As an ice angler, you probably already know that you have many tools available to you. These tools are not only designed to make you more successful, but they are designed to make your entire experience more enjoyable.
Of course, you have to know which tools to use and how to use them.
One essential tool that should never be overlooked when ice fishing is the tip-up.
A tip-up is nothing more than a device that allows anglers to suspend bait underwater at different depths. Fisherman can set these devices in place and when the fish takes the bait it will cause a flag to float to the surface, alerting the angler. From this point, the fish can then be reeled in.
The best things about tip-ups are that they aren’t too difficult to use or set up. In addition to this, they come with a number of benefits that can make you a more effective ice angler.
What Makes Tip-Ups So Good?
When you think of traditional fishing, you probably think of a man standing by the water holding a rod and reel in his hand. A tip-up is a device that can completely eliminate this. The tip-up will suspend the line and bait beneath the surface, freeing up the hand of the fisherman.
Setting up a tip-up is basically like setting a mousetrap and just waiting for the mouse to take the bait. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and let the tip-up do all the work for you. When a fish takes your bait it will cause a flag to go up.
The only work that the fisherman will have to do is bring the fish to the surface of the water. Of course, the bigger the fish, the harder this task will be, but this is just one of the many aspects that anglers love about ice fishing.
By now, you have probably realized the tip-up completely frees you up. Once your tip-up is in place all you have to do is diligently monitor it. Since you are going to be completely hands-free, what’s stopping you from drilling another tip-up? Nothing! You can literally place as many tip-ups as you want as long as you are willing to put in the labor digging the holes.
Just imagine how much more of an efficient angler you could become with tip-ups. When the flag goes off all you have to do is just simply reel in your catch, reset the bait, and place lime back underwater. All that being said, you do have to keep in mind that certain states set regulations and limits on the number of tip-ups that you can use.
It would always be more than advisable to consult with the local game warden in your state before venturing out on the ice. Despite this fact, if you choose a fertile spot and set up several tip-ups it won’t take long before the flags start going off. Before you know it, you will be busier than ever pulling in fish and resetting your hooks.
If you want a more relaxing experience and don’t feel like constantly running back and forth between tip-ups, you always have the option of only drilling a few. Of course, you won’t be able to catch as many fish, but you also won’t have to work as hard.
Tips-ups are truly unique devices that can alter your whole ice fishing experience. In fact, these devices were specifically designed for ice fishing as they suspend lines through small holes. Placing the right number of these devices in the right spots could result in you catching a lot of fish in just a short amount of time. Anyone hitting the ice should consider taking advantage of these devices, as they can make you a more efficient fisherman.
These can also be used for night ice fishing. I would just recommended attaching a light so you can easily see when you have a catch.
Taking Advantage Of Tip-Ups
As mentioned above, tip-ups are not overly complicated devices and it shouldn’t take long before you have mastered them. Sure, the design varies a bit, but at the end of the day, they are all virtually designed to do the exact same thing. When dealing with a tip-up there are two main pieces attached to the body of the device that you need to be aware of.
This would be the spool and the flag. The flag is used to alert you when a fish takes the bait and the spool is used to handle your fishing line. You will first have to fill the spool with fishing line, making sure that it is long enough and sturdy enough to handle the size of fish that you are after.
Most experts anglers like to use braided line, especially during the winter because it doesn’t get tangled easily. Once your line is spooled and ready to go, you will also have to hook the line. When the hook and line are in place, you will then be ready to bait it and place it in the water.
Simply start by pulling out the line to the length that you desire. This would be the entire depth that you plan on going underwater. If you plan on fishing at the bottom then you might have to spool out a hundred feet of line or more.
Once the line is hooked, baited, and pulled out all you have to do is set it in the water, placing the tip-up above the hole that you dug in the ice. The line simply dangles there waiting for a fish to take the lure. You will also want to make sure that your flag is set in the right position as well, otherwise, the device will not be able to alert you when you have a fish on the hook.
When a fish takes the bait, the spool will spin and trigger the flag. The only flaw that the tip-up has is that it can’t pull the fish up for you. This means that when the flag goes up, you will have to race over to the device and start reeling in the line. This really isn’t too much different from traditional fishing and this is one of the many aspects that anglers love.
After you have brought the fish to the surface and unhooked it, you can easily repeat the process. However, there will be a time when you run out of line on the spool, so this is certainly something that you will want to keep an eye on.
Just because you are using tip-ups it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t fish with a rod as well. All you have to do is simply drill several holes, place in a couple of tips-ups, and save one of the holes for rod fishing.
- Here’s a guide to picking the right ice fishing hole size.
- Here’s a guide to fishing line depth while ice fishing.
The hardest two parts of setting a tip-up are digging the hole and putting the lines on. Once you have this part of the process done it is pretty much smooth sailing from there. It might be more work to put in more tip-ups, but you have to remember the more tip-ups, the more successful you will probably be.
Just keep in the back of your mind that there are some parts of the country that set regulations on tip-ups. You might only be able to drill a few because it could weaken the ice or make the whole situation more dangerous. Always make sure that you discover these regulations ahead of time because you do not want to get fined or inadvertently place yourself in danger.
By now, you are probably highly interested in the tip-up. Well, the good news is that these devices are widely available. You can find them available in most specialty fishing shops or online.
There are some companies that even specialize in these devices. They offer handcrafted tip-ups that are usually more durable and reliable than what you can find elsewhere. Shopping from businesses like this is advisable because you will know that you are buying a tip-up from a fellow enthusiast.
That being said, you will probably find that it is much easier to shop online. With online retailers, you can easily and quickly browse through all the available options.