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Get Started Ice Fishing | Only The Gear You NEED

Get Started Ice Fishing | Only The Gear You NEED
January 2, 2021

Ice fishing is loved by so many because it is so accessible if you have access to some hard water (that’s ice for you newbies). Jay Hale is bringing 4 decades of experience to this episode of Gearbox Talk. He explains how he approaches finding a good spot by learning from old ice holes, he shares why he usually prefers a hand auger over a gas powered one and where to find good auger blades, and he shares how to test ice to make sure it’s safe to fish on. Jay also goes in depth into the gear that you absolutely need to get started like tip-ups, jigs, how to ice fish without a shelter and what clothing to consider wearing when you plan to spend the whole day on the ice. Hopefully this episode gets you out there chasing flags.

**Gearbox Talk is brought to you by GoWild™** Download GoWild today. Join a community of shooters, hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Gear Mentioned:
HT Hardwater Explorer
Heritage Tackle and Gear Laker
Acme Kastmaster 1/12 oz gold (silver, orange, and neon green are good too)

Northland Fishing Tackle Slug Bug
Bay de Noc Lure Co. Swedish Pimple (various sizes and colors)
Rapala Jigging Rap (various colors and sizes)
Lindy Tungsten Ice Worm
Strikemaster Mora 8 inch hand auger

Cabela's Ice Chisel

Otter Outdoors Sport Series Ice Sled

Paricon 648 Winter Lightning kids toboggan

HT Enterprises Ice Fishing Tackle Tote

Show Notes: Jimmy Glaeser's Ice Fishing Gearbox Talk Episode


Brad: Gearbox Talk is coming in hot with a show that'll freeze you to your core we're talking about ice fishing again today we're going back to the GoWild well we're bringing in a community member Jay Hale this time and he's going to talk about ice fishing Jay's been ice fishing his whole life he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the show this guy's a natural on the show actually we're diving into the basics we'll give yet another perspective on how to get started ice fishing I've learned a lot over these last two ice fishing shows whether it's jimmy or Jay if if you like learning about new outdoor topics let's hit subscribe every single week I'm having awesome conversations like this when we're talking about a wide range of topics too it's fishing it's hunting archery shooting self-defense and beyond so don't miss out go ahead and hit subscribe right now all right grab the auger and a cold one it's time to dig in this is Gearbox Talk with Jay Hale


hi Jay Hale you just told me you've got close to four decades around four decades of your life ice fishing so I'm excited to get some advice from you and it's not like you're not necessarily like a pro or anything you've just done this your whole life you love it and I'm excited to get some advice for someone who's a beginner and trying to get into it how's it going man

Jay: absolutely it's going great brad thanks for having me on

Brad: all right man let's dive into it let's talk about picking a spot to drill how do you go about this and then I'm curious what your auger of choice is

Jay: sure so uh the way I pick spots if it's a new piece of water what I do is I look to see where other people have been you can learn a lot by kind of watching what other people are up to if there's not people on the ice you can just walk around looking for holes the holes really aren't going to disappear anywhere but if you're familiar with fishing the pond open water some of those same tactics with structure and stuff will still kind of work uh when it's frozen over so that's what I do um I or if you you know know some people who fish that pond through the ice just ask them a lot of people are always willing to kind of give you suggestions point you in the right direction they may not give you a honey hole some submerged tree that baitfish are hanging out on but they'll give you an idea oh

Brad: awesome that's all right and then I know uh you know with with the auger you know there's hand cranks there's motorized what's your preference on an auger

Jay: sure a lot of the ponds that I fish are very residential ponds so the last thing somebody wants you to do if you're getting out there before sunrise is crank up a gas-powered uh you know power auger at like six six thirty in the morning so what I've been using pretty much most of the time is a strike master mora auger it's a hand crank it's an eight inch blade um if you're interested in getting one of these my recommendation is to look for the blades that were made in sweden a lot of the ones that are made now are made in china and they just don't seem to be as durable so you can still find some of the ones made in sweden and I would definitely go with those I've used this it's a pretty good auger if your blades are nice and thick you can get through a foot of ice with very very minimal effort um but if you know somebody with a power rodder it makes if you're drilling a lot of holes it makes life a lot easier but it's not necessary and even if you can find a place that people were fishing not too long ago it hasn't been that cold you can also get an ice fishing spud I think this one's this one's made by frable so basically what it is is a big chisel you can uh if someone was fishing there the day before there's a little bit of skim ice just use one of these things tap out the holes boom put your stuff in there you're ready to go and it's also great to have one of these things just for ice safety uh as you venture out into the frozen lake or the pond just you can chisel away if it goes straight through turn around get off

