DRILLIN and CHILLIN SERIES. The Right Gear #1
By Montana Grant

Posted: November 19, 2022

The Chillin and Drillin Series will be about becoming your best Ice Fisherman. The series will look at many ways to enjoy ice fishing and maybe even catch a few fish. I hope that you enjoy this weekly series.

 Ice fishing is not everyone’s Cup of Tea! In fact, if you had tea, it would probably freeze. Therefore, Right Gear is so important.

STAYING WARM!

Ice fishing is no fun if you are freezing. Cold toes, noses, and fingers will quickly ruin your ice fishing adventure.

FEET!

`Since you are standing on solid ice, let’s start with your feet. Wear a base layer of polypropylene socks. These socks will wick away any sweat. Now add a decent pair of tall socks that will also cover your calves. For boots, consider an insulated pair of waterproof pacs. Some days on the ice are wetter than others. I wear the tall Schnee’s Hunting Pac with a felt insulated bootie. They are great to hunt and fish in. The key is to get a boot that fits when you are wearing heavy socks. Too tight boots will slow circulation and invite the cold. Toe warmers are also a good idea. Electric socks work great on nice days but seem to fail when you need them.

FINGERS

                You need your fingers to tie knots, work the rods, and handle the auger and tools needed. Oh, and then you must get them wet when you deal with a fish. Handwarmers help. The hottest warmers require a charcoal stick or lighter fluid. These fuels burn and get hot. The shake and Bake style warmers get warm but not hot. If they get wet, they stop working. Wear decent gloves. Waterproof gloves are good for grabbing fish but not tying knots. I have found that all gloves get wet so take spares. When a glove gets wet, grab a dry one. Consider a 12 pack of cloth gloves from the local Murdoch’s store. These brown, knit gloves are comfortable and easy to wear.

NOSES and EARS   

Hats are a good place to begin. Wear an insulated woolie or flapped hat. I often take a ball cap to hike on and off the ice, then put on my warmer woolie. Some hats come with pull down ear and face coverings. A Capuche style hat that covers everything, including your neck. 90% of lost body heat goes out our heads, so put a lid on it. If you are uncomfortable with wool, try polar fleece.

BODY CORE

                Your body core is your chest and torso. This is where the bodies furnace is. The heart pumps warmed blood around your body. Wear a insulated vest to keep the core warm.

EYEWEAR!

Ice reflects light. Be sure to wear polaroid glasses. They will protect your eyes from bright light, hooks, and flying ice or snow. It’s also amazing what you can see down the hole!

COMPRESSION GEAR

Garments that compress muscles and blood vessels will keep warm blood flowing. Wear these as your base layers. A tight top and bottom makes a great difference and will increase your comfort time on the ice.

OUTER WEAR

Parka and heavy coats are next. Quad parkas are a great way to go. Lots of pockets, hoods, and Velcro closures. The inner coat unzips from the outer. Dressing in layers allows you to add or remove a layer to stay warm but not hot. You may also want to consider floatation garments. Parkas and outer coats now come with lifesaving flotation built in as the insulation. What a great idea.

The only thing that will make ice fishing better is some Hot Fishing! If you are on the ice, at least you are ready and comfortable to handle some cold lip ripping!

Stay Drillin and Chillin!

Montana Grant