Ice Chips Tips 2 (by Montana Grant)
By angelamontana

Posted: March 1, 2018

Ice fishing tips and tricks can turn the ice on fire! So many Ice Men spend the day getting skunked on the ice. Here are some ideas to turn you on to catching more fish through the ice.

Rod Rack    Keep your reels out of the slush with a multipurpose rod holder. Most Ice Men use short mini rods when fishing. These may fit into an ice shanty but are a real handicap when catching fish through the ice. Fishing rods are levers. The longer the lever, the more energy they have. A longer rod can set the hook faster and hold onto larger fish. The longer rod also will allow you to play the fish more quickly.

Traditional rod holders require you to put the butt of the fishing rod into a pipe fixture. When it is time to set the hook, you must pull the rod out then set. Build a simple wooden rack as shown. Sand the wooden edges to make sure there are no splinters or burrs to catch your line. An open rod rack also allows you to keep your shadow away from the hole. Just lift and strike. Hook ups are swift and solid.

Kink Patch    Monofilament fishing line often has memory. The coiled line needs to be straightened out. This is a big problem when it is cold. Try to smooth out the line using a leather or rubber patch. Simply pull the line through the patch and gently squeeze. Do not create too much friction as this will weaken finer lines. You can also simply pull the line off the reel and tug on it to get out the kinks.  Once the line is straight, you will see more light bites.

Spring Bobbers    You can’t set the hook if you can’t see the bite. Spring bobbers attach to the tip of your rod and will move even with the slightest bites. Now that you see a bite, you can set the hook. You can buy a variety of spring bobbers, or make your own using spring steel wire, and a Styrofoam strike indicator ball. Electric tape or a silicon product such as GOOP, will help attach it to your traditional rod.

Hook Sharpener    Fish lips are made of cartilage, just like your fingernails. A dull hook will not penetrate their lips. If you want 4 times more hook ups, use a pen style hook sharpener routinely. The pen style ones are about $8.00, or you can steal your wife’s diamond dust emery board. Either way, you and the fish will get the point.

Gel Scent    Snow covered ice means that little light is below the ice. Fish will rely more on smell and movement. This means an active jig will promote more bites. Adding some scent to your lures, bait, and hole will enhance your presentation. Try using salmon or minnow flavors. Some gels also glow which adds another level of attraction. Scents also help reduce ice build up in the hole. The scented hole will allow you to re-scent your lures as they are dropped into the hole.

Fluorocarbon tippet    The finer the fishing line, the less likely the fish will see it. Usually finer line also means less strength. Fluorocarbon tippet is thinner but stronger than traditional lines. You can have a fluorocarbon tippet that has a strength of 10 pounds but the diameter of 2 lb. test line. Connect the fluorocarbon tippet to you ice lie using a tiny barrel swivel. Now you avoid any twisting and spinning, and the action of your bait or lure is enhanced.

Ice Men find great joy sitting on their frozen paradise. Fishing is great fun but catching is way better. Try a few of the Ice Chip Tips and take-home dinner along with some great new stories. Also introduce new friends, kids, and family to your cool world of fishing fun.

Straight and tight lines,

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at