even the smallest of species. The ability to catch everything from pike to bluegills on the same tip-up make them one of the best multi-purpose pieces of ice fishing equipment. Read ice fishing tips for Northern Pike.
- Tip-ups are versatile.
While it’s very important to match ice rods to lure weight and style, tip-ups are versatile. Lures of ALL sizes and shapes (from tungsten jigs to predator rigs) can be fished under tip-ups.
- Tip-ups are convenient.
Using tip-ups will NOT cut down on ice mobility and efficiency. Frabill tip-ups can be deployed quickly and easily so ice efficiency is not hindered and fishability is enhanced. And no matter the style of Frabill tip-up, storage is easy. All Frabill tip-ups, including thermal, rail-style and wood, fit perfectly in a 5-gallon bucket and cover all hole sizes.
- Tip-ups are great deadsticks.
Jigging calls fish into an area, but some fish prefer no movement like a deadstick. Tip-ups are great deadsticks adding another option besides the traditional rod and reel. Because of their high visibility, tip-ups lines can be spread out and prevents tangling when fishing in deeper water.
- Tip-ups cover more water.
No matter the time of year, covering water helps find fish. Laws in my home state of South Dakota allow the use of multiple lines on the ice. I use these laws to my advantage by setting tip-ups to cover more water and structure, pinpointing the most productive water or eliminating fishless water.
- Tip-ups pattern fish movement.
When drilling with a systematic approach, tip-ups can pattern fish movement. Tip-up bites will show the exact direction of fish movement and reveal the precise location where next holes should be drilled.
- Tip-ups keep panfish schools activated.
Always drill tip-up holes in pairs. When a flag goes up, increase your success by jigging in the adjacent hole to try to pick off more of the active fish in the school. The activity of the hooked fish swimming around will often keep the school activated leading to more fish iced before the school moves on.
- Tip-ups are effective in difficult conditions.
Fish are often more active during low-light periods and snowy conditions. Highly visible flags and added night-lights (Lil’ Shiner Light) accessorize Frabill tip-ups. Pro Thermal tip-ups keep holes from icing over and their visibility under these circumstances shouldn’t deter you from fishing when the bite is the best.
- Tip-ups are favorites for kids.
Tip-ups are ideal for fishing with kids. They’re easy to use, versatile, and reasonably priced. Kids get excited when a flag goes up and spreading out tip-ups gives kids exercise as they run from hole to hole chasing flags!
These are just a few reasons why tip-ups are an integral part of my arsenal. Tip-ups are used in every state and province in the Ice Belt because of the success they produce. Make sure you add them to your ice fishing arsenal this winter and enjoy the success they can bring!
About the Author:
Eric Brandriet was born and raised at the heart of South Dakota’s Glacial Lakes Region. Along with his father, he is part-owner/operator of Dakota Prairie Angling LLC offering year-round guided fishing trips. Eric also shares his passion for the great outdoors through published articles, instructional videos, and education focused on helping youth develop knowledge to become an ethical sportsman.