Ice Fishing Rods – How to Choose (with video)

Ice Fishing Rods – How to Choose (with video)

Focus on target species, rod power (how much it will bend) and lure type is key to choosing the perfect ice rod.

A 28-inch long, medium-action jigging ice fishing rod is a basic piece of gear for most ice anglers. Other options do exist, but today’s ice fishing rods are numerous and so advanced that choosing the right ice fishing rod can be a predicament. Getting rid of the undesirable is simple if you keep target types, rod power, and bait application in mind. When you have actually limited your selections, you can select rod materials, length and construction.

Start Based on Species and Power

“When I pick out an ice fishing rod, it comes down to the species I’m after,” says Davis Viehbeck, an enthusiastic ice fishermen from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Sadly, few manufacturers categorize rods based on target types, so you would have to pre-screen using rod power.

Power refers to the amount of force that should bend the blank. Ultra-light, medium, heavy, and light are the common types. When picking ice fishing rods, match the power to the target species you’re after in the same manner you would when selecting a rod for open water.

Select ultra-light ice fishing rods for panfish. Light rods are good for perch, and light to average rods are good for walleye, whitefish and the majority of trout. Heavy rods are best for pike or lake trout.

“I would state the most common mistake ice fishermens make is to buy rods that are far too stiff.”  Wegman states, “Lighten up on those rods.”

Application Awareness.

The next step to picking an ice fishing rod is identifying its application. That is, what draws or baits do you wish to fish with, and how do you want to fish them?
Finesse-jigging bluegills, swim-baiting walleye, or spooning lake trout all require different rods. Wegman welcomes variety. “My method to selecting an ice rod over the last numerous years has actually been based upon the exact same technique I use for my bass fishing, both tournament and leisure,” he states. “I bring along numerous rods rigged and ready to go, whether it’s open water or tough water. Similar to one golf club can not do everything on the course, neither can one rod on the lake. So, not only do I hold (in a pail) about half a dozen ice fishing rods with various actions, pound tests, and rigs for perch (my primary target types in the winter), I likewise carry three or 4 ice-fishing combinations rigged for larger fish. Is this extreme? Of course it is. But even if ice anglers cut these numbers in half, they’ll still recognize the advantages of a multi ice-rod technique.”.

As Wegman’s strategy shows, not one rod is suitable for all of winter season’s game fish. Keeping this in mind, let’s overview the information of rod elements and design, as these are the next elements to be thought about when selecting a rod.


Understanding Action of Ice Fishing Rods

Action describes where the ice fishing rods flex along their blank. Because it impacts how you can present lures and play a fish,  Action is a vital consideration. Many ice fishermen will not make use of slow-action blanks. These blanks lack the sensitivity to identify light strikes or the strength to play a feisty fish through
an ice hole.

Fast-action ice fishing rods flex primarily at the tip, average action rods often bend to the middle of the blank, and slow-moving action rods bend towards teh handle. Fast and medium-action rods are preferred by the majority of ice anglers for sensitivity and strength. Ultra-fast and fast-action rods have limber ends to indicate light favorites, while the rest of the blank bends little, offering strength (or backbone). Fast-action graphite rods are top options for many types when jigging or using artificials.

When deadsticking or finesse jigging, medium-action ice fishing rods perform well if using minnows. If jigs are worked boldly to assist keeping minnows on hooks, the rod’s forgiving bend softens the jarring movements. They likewise take in the shock from over-exuberant hooksets.

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can quickly try several ice fishing rods to narrow down your choices. Once you have actually pared down your model list, you can now scrutinize rod design.

Blank Materials: Graphite vs. Fiberglass.

Selecting blank product is a huge choice. Solid graphite blanks offer more sensitiveness than composite or tubular blanks. Effectively crafted graphite blanks feature fast, delicate suggestions and the foundation needed to set hooks and play large fish. A fast-action graphite rod offers the tightness and the limber pointer should let fishermen “quiver” jigs-a critical technique on ice to master if luring shy biters.

