Up Your Ice Game: Fish Faster, Smarter

Innovation is the product of necessity, especially when dinner’s below the ice!

I’ve said it a hundred times if I’ve said it once: One of the coolest things about ice fishing is tricking out gear for better efficiency on the ice. Here’s a unique product that’s made it easier for me to fish faster—a “speed fishing” system developed by former ice fishing pro and Michigan-based Sportsmen’s Direct owner John Bacarella.

I first saw the system called the Sonic Ice Hopper Pro System at an NAIFC ice fishing tournament a couple years ago. I was amazed by how quickly ice pros moved across the ice with electronics attached to the bucket-within-a-bucket system, while slipping crappies and bluegills inside for weigh-in.

In a nutshell, the Sonic Ice Hopper integrates a 1/8-inch anodized aluminum bracket for mounting your Vexilar, Humminbird, MarCum or Lowrance ice fishing electronics, and also features high-density styrofoam dry battery storage and power cables below the top bucket. Additionally, two rod holders attached to the electronics bracket allow quick access to your favorite ice sticks and an ergonomic handle makes one-handed transport easy.

Besides consolidating gear into one easy-to-carry unit, the system also makes a suitable seat. And for those days when you want to keep a mess of panfish—but keep the bite away from prying eyes—fish are easily slid into the top bucket (and away from the battery and wiring) through a slot in the cover.

It also adapts well to speed-scouting via ATV. With the bucket bungee’d into a milk crate on the back of my wheeler, I simply drive around, drill and drop the transducer of my Humminbird ICE-55 without moving any gear from the ATV. I give each hole a couple of minutes to produce and then move on.

Super fast. Super cool.

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