How to Set Up an Ice Fishing Tip Up
- 17 Jan, 2018
The winter season is typically the least favorite for many, unless you are an avid ice fisherman! Many relish the sign of first ice on their favorite ice fishing lake, and begin rigging up. One of the tried and true essentials to ice fishing is the Tip Up. Tip Ups offer a unique way to fish and an adrenaline rush when you see a flag flying high above the ice signaling a hit. Though there are a variety of different Tip Ups on the market the actual setup is similar across the board.
Spool the Tip Up
To begin setting up your Tip Up you should become familiar with your particular Tip Up, understand how it operates and what triggers the “Fish On” signal. After you have identified the basic operational functions it is time to put some line on that spool. On Tip Ups you will want to use a braided line, braided line is ideal for spooling your Tip Ups because it provides high knot strength and is not easily broken compared to mono for fluorocarbon. Braided line also is easier to hold on to when retrieving a fish. When spooling your Tip Up first tie a strong knot around the spool such as an arbor knot. Now that you have the braided line securely tied onto the spool, you will want to begin wrapping the line around the spool in the same direction to ensure that when a fish bites the line comes off the spool correctly and triggers the signal mechanism. Another way to spool line up quickly on a Tip Up is to use a drill.
Select a Leader Line & Hook
Once you have spooled up with braided line you will want to next attach a swivel to the end of your braided line. A barrel swivel works well on a Tip Up as it offers mobility to the leader line while reducing line twist. Now you will want to choose a leader line that is appropriate for the targeted fish species. Using fluorocarbon will provide the least visibility to fish but lack in strength compared to a monofilament line; and if fishing for pike or other larger fish species with razor sharp teeth you may want to consider a steel leader. As far as leader length is concerned it can vary depending on depth of water and fish species. Some people prefer longer leaders in case they break off or have to cut the line to release a fish; a longer leader provides extra length in case a retie is needed. Once you have your leader line tied on to the other end of the swivel you will want to select the appropriate hook for the fish species you are after. Types of hooks that you may want to consider are J-hooks, treble hooks, or even circle hooks. Check out the anatomy of fishing hooks to get a better understanding of each hook’s features and benefits.
Find Some Ice
Now that you understand the mechanisms of your Tip Up, have it spooled up with braided line, and your leader line attached trailed by your choice of hook it is time to hit the ice! Use your best judgment or a flasher to help identify fish activity on the lake and drill a hole in the ice using an auger. In most cases live bait is the preferred method when using a Tip Up such as shiners or small suckers. You can hook a minnow through the lips or in the back in front of the dorsal fin. If using a minnow you may also want to add a piece of split shot a few inches away from the hook. This will prevent the minnow from escaping a fish, as it will keep the minnow weighted down. Depending on the depth and what type of fish you are fishing for will help determine the depth to set your Tip Up at. Some prefer to be just above the bottom while others prefer to set their bait just below the ice surface. This will be something to test run on the lakes you fish. Once you have the line in the water you will want to provide your Tip Up with a level surface to sit on. Some Tip Ups sit fully over the hole, which is ideal for blocking out light and prevents the hole from freezing up. The final step is to enjoy the great outdoors and wait for a signal. Happy Ice Fishing!
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