Most ice fishermen carry a bucket, auger, and some short rods. If they have a shelter, they drag it out along with their bucket, auger, and short rods. There is an easier way.
All of us hard water fishermen started with a bucket, auger, and short rods. Then we figured out a better way to travel on the ice. It’s called a sled. No company really makes a dedicated ice fishing sled, so you need to design your own. We have all seen sleds made with skis, PVC, runner sleds, and other unique creations. All of them make icemen more mobile and equipped.
Ice fishing requires some gear. You need to have a seat, a snack, poles, fish finders, shovel, bait, ice ladle, fish rag, tackle box, cleats, safety throw rope, etc. The weight can really add up fast. Remember that when you are fishing on thin ice, your safety is in your speed. How fast can you run carrying a bucket and rods?
Here is my latest sled creation. It is 4 feet long. My Drill Auger, 8 lbs., fits inside along with my tackle. I carry extra gloves, light, and other gear. Conditions change when on the ice so we must adapt. My sled is lighter and pulls easily with a longer rope. Make the tow rope at least twice the length of the sled. I added a PVC handle covered in pipe insulation. I can place the rope over my shoulder to pull, hands free.
Sleds mean more safety. You can slide an injured person on or off the ice. Wounded warriors can still fish. If someone goes through the ice, slide them the sled. The longer pull rope and length of the sled means 12 feet! I also carry ice picks around my neck, and a throw rope if needed. Better to be prepared than…
I can carry 10 rods. Rods break, and reels malfunction. If it happens, I can grab a pre-rigged rod and keep on fishing. I normally carry twice the rods I am allowed. Try using a car wax on the sled bottom. It becomes quieter and slides more easily.
A separate PVC tube holds my Ice ladle. The bucket pulls out and can become a seat. My deck has a foam pad for seating. I also added some eye rings as attachment points for whatever.
I lake tested my new rig on Hyalite Reservoir Friday! It worked perfectly. As we get older, we get smarter.
I will never carry a bucket again!
For more Montana Grant, find hi and his new sled at www.montanagrantfishing.com.