Ice Fishing Reels – Reel Matters!
Ice fishing reels are evolving rapidly and have experienced huge advances over the last 24 months. The market was once dominated by the tried and true Schooley type reels that
my Dad might need to land shallow panfish or ultralight spinning reels for deeper water applications.
The Schooley type ice fishing reels are inexpensive, have a large spool diameter and don’t create bite-stopping or line twist. But for the performance driven hard water angler, they leave much to be desired.
Micro sized reels balance nicely on a ice rod and can reel up line fairly fast and get a bait down pretty quick too, but the tiny spools and basic physics of a how a spinning
reel wraps the line creates gobs line twist. Line twist causes the ice fishing jig to spin as it tries to relieve the stress by uncoiling itself. Whirling and around on a
central axis is not a natural motion for things that fish like to eat. So when your jig spins, fish usually decide to pass on by. Now eventually, your jig will fully unwind and
fish will once again decide that it’s safe to eat … the key word being eventually.
Many savvy anglers have known about line twist and how it affects their catch rates. So, many have used large frame fly ice fishing reels to avoid dealing with its bite robbing
affects. But the problem has been that fly feels have slow line pick-up and are generally pretty bulky and heavy at the price ranges that most ice fishermen can tolerate.
Standard fly reels often have hand pressure controlled drags as well, which for the ice fisherman that’s wearing gloves or mittens is very impractical. Standard fly reels also
require the line to come off of the bottom of the spool. This creates a large initial angle between the reel and the 1st guide on the ice rod, which is cumbersome and robs the
rod of some sensitivity. Having the line so far away from the rod, also exposes the line to potential strength-robbing, nicks and scrapes when carried in a bucket with other
gear, like so many fishermen do.
The key seems to be that ice fishing reels selection should be based on the average length of line you will have let out on the initial drop. If over a few meters than a larger, wider
diameter reel would be better than the ultra micro reels that are commonplace.
All of the afformentioned problems though are solved with the new Tear Drop line of reels from 13 Fishing (the fine folks who brought us the Black Betty) . The specs and pictures in this article are all from the Teardrop line of reels which have the following AWESOME specs and belong on every ice fisherman’s gift list:
|Total Bearings||8BB including 2 Japanese High Spin Spool Bearings|