Fishing & Boating News

Start the Insanity by Ron Anlauf

by: Ron Anlauf,

Tech Sergeant Jonathan Anlauf got in on some craziness while he was home on leave.
Photo by Ron Anlauf
(Oct. 18, 2010 - Braham, MN) It seems a little insane to actually look forward to getting back on the ice but that's where I'm at, can't be helped. Not with the equipment that's available to the modern ice angler, not when there are so many fish that have it coming. Warm clothes, comfortable super portable shelters, electronics loaded with unbelievably accurate maps, and stocking programs that have lakes on the rebound and you can see how it's all downright exciting. I'm telling you it's getting good, real good.

This year's "go to" house will be an Eskimo Quickflip 2 which is a really comfortable one -man that you can actually fit two in. Most of my time in the house is spent alone simply because the guys I fish with are finders, hard working anglers that move, move, move, and keep looking for fish. When I do fish with another angler or two I'll move up to the Escape 350 which is big enough to fish three guys my size (6'3 ") and still have some elbow room. It also has a cushy bench and a built-in storage tray under the seat that you can store your high priced rods in, or tackle, gear, etc. It has a sunroof that provides for more light (important at my age) and actually helps produce some extra heat, as well as side and front doors where you can enter and exit at which ever point you prefer. There are also adjustable rod holders that slide back and forth in a unique mounting system so you can position your rods exactly where you want. Both shelters have a heavy duty hitch available and can take a real beating. Some of the runs that my crew makes are up to thirty miles one way and the equipment has to be up to the task or it might not make it back. One rigging tip includes drilling a couple holes in the back floor of the sled just above level bottom to help eliminate any ice or slush build up. Whether you spill the minnow bucket, fish with the top up when it's snowing, or take some in while you're running; you're going to end up with something in the bottom of the sled and the small holes will help keep it out.

Power augers helped make ice angling much more tolerable and are an important component of the portability factor. The hand operated augers are lightweight and great for early ice and I keep a 6" model for such occasions but as soon as you get to a foot or more of ice I'm firing up the Shark. Eskimo's new Z71 can buzz out a ten inch hole in no time and has a beefy motor which can come in handy late in the season when you're trying to get through thick layers of ice.

My first electronic depth finder was a Humminbird Super 60 flasher unit that came with a transducer that was designed to be used on a boat but I rigged it up to use on the ice and was when ice fishing became a lot more interesting. With the flasher I could see the lure and the fish, although my mounting system for the transducer was less than ideal. Now there are specific ice fishing units like the Ice 55 that have incredible target separation and brilliant multi-color readouts. You can even change the color combinations with a push of the button if you have hankerin' to, which is pretty cool. The only thing missing is G.P.S., or was. There's a new combination unit called the 385ci that can be used by itself as a fish finder or as a G.P.S. with plotter and mapping. It can even be combined with an Ice 55 and uses a new cradle system that accepts both units, nice! The 385ci also has a quick release system that allows you to transfer the unit to an ATV, snowmobile, or auto.

Electronic mapping has really been a boon for ice anglers and has provided a lot more opportunities for those taking advantage of it. Mapping companies like Lakemaster have re-surveyed lakes and are producing unbelievably accurate and detailed maps that can be displayed in units like the 385ci. With a good map and a G.P.S. you can find your own hotspots and not have to join the crowds and keep the fish you find to yourself.

With all the great gear and the advances in technology the fish should be afraid, be very afraid. See you on the ice.

Ron Anlauf