The Hottest Ice Fishing Supplies of 2006

February 9, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson

(Part -1 & 2)

Technology is changing ice fishing supplies in a hurry with new revolutionary products coming out every winter

Technology is changing ice fishing supplies in a hurry with new revolutionary products coming out every winter

Though the weather has been more like March, the holiday season is upon us. If you haven’t figured out what to buy your favorite ice angler for Christmas, it’s not too late. Each year brings more advancement in ice fishing gear and gadgets and there’s still plenty of time to pick out the hottest stuff on ice for your favorite fishermen.

10. Open up

Though temperatures of late haven’t threatened to close anyone’s ice fishing holes, the day comes for every angler when a tip-up hole or those in the ice under a portable shack will ice over or fill with wind-driven snow. Two recent solutions to this problem have been offered to anglers.

The Holee Molee (www.symtec-inc.com) is a pump-style hole opener which circulates water from under the ice into the hole, keeping it relatively free of blown-in ice and snow, and prevents refreezing. The unit runs on four “D” batteries.

A second style of hole opener, the Hot Ring, helps anglers heat the water in their holes to keep the ice from reforming. Made by Krog Inudstries, the unit runs off of the 12-volt battery which powers the underwater camera or sonar device most anglers have in their shack already.

9. Plastic Fantastic

Tournament anglers and ice experts agree that the hottest tactics on hardwater today involve soft plastics. Market giants Lindy Little Joe (www.lindylittlejoe.com), and Custom Jigs and Spins (www.customjigsandspins.com) are pushing plastics to the forefront of fishing. These one-to-two-inch slivers or formed bodies of soft plastic are replacing, or at least accompanying live bait in many competitive ice-fishing events and when the fish are finicky. A wide variety of bodies and tails are available to anglers in a multitude of colors from florescent glow to black to help match the hatch and trigger a bite.

8. Pak Attack

For the highly mobile angler, Nature Vision (www.naturevisioninc.com) offers the new Pak Shack at just a hair under $100. The portable flip-style shack is mounted on a comfortable armchair and provides enough room for one angler, a sonar unit and a small heater. Since it folds into a backpack and can be packed in the trunk of nearly any vehicle, the Pak Shack is the ultimate in mobile ice fishing.

7. Hot hands

A number of innovations are designed for hard-charging anglers who need a hand, or two and need to keep them both warm. The FirePod, by Optronics (www.optronicsinc.com) is a heating unit powered by four “AA” batteries that radiates heat without chemicals or odors for up to twelve hours. The unit retails for around $30.

Aqua Vu has entered the sonar market with many new models including the VPG

Aqua Vu has entered the sonar market with many new models including the VPG

Another advancement on the ice comes in the form of the The Ray Mitt (www.handwarmers.com), a glove originally intended for those suffering from Raynaud’s Syndrome which is a circulation disorder that causes fingers to lose feeling in the cold due to constricted blood vessels. This glove helps deliver the heat of chemical handwarmers to the fingers to prevent numbness and discomfort A special Velcro pouch above the fingers will help keep hands warm, whether for medical purposes or on the ice.

6. VPG Whiz

The newest version of sonar on the ice comes at a great price. The VPG by Aqua Vu is a vertical pixel bar that displays bottom, fish and lures all on a six-by-one inch screen. The unit is light, compact and doesn’t lag in the coldest of weather. The unit retails for around $230, and changes the way most seasoned ice anglers view the water column. The bulk and circular interface of the flasher is replaced by an easy-to-read graph that operates in real time and runs off of a 12-volt battery.

5. Get in the game

Marcums new line of sonar is affordable to most ice fishermen

Marcum's new line of sonar is affordable to most ice fishermen

It used to be that to become a better ice angler one required an expensive sonar unit to show the depths below. This year marks the release of low-priced sonar which will open a world of discovery to frugal fishermen.

Thanks to Marcum’s (www.marcumtech.com) VX-1 flasher, underwater vision will be available to anglers at nearly half the cost. The VX-1, available for under $200, combines affordability with some of the bells and whistles of more expensive units on the market. It boasts a three-color display, 600 watts of peak-to-peak power and a bottom zoom option, making it the first low-priced unit of its kind.

4. See the light

It’s not that glow lures are so incredibly new; it is just that nearly every model of every lure ever made sports some shade of luminescence this year. Whether it is a bright red Northland (www.northlandtackle.com) Buckshot Rattlespoon or a glowing green Lindy (www.lindylittlejoe.com) Genz Worm, every company is offering up glow baits for anglers. Some are old favorites, and some like the Glow Shad color of Salmo’s (www.salmofishing.com) Chubby Darter, put a bright profile on recently popularized lures.

3. Suit Up

Seizing on Clam Corporation’s Ice Armor outfit, many companies are offering a variety of choices in jackets, pants and overalls. Stikemaster (www.strikemaster.com) offers up a line of must-have winter clothing dubbed “Ice-Sentials.” The set of waterproof, self-sealing, multi-pocketed bib overalls and parka sells for around $210.

Heat Factory (www.heatfactory.com), maker of the orange-packaged chemical hand and body warmers, combines the warmth of the company’s primary products into a new line of outdoor clothing. With built-in pockets to hold the warming packets, each item – bibs, jackets, socks and more – distributes the heat via special air channels for maximum warmth in the coldest conditions.

2. Sexy Vexies

After last year’s expansion of on-ice sonar units, Vexilar (www.vexilar.com), the leader in flasher technology, has unveiled two new models, the FL-20 and the FL-12. Slimmed down and sporting flat-screen displays with increased clarity and speed, these two units build upon the bases of previous Vexilar units. The FL-20 has two zoom modes, showing the bottom six- and twelve-foot regions of the water column, respectively. Available pre-packaged in the company’s Pro- and Ultra-pack systems, these units are ready to roll right out of the box or can be ordered piece-by-piece to upgrade older Vexilar systems.

The new Clam Chair combines storage and comfort when ice fishing

The new Clam Chair combines storage and comfort when ice fishing

1. Clam takes over the world

The Clam Corporation (www.clamcorp.com) slogan last season was “BLUE: the color of ice fishing.” If it wasn’t for Labatt’s Brewery already owning the rights to it, Clam’s new one would be, “Look up, see BLUE.”

Clam products are everywhere this year; in stores and on the water. Sleds, clothes, shacks, tackle boxes and more from the industry giant are in high demand. From the company’s waterproof, Thinsulate-filled mitts and gloves to the larger-sized Fish Trap X line of flipover shelters to a new set of Ice Armor eXtreme fishing clothes, Clam Corp has proliferated its positions in the various niches of ice fishing.

The Clam Chair is a development of special note. This rest (more akin to a Transformers toy than a fishing bench) changes from seat to backpack, to tackle box, to gear storage, to fish bucket in a moment’s notice. It’s the ultimate seat on the ice and is perhaps the most innovative item to be seen this year.

And what a year it will be. Whether it is the red-green glow of a flasher or the cool-blue color of some new winter threads, the ice is heating up with these innovations and more made specifically for the hardiest of anglers found…in our outdoors.


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