Brad: that's a good good tip there okay cool um you know another thing that you know we always look at what are people looking for for this show what are people trying to learn about and there's a lot of people asking what are tip-ups and why should you use them can you talk through your tip-ups selection

Jay: sure so like you were saying I've been at it for 40 years the first tip up I got was very very rudimentary this uh hand-me-down it's still got my name on here somewhere so this is from I think my dad said the 1950s and it kind of advanced a bit one of the ones I like to get they're relatively inexpensive this one is made by I think this is also made by h by ht it's called the hard water explorer so a tip up is basically it's also called a fish trap what it is is you put it over your hole you bait it down here it has a small spool like a reel um you can use live bait or artificial bait with it I like to hold them up with a piece of velcro keeps the hooks from getting all tangled up so you put your live bait or artificial bait on that set it in the ice you know you find a depth uh where you think the fish are going to be if you're fishing for trout sometimes it's right under the ice if you're fishing for something else it might be right off the bottom the fish grabs the hook with the bait on it and then flings up this flag which is a little too big for my camera and it lets you know that it is up uh what I like about this brand is you can see here it has a drag on it so if you're fishing I do do a decent amount of uh fishing for trout under the ice with uh night crawlers or worms and you can loosen the drag up because like if a trout feels any bit of resistance it's going to drop the bait immediately so with this hard water explorer you can really loosen this screw on the drag right there and boom it you know very little resistance and uh when you're fighting the the fish on that you kind of set the hook with a with a uh a yank of the line right there and then just kind of hand over hand fish fight the fish back through the hole and these these tip ups are good I've used them for for anything from trout and panfish to pike but I also have another tip up that I use here for larger fish pike lakers this is


this is the heritage tackle uh that's the brand on that it's kind of local to me it's made in maine you can start to get these more in big box stores it also has a spool the drag is a little more serious I don't like it as much for trout I've had a hard time kind of getting it to the the loose enough where they're not feeling tension but this thing is a killer for lake trout and I love it for pike I've caught a lot of pike in vermont with these things I'm curious thing about tip ups is you have to be careful with your regulations where I live in massachusetts you're allowed five ice fishing devices so that could be either a jig rod and four tip ups new hampshire has six vermont has different ones like if you're fishing on a large lake like lake champlain I think you can have something like 12 out there so just keep an eye on your regulations uh a tip-up counts as an ice fishing device so um that will let you know how many of these you can get but the uh the hard water explorer is great for a beginner it costs under twenty dollars so if you're looking to get started it's not really that big of an investment

Brad: and and what's the uh you know you mentioned the jig like is that just based on what species you're targeting on which tactic you're using

Jay: yeah uh well I what I typically do on my ice fishing spread is I'll use in massachusetts I'll just kind of keep it simple with that so I will use the four tip ups with a jig rod but if I have a lot and I use the live bait which is typically arkansas shiners or if I trap my own bait like a small pumpkin seed fish you know depending on what's legal in your state uh live bait is usually the shiners you can pick up at any bait store and uh I'll use those it just through the ice that seems like it's the most effective um I do a lot of bass fishing through the ice bass pick roll perch and they'll just go nuts in the winter for uh for live bait it's uh it's really effective

Brad: I was going to ask you about um you know you kind of mentioned live bait but also with tackle selection you know you take your top species or two and let's talk through your tackle choices when you're not using live bait

