Yes, it’s true that only a small portion of the nation’s fishing population pursue fish on hard water, but, those that are among the few are purely fanatical. We love time on the water, regardless of what time of year it is. Those of you in the south that think we’re crazy, well… we are! But, you would certainly enjoy a chance to give it a try.
Don’t let fishable ice form without being ready. There are a few small things to keep in mind.
First, my ice shelter has been in storage in my shed in my backyard for 8 months. That means that mice have most likely found it. While they don’t typically show up, it’s worth a check. This time of year, I pull each shelter out and set each up, clean them and make any necessary repairs. This will assure I’m out of the elements when the time arrives.
Second, restring ALL of your reels. Wet line stored over time is a bad thing, but add ice to that mix and you can rest assured that last year’s line is junk. It’s cheap and is a good activity to kill sometime while watching a football game before fishable ice forms.
Third, get some fresh gas in your auger and make sure it runs. If it needs a slight tune up, chances are good that cleaner carbs and new plugs will fix it right up. If small-engine mechanics are not your thing, locate a shop and get it in for an adjustment sooner than later. No sense in hacking through the ice with an ax—that’s not fun, trust me.
Finally, boots, cold weather clothing and make sure to have a healthy supply of Hot Hands within arm’s reach. They are usually pretty cheap this time of year, so having a box of them "on hand" is a good idea.
The bottom line is, if you take the time now to get 100 percent prepped, you’ll be able to hit the ice as soon as its safe. Don’t be that guy who forgets!