In absolute terms, fiberglass blanks are not as delicate as graphite, but high-end glass blanks offer graphite a run for its money. Fiberglass flexes more along the blank than graphite, which relates to smooth hooksets, and premium blanks will have the backbone to play big fish. Fiberglass is more long lasting than graphite, which gets delicate in freezing temperature levels, making glass the favored choice for anglers not wanting to coddle gear.
When picking blank materials, whether you want to see or feel fish strikes is an additional aspect to consider, if utilizing a spring bobber or strike indicator to
indicate hits, you don’t need graphite’s severe sensitiveness and a fiberglass rod will be enough. Strong fiberglass blanks are also chosen for deadsticking rods. The limber suggestion lets fishermen see the minnow’s action and signals light hits. Plus, the blank’s forgiving bend offers little resistance during the take. Because of its remarkable sensitivity, fishermen interested in feeling favorites need to go graphite.

Tempt and Line Balance.

Choosing ice fishing rods matched for the lures you want to make use of is crucial to correct ice fishing. Sensitiveness is also paramount, and you’ll miss out on fish if the bait and rod aren’t balanced. Some makers list recommended bait and line weights suitable for their rods.
Aggressive jigging requires minimal flex in the rod tip from the lure’s weight to permit you to effectively work lures. You will not be able to get a great jigging
snap if there’s too much flex. Get too a rod with too lightweight a suggestion, and you’ll tire from the energy should rip jigs.
When choosing  ice fishing rods, think about your line. A medium-heavy rod might be fine for strongly jigging spoons for walleye on mono-filament; nonetheless, if joined with superline, it’s unlikely the rod will flex enough to take in the shock of a tough hookset, which might mean pulling the lure from a fish. When it come to braids, consider making use of a somewhat lighter rod than you would use with mono.

Rod Length.

Rod length is somewhat based on your fishing conditions. Longer ice fishing rods can often be more flexible. They take in headshakes, hard hooksets, and provide anglers more power when combating fish. The drawback to longer rods is that they’re hard to fish in shut quarters (i.e. small shelters). Opt for graphite over fiberglass in brief rods for greater strength and foundation. If fishing’s a family affair, keep in mind that short rods are easier for children to use and can turn pint-sized panfish scraps into epic battles.

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Line Guides.

Frequently overlooked by rod buyers, the number and quality of “eyes” or guides directly impacts rod efficiency. Look for rods with at least four guides and aim for one with 5 to 6. Look for an ice rod with big eyes. Eyes with a large diameter enable ice-beaded lines to go through a lot easier than little eyes. This minimizes the quantity of times you’ll be cleansing ice off of your line and from the eyes. Extra-large eyes really pay off when regularly reeling up and dropping lures. Most of the times, single footed eyes suffice and will minimize the rod’s overall weight. When targeting huge fish, double-footed eyes offer the strength required for jigging heavy lures. Double-footed eyes are basic on bait-casting and spincast ice fishing rods.

Handles on Ice Fishing Rods

Handle products differ and are a worthy factor to consider. Foam and plastic are the least sensitive. Wegman notes that foam often holds water-a significant downside when fishing in freezing temperatures. When held, Cork is preferred by most ice anglers as it shadows vibrations from the blank and warms quickly. Some rod companies also produce state-of-the-art graphite handles for utmost sensitivity.
Handles feature numerous reel mounting options, from securing seats to adjustable rings. For the best balance and feel, many ice fishermen make use of electrical tape to fasten reels to handles. For optimum sensitivity, get handles where the blank extends all the way through them. Blanks stopping halfway through won’t transfer vibrations too, corresponding to a less delicate rod.

Reel Acknowledgment.

When selecting a rod, make sure you team it up with the right size reel to properly stabilize the combo. “Because ice fishing is a vertical discussion, reels do not need to hold a lot of line,” says Viehbeck. “I go with the lightest reel I can potentially put on my ice fishing rods.”


Like fishing, choosing ice fishing rods ought to be fun. Take the time to select a rod to match your ice fishing needs and ice some huge ones this winter!


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