Tis' the season, Happy Holidays to all, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic fish filled New Year!
We sure have had an interesting start to winter this year making it even more important to pay attention and play it safe when you are headed out to do some ice fishing. Here are some great guidelines from the Iowa DNR;
1. There is no such thing as 100% safe ice. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recommends a minimum of four inches of quality ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.
2. Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water. Things like current and springs slow ice growth. Rocks, trees or docks that poke through the ice will conduct heat and make the ice around it less stable. There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out.
3. The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
4. Safety items in the bucket: Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.
5. Ice fishing is a social activity, don't go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.
6. Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness. Trust your instincts. If it doesn't look right, stay off.
A few years ago there was a new product introduced for ice fishing called a float suit. Since their introduction I keep hearing more stories about how many lives these float suits are saving. There are now several brands on the market but it looks like Striker Ice brand is leading the charge with its float suits and other gear specifically designed to keep you warm and safe while ice fishing, I know I will not go on ice without mine.
There are tons of new products and re-designed or improved items for fishing introduced every year. Throughout this winter and into the spring, as I come across a new product that is exceptional or a must have, I will bring it to your attention.
Other than the float suits there are two more products for this issue - Sunglasses and Ice rods.
Berkley has re-designed, expanded and improved their already great line of polarized fishing glasses. You might think of sun glasses as a summer time necessity but they are equally or some say more important in the winter. The benefits of a quality pair of polarized sun glasses are appreciated when you spend as much time outdoors as fishermen do - you must protect your eyes! Berkley has added a huge variety of frame styles and lens colors so you're certain to find a pair that is right for you.
Several years ago Abu Garcia introduced their "V" series of rods, made using cutting edge technology for extreme light weight, sensitivity and durability. The Veritas ice rods continue to impress everyone that try's them but Fenwick's newly designed Elite Tech ice rods are a must have for the "ELITE" ice fisherman, available in a wide variety of actions and lengths all with a full cork handle and a price that will make you smile. Happy Holidays and until next time keep your lure wet!