For everyone that has enjoyed the beautiful winter past time ice fishing, there’s plenty of ways to partake. Everywhere from sitting on a bucket freezing your ass off, to an ice mansion with an upper level. Now most people who decide to invest in an ice house don’t buy the ridiculous monstrosities, but even the little ones like mine can take the toughness, possibly even the sport, out of ice fishing. Which is why my ice house has turned me into a bitch.
Fishing Like A ManMost people start out ice fishing by sitting on an bucket or if you’re lucky a chair.
Makes sense since starting out you don’t want to invest a ton of money into something before you know you’re actually going to enjoy it. (Kind of how a NFL franchise wish they could test drive a quarterback before paying them and then paying them again 😳)So you go buy a cheap rod and hand auger or borrow them from a friend or family member.
One of the hardest parts is indeed the hand auger. As a gung-hoe teenager there wasn’t an amount of ice that I would care about hand drilling through. So what if I got all sweaty? I’m outside and it’s like zero degrees. Now? I have a propane auger and I struggle just to gain the courage to go to Scheels or wherever to get thee little propane tank.*Scheels Note – I fucking love Scheel’s. Great store. Lot’s of good shit in there. But…everything I want is up those god damn stairs and in the back corner of the store. Everyone tells me, “Oh just take the elevator if you’re gonna bitch about it.” Look, as a fat guy, I’m not going to let the skinny people of Eden Prairie judge me when I’m riding my fat ass up that elevator. Instead, my Orange Julius and I are huffing and puffing up those stairs to get my little propane tank and minnows.
Still Considered A Man
One level up from sitting on the ice exposed to all the damn elements is get a “portable” fish house. People call these all sorts of things so whatever you want to call them go for it.
These definitely have their place and their purpose. Easy to get around, light and relatively easy to set up.
Really the only bad thing about these bad boys are the way you hear them. there’s all sorts of different propane heaters you can buy, and they all do a pretty decent job. The only bugaboo is trying not to die. When I fish out of portables I just have the little “sunflower” heater.These little bitches get so fucking hot. Makes sense…it’s a heater but I’ve almost lit my bibs on fire on a couple different occasions. There’s not a ton of room in there, especially when you got a few burley guys with all their equipment and beer. Another fatal fear is just straight up carbon monoxide poisoning. Most of the portables are pretty well insulated and don’t breathe a whole lot. Which can cause concern when you running a little propane heater in a 5’x5′ little coffin for 12 straight hours.
Livin’ On The Ice
Now to the bitch-mobile’s. Population me. Aaaaand a shit ton of other people.
Growing up I’d always see wheel houses sitting on the lake and thinking to myself, “That doesn’t even look fun.” I was thought of ice fishing as a sport of toughness and grit. Until I went on a trip in one these. I couldn’t have been more fucking wrong.
The only challenge with fishing out of an ice house is having enough ice. Obviously when walking out or even fishing out of a portable you really don’t need a whole lot of ice, but with these you’re going to want a decent amount of ice. I always like more than they recommend because I really don’t feel like having my ice house and my pickup fall into the ice. What an insurance nightmare. Now you can pull most of these with a ATV or some sort of recreational vehicle so you don’t need quite as much ice, but I already bought the fish house and I don’t have money for an ATV so lay off.
Fishing out of these really is a different experience. You pull them out there and set them down with the holes drilled with your power auger it’s smooth sailing.
The first thing I installed when I got my fish house were rattle reels. Attach to the wall and sting some line on them, throw a hook or jig on there with some bait and you’re fishing! It’s sad really but I hardly even use my rod and reels anymore. If those fish don’t want to bite those minnows just sitting there than I guess I ain’t getting them. I hardly have time to worry about fishing with deciding which movie to watch or figuring out what time football starts that day.
Every now and again I’ll get the itch and really jig and go for them like the good old days. Most of the time it’s nice to just relax in my heated trailer with a 12 pack of buds and watch a full day of Sunday football while catching the occasional fish.
Is it really even fishing at this point? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s definitely a completely different experience depending on what you’re fishing in but regardless it’s an awesome time and if you’ve never been ice fishing I strongly recommended it. I mean if you’re from Minnesota and you’ve never been ice fishing you’re not doing Minnesota winters right.
Happy Tight Lines Everyone!