Looks like we will be heading into an early ice fishing season as the unseasonably cold weather has moved in much earlier than normal. No doubt this is catching ice fishing people a bit off guard, but now it’s time to scramble and get our gear in order.
As always, I have a checklist of the things I need to prepare for when fishing early ice. Here are some key issues to attend to as we head into early December and fishable ice.
Don’t even think about heading onto early ice without some safety precautions. We anglers are most vulnerable during the first two weeks of ice fishing and many of us tend to guess on the ice thicknesses so we need to take extreme caution and prepare.
I always have my life vest on during early ice. Also I carry two screwdrivers on a lanyard which I keep on the vest so I can haul myself up onto the ice if need be. Ice cleats that clamp onto my boots are a big plus especially when we have very little snow cover on the ice. These provide excellent traction on glare ice.
Getting your electronic units ready and charged up is rule No. 1. Make sure the battery can still hold a charge.
Many flasher batteries tend to lose their efficiency in just a season or two so make sure it can still hold a solid charge. Wouldn’t hurt to have an extra battery on hand just for emergencies.
Clothing nowadays in the ice fishing realm is incredible. Many anglers opt for the bib style pants which cover most of your body and top that off with a heavy coat.
Most two-piece setups these days are waterproof and very reliable. These are sold in sets and set the standard for warmth and efficiency. Look for the bibs with the built-in knee pads which are insulated and heavy duty so you can fish on your knees all day long and stay dry in the process.