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Ice Fishing 2008 : Advances In Technologies, Gear And Tactics

Jan 18, 2008
Since the dawn of mankind fishing and catching the largest and most fish has always been on most men's mind. So it is with ice fishing in the Northern U.S. states and Canada. In an effort to catch "that big one" as well "more fish" new technologies and techniques have advanced and evolved. Many of these techniques and tactics are thought fresh, copied and some say even "stolen" from the ice fisherman's fall/spring / summer "open water" fishing cousins and some even say "competitors".

To begin with and to note with caution - the first rule of ice fishing is to return home intact with your catch, or sometimes lack of catch. Safety is more than paramount.

Always remember that even though you feel safe on the ice - that in one flash you can be in the most dangerous, deadly frozen environment on earth. Ice cold water is the most deadly water on earth to all human beings on earth and ice fisherman.

It never hurts to play it safe. Remember first of all that "first ice" is "dangerous ice". Ice can be inconsistent during the first phases of freezing. Even though the ice looks safe - it may not be in certain icy patches. Best to wait till the ice is good and solid.

It is always best for safety for ice fisherman to fish in groups - rather than alone. However spread out the weight of your fishing party and gear. As a rough guide ice fisherman should keep 50 feet apart on the fishing ice. As for general ice thicknesses for safety concerns they are as a rough guide - 4 inches of ice thickness is base minimum.

If fishing with support vehicles - ATV's or snowmobiles then 5 inches of ice thickness is the base minimum ice thickness recommended for safe and sound ice fishing.

The advances in ice fishing technologies in 2007 seem to focus on the concepts that ice fishing is a different sport and a "different kettle of fish" than its summer sport and needs to be adapted for that.

Summer fishing seems to be more of a stay put in the boat or on shore type of fishing. The feeding and resting habits of fish seem to be located in certain spots and holes.

Whether this is for temperature, water flow and geography and nutrient flow is a good question. Even though it is most cold in the dead of winter, you might think the fish the ice fisherman is hunting in the dead of winter simply lie dormant on the lake or river bottom. This is not so. The fish act entirely differently during the cold winter ice periods.

Ice fish seem to be more mobile than fish during the warmer time periods. They move around more. True their overall travels may be less over the lake regions, however in their limited areas they move around a lot more. An ice fisherman pegged down to only hole in the ice, in one specific location is at a major disadvantage.

Modern technologies and materials, adapted from the space race are being used and applied for the successful ice fisherman.

First of all, small one man portable ices fishing huts or shelters have been developed. Incredibly light, easy to carry and setup these small, portable one man fishing huts allow the successful ice fisherman to quickly and promptly move his camp - for greater ice fishing success.

How does the ice fisherman know where to move his gear? After all a change is not always as good as a rest.

Again modern technology comes into play. Sonar fish fishing equipment has been specifically targeted with the ice fisherman in mind. Older "flasher "type sonar fishing gear is best for this purpose. Instead of the newer, more expensive LCD graphing gear, flashers give an immediate, real time fix on the fish and their movement and motions.

Fish can be more than promptly spotted, their locations gauged the ice fishing holes can then be quickly and promptly dug in the correct places with real time, rather than more dated and less accurate and timely information.

As well there are additional benefits to the ice fishing specific fish sonar locaters.

The winter ice fisherman is a better position to both judge the location, motion as well as feeding and general habits of the fish that being tracked.

Generally with ice fishing predator fish strike upwards to grab the bait. The flasher sonar's tip off the fisherman as to exact depth of the fish in question so that the fisherman's bait can be placed correctly above the fish.

Standard practice now is those Ice fishermen generally drill several fishing holes. The ice fishing sonar kit can easily be moved from spot to spot to get a quick fix of where the fish are and are not. Successful catches rather than empty catches are now the norm.

Lastly the Ice fishing specific sonar "flasher " fishing gear are not only less expensive than the newer "LCD" sonar fishing types but also more trouble free and easier to operate in the frigid cold weather. LCD screens generally work on heat principles so that the very cold weather is not an issue with the "flasher" types.

At the end of the day - the successful ice fisherman can boat of two things- good companionship and a healthy rewarding catch of fish for the event.
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