Prepping Rods and Reels for Ice Fishing

Brian Brosdahl Frabill Bro Series Straight Line 371

By: Brian “Bro” Brosdahl

Cooler weather has arrived and that can only mean one thing…ice fishing is just around the corner! There is no better time to prepare for ice fishing. I always start with rods and reels.

Ice fishing rods

If you’re in the market for some new equipment this year, keep in mind that a good ice fishing rod is critical. There are a lot of rods on the market. Most are basic or generic, and these are not designed to last.

I know it can be overwhelming when trying to choose the best ice fishing rod, so I always look to Frabill for quality. Frabill Bro Series rods are professional-grade and species-specific options means that my rod is specifically designed for the fish I’m chasing. Do not underestimate how important that is!

Ice fishing reels

Spooling Ice Fishing Reel with Plano Line Spool Box

The Plano Line Spool Box is helpful!

Lure spinning scares fish – so no spin is in. That’s why Frabill and I have designed a reel that helps prevent line twist. Check out the Bro Series Straight Line 371 reel where line feeds straight off the spool, and reels in the same way that it spools off. No line coiling. No spinning tackle. No spooked fish.

The wide arbor design of the Straight Line 371 means I can go without line backing, plus use less spooled line. Line maintenance is important so I respool my reels each year to make sure I have fresh, strong line to prevent fish break-offs. Fluorocarbon line is my first choice for winter due to its sink rate and clarity.

Spooling a Straight Line 371 is a snap. The key is to remember that line must go off the spool the same way it goes on the reel. Using a Plano Line Spool Box is helpful if you don’t have a second set of hands to help! I reel line on with the reel upside down and facing me with the spool in front.

Remember, it’s ice fishing (not casting) so less line is needed. For example, if you fish in 20 feet of water, 60-80 feet of line is usually good. The extra line is handy just in case a big pike or bass pulls out drag – or to clip off frayed ends after a trip.

Bonus ice fishing tips

Plano fly boxes for micro ice fishing tackle

Micro tackle boxes keep me organized on the ice.

Here are a few Bro bonuses as you prep for ice fishing:

  1. Choose a rod or rod/reel combo that matches YOUR needs. For panfish or light line and lure weight, choose light or finesse action rods. Big fish or heavy line means a medium or heavy action rod.
  2. Don’t forget micro tackle boxes. Plano fly boxes are ideal and will keep you super organized on the ice.
  3. Getting your gear prepped – including rods/reels, shelters and apparel – before first ice will make this season the best ever!

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