Jay: sure when I'm not using live bait I would say my overall my overall favorite lure is a 12 ounce


cask master acme cast master um my favorite this one I couldn't find one still in the package because I just go through them so quickly uh my favorite one is the 12 ounce gold it catches everything from I've caught horn pout uh catfish up to lake trout with them uh I've caught a on an eighth ounce cast master I caught a really nice land a broodstock landlocked salmon that the state used to stock in there just on a tiny little jig rod and that'll catch anything most forge I would say most boards massachusetts are either going to be something small like smelt size where this 12 ounce cast master is just deadly or it's something more like these slug bugs made by northland yeah these are really effective too you just kind of set it at a 90 degree angle on your jig rod and just gently because they're going after like uh blood worms that's one of the big forage fish for like panfish crappy uh sunfish perch that little northland jig is just that's also deadly on panfish I use that a lot um my favorite color on that is probably red because that's that's a little closer to the to the forward space

Brad: awesome and I'm you know one thing that I see a lot of debate around of course this is the shelter out on the ice so I'm compe uh you've done this for a long time I'm curious for your approach on the shelter and this we'll talk about the uh the sled in a second but you know the shelter itself what's your approach how uh I'm sure this varies per location too a little bit but tell us a little bit about your approach to the shelter

Jay: yeah definitely um when I started ice fishing again after uh you know I went to college I was living in downtown boston in an apartment so keeping a lot of gear in that apartment was difficult uh and then just for me as someone who's like really mobile and only had a honda accord at the time it was tough to put a sled my gear bait bucket and a shelter in there so I've never really fished that often with a shelter I'm sure they're great but um I never really justified the expense when I'm out on the ice with all these tip-ups I set them very far apart and I'm constantly in motion up there so I'm always staying warm and there's ways to kind of make wind breaks if you're out uh if you're out on the uh on the lake but shelters are great if you you have the space if you have a friend if you want to pitch in with a buddy they're great to have I just never fished with them um yeah and a lot of the places I fish are are pretty small and it's always been just a cost in the space thing so if you're just starting off i'd say that's one thing to sacrifice at first I think yeah that's great advice yeah if you get really involved in ice fishing you know consider it

Brad: yeah when I when I talked to jimmy you know I was kind of surprised at how affordable shelter was but again when you're getting into something you don't know if you want to you're going to stick with it that's that's even if it's not too expensive it's still a heck of a commitment size-wise like you said if you're in an apartment or you're gonna have to drive this thing around in a honda accord it's like let's not do that you know let's uh let's try it out a few times I am curious though and I didn't ask you about this before so I know you aren't prepped to show anything but what clothing are like do you have a setup that you prefer on stain like if it's super cold like whatever subzero you know you know you're gonna freeze your butt off what do you go with

Jay: what I normally do is I just keep it cheap man I'll go to a store like marshalls one of those discount stores I'm sure sierra trading post would be killer for this they just really didn't have them when I was buying myself it's just uh you know I'll wear a pair of fleece lined jeans a pair of just regular or cheap ski snow pants um any you know just a warm winter coat doesn't have to be down I have I got one from old navy it's this big goofball puffy camouflage shiny jacket but it's super thick and uh it really really does the trick it's been my official ice fishing jacket for probably at least a decade my wife hates it but uh I think it's great that's the trick but any any clothing you have for cold weather deer hunting it's going to be perfect yeah be perfect

Brad: and I'll throw it out there because this is something I have done which is be cold uh you know I deer hunt and I've hunted not quite like you guys do up further north but in single digits you know uh the thing I've i've found with layering for anybody that's new to being out for a long time in the cold um layers of of clothing like you mentioned down like that are going to create air pockets like getting that air gap and to have some space that can be heated is really important and then you kind of mentioned a couple different ways to layer there also having something that's going to break the wind if you have a combo of those two things because you know sometimes you're down I have a down jacket that I love or it's not a down it's like a synthetic down but I love the jacket but it does not break wind so if you combine that with something that breaks the wind and also creates an air gap you're gonna be fine you're gonna be warm so

Jay: and just one thing to consider if you are using something down use something you can get fish slime on and easily wash it more machine washable the better um I have a great down jacket but I kind of relegated it to you shoving the driveway because I don't it's hand wash only and I don't want to get picked

Brad: yeah dude the some of those puffy jackets actually even my puffy jacket when I wash it it all gets like knotted up and then I have to spend 20 minutes pulling it all back through the coat and it works fine once you do that but it is super annoying because it's not very uh it's not very washable in that sense all right man now I'm curious though you've still got a lot of gear so even though you don't take a shelter you got to get all this stuff out