Are you looking forward to the day that the ice on your favorite lake is finally thick enough? Many angler eagerly anticipate the moment they can set up their huts and gear on Ontario's hard water. Preparing for the upcoming ice fishing season is just as important as preparing for the rest of the year, Is your gear ready and tested? A few hours of methodical preparation in advance makes a world of difference and will allow you much more time with your lines in the water. There is nothing worse or personally embarrassing than working out gremlins or fixing overlooked problems while out on the ice. There is a huge difference trying to fix a gear malfunction or improper setup in the summer months than in the cold winter season.
Some simple ice fishing preparation tips before this season starts are:
1. Fishing rods and reels. Organize your rods, check the handles for cracks, check the reel seats and inspect eyelets for cracks or severe wear. Now is the time to clean and lubricate your reels as well. Last seasons fishing line should be replaced with fresh line specific to the species you are targeting.
2. Beat the rush to your favorite tackle shop or online retailer and stock up now. Buying a few extra jigs, hooks, floats and line will save you valuable time later when you are out on the ice. While you are at it you should empty out that tackle box, give it a good cleaning and inspect all of your lures and hooks. Sharpen any hooks that are dull or rusty and check your glow lures to ensure they are functioning properly. Now is also the time to organize your lure trays and keep those hooks and jigs you use frequently in the most accessible spots.
3. Do any repairs or modifications to your ice hut now. Check the floor for any soft spots and repair or replace the wood. Inspect your benches for sags and tighten up all of the bolts and screws. Oil your door hinges and check your heating and ventilation systems. If you use an ice tent you should still give it a once over inspecting the poles and junction points as well as repair and rips or tears.
4. Power augers. Drain and replace your old oil with new oil prior to initial start up. Fill it up with a fresh tank of gas also unless you stabilized the gas before storage. If you added fuel stabilizer to the tank it's advisable to run that tank empty first before added fresh gas. Check and clean your spark plug. If you have a difficult time starting or it is running rough now is the time to replace the plug. Check your blades and sharpen or replace any that require attention.
5. Charge and inspect your flashers and Aqua-Vu cameras. Turn on both units and address any issues that arise. Most newer units are virtually maintenance free but it's always a good idea to check them and their functions often. Knowing your electronics is always your best prevention against a sudden malfunction.
6. Clothing and footwear. Really a no brainer but now's the time to dig out your winter gear and store the summer apparal. Standard clothing should consist of insulated pants or coveralls, goretex jackets, waterproof gloves, nonslip boots and a couple of hats should be constantly ready to go.
By applying an once of prevention in the pre-season you will not only gain confidence in your gear but will save you hours of headaches out on the ice. The ice fishing season is short enough already. Make the most of it each and every year.
This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.
Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips .