Hot new items galore for ice-fishing

This past weekend marked the first time in months that I’ve not been in the woods or on the water for at least part of a weekend.
I was down in St. Paul, Mn. to check out the annual Ice Show, which showcases everything imaginable in the world of ice-fishing.
Manufacturers, retailers, resorts, and guides all had booths set up to sell tackle, rods, electronics, shacks, clothing, and everything else you possibly could use to ice-fish.
You could book an ice-fishing trip at a resort or with a guide literally anywhere in the state, as well.
This show really brings the ice-fishing community together.
As always, there was plenty of new stuff available to anglers at the show. Legendary ice auger-maker Strikemaster came out with the first four-stroke power auger a few years ago and it remains the Cadillac of augers today.
This year, the company has come out with a new hand auger that has synthetic flighting, making it super light yet highly durable.
For those of you that like to use a hand auger, or for those walk-out trips early in the season, this auger is a beauty. As of right now, however, the only place you can get one is from the Strikemaster website.
Strikemaster also released a new electric auger called the Big Volt. It is an improvement from its original electric model and even has the ability to turn a 10” auger—something that wasn’t possible before.
Electric augers are not for everybody but if you always fish out of a shack, then they are a great option. These augers will drill 20-30 holes in normal conditions, which is plenty if you are going to head out and fish one spot.
The beauty of using them in a shack is that they have no exhaust, so you don’t fill the place up with harmful fumes.
For the mobile angler, these augers can run off you car battery, as well.
On the clothing end of things, the category of ice-fishing specific clothing really has evolved in recent years. Frabill has been manufacturing the best suit available for ice anglers for the past several seasons, called the SnoSuit.
It is built for use in extreme conditions and is super tough. It comes with a large price tag, however, and is directed at the most hard-core anglers out there.
The new Frabill suit was available to anglers this weekend at a much more economical price, yet it is still a great outfit. It will work for ice anglers throughout the season, as well for people fishing in a boat during the cool spring and fall months.
It looks great, too.
Electronics, meanwhile, continue to evolve at an alarming rate and every year things change—usually for the benefit of the anglers.
Humminbird has a new unit called the ICE 385ci that offers a bundle of products into one machine. Anglers, for instance, can view their sonar on flasher screen or a traditional screen like on your boat.
In addition, there also is a GPS function so you can mark hot spots and, more specifically, hot holes.
When you combine the GPS with high-tech mapping like that which is being offered by Lakemaster, you have the ability to land on high percentage fishing spots without having to drill hundreds of holes to find the spot.
Northland Fishing Tackles continues to lead the way in ice-fishing tackle. New this year, they have a quick-strike Predator Rig that will be deadly for catching big pike throughout the season, especially later in March when big pike make a run for shallow bays to spawn.
They also have come out with some really cool panfish jigs that are made out of heavy tungsten so they are small yet heavy. This make them great for getting down to crappies that usually are found in deep water throughout the winter across Sunset Country.
Their new Bionic line and Impulse soft plastic panfish baits were hot sellers at the show, as well.
I can tell you one thing—I’m definitely getting in the mood to go ice-fishing after checking out all this new stuff.
I have one more hunting trip planned this weekend with a few friends to chase moose for the last few days of the season, then the ice season will start for me.

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