Ice fishing is one of those sports people either really enjoyed or disliked and growing up, I was in the “dislike” category and so were most of my friends. We enjoyed fishing in the summer and hunting in the fall, but ice fishing just did not hold much appeal. Getting cold is something everyone despises, including me. I also didn’t like sitting in a little shanty all day staring down a hole in the ice waiting for a fish to take my wax worm. Times have changed.
Technology has changed every sport, including ice fishing. Now there are so many different gizmos and gadgets designed for ice fishing that from the moment the fishing starts until the moment I go home, I’m warm and having fun. Below are a few of the high tech gadgets that make ice fishing a blast for kids and adults.
Cold temperatures are what prevent most people from ice fishing. In the last decade, companies started making heaters that will heat almost any size shanty and they automatically shut off if the oxygen level gets too low in the shanty. Some of the heaters double as a cook stove. Some portable heaters are so warm that you can even take your coat off while fishing. Gone are the days of giving up comfort for a few fish. Now your shanty can be as warm as your house, if not warmer.
Underwater cameras really help anglers catch fish and help anglers spot fish and keep them occupied. Not long ago, the only way to spot fish under the ice was with some type of flasher unit. Today, thanks to companies like Aqua View, finding fish under the ice has become easier and more fun. I hated the waiting game as a kid. We waited for hours, hoping to get a bite. With underwater cameras, you and your kids can actually sit and watch fish. You no longer have to worry about where they are, with a camera you can see them if they’re there. Long-time professional walleye fisherman Mark Martin uses an Aqua View to increase his catch.
“When I jig for walleyes, I can watch the screen and see how the fish react to my jigging,” Martin said. “Often I put the jig right in front of their nose and entice them with it, jigging towards the surface until they strike. There is no question, using underwater cameras can increase your catch and makes ice fishing more fun.”
One modern day gizmo that has changed the way people hunt and fish is the GPS unit. Fifteen years ago when they first became popular, most GPS units only pointed you in the right direction. Today they can do almost everything but filet fish for you. Many of them hold hundreds of way points, have a color screen, and a variety of other great features. For instance, many companies like Lowrance and Garmin make models that come complete with mapping software. This allows you to map out the area that you are going to without leaving the house. Many anglers mark their favorite fishing spots in the summer when they are fishing from a boat. When the ice gets thick enough to walk on in the winter, they find those same honey holes under the ice with their GPS unit.
Another nifty gadget that can be used while ice fishing is a unit called Polar Vision. Polar Vision can tell you the depth of the water even when there is ice on the water. Simply hold the unit next to the ice and it will read the depth of the water. When you are looking for a drop off or one of your favorite spots that are at a specific depth, Polar Vision will tell you.
Ice augers are a far cry from what they once were. I remember my arms feeling like they were going to fall off as a kid when trying to use a hand auger and drill through a foot of ice. Today, companies like Strike Master make augers that rip through the ice in a matter of seconds.
With a few of these gadgets and a nice ice shanty, you can stay on the ice all day long. You can stay warm, catch lots of fish and even cook a few of the fillets on a portable cooker if you like. The bottom line is technology has made ice fishing a lot more enjoyable.