It’s 7:45 AM, with temps hovering at the freezing point. Beautiful! Between my ugly face and that fish house behind me are easily 200 ice fishing holes, 4 dead Milwaukee M-18 batteries and schools of roaming Bluegill and Crappie below, with Pike and Bass chasing them around. And because it’s Wednesday, I’m the only one on the lake.
Some people choose to set up a fish house and wait for these fish to come to them. However, the mobile ice fishing tactic means staying on the move, hopping from hole to hole using your electronics to look for fish under the ice. I sit inside for my work, so the last thing I want to do is sit in a cramped fish shack out on the ice. Weather permitting, I’d much rather race-em-and-chase-em.
It’s effective. You can catch a lot of fish this way. I can easily catch 100 bluegills within 4 hours. To do it right you need the right gear. This is what I use.
- A small one-man Clam portable fish house. This serves as both my sled to carry all my ice fishing gear and a place where I can warm up and get out of the wind for a bit.
- A 6″ K-Drill electric ice auger system. It’s light, drills fast and no gas smell on your hands to ruin the fish bite. It’s powered by a Milwaukee M18 cordless drill. I keep 4 batteries with me. And I need more.
- A Vexilar FL-22HD color flasher. This is my eyes under the ice. A good fish finder will make your day, and Vexilar is the original, and the best, personal bias aside.
- Additions Vexilars if I have company.
- 3 to 5 ice fishing rod and reel setups in a hard case, all designed for different weather and/or bit conditions.
- If it’s cold (under 25°F), I will bring a small Mr. Heater and a spare 1LB bottle of propane.
- My bag of tricks; tackle, fishing basics, spare stuff, various lights, basic survival needs, a bottle of water and a little food.
- 5-Gallon bucket, ice scooper, ice thickness measuring bar and a large heavy plastic cup to get water from my 6″ hole in the ice into my five-gallon bucket where the fish I want to harvest go.
- Oh, and don’t forge the bait, both live and plastics.
All this stuff does not add up to that much money. Mobile ice fishing is much less expensive than even owning a small fishing boat. And using this always-keep-moving ice fishing tactic makes it almost like you’re trolling across the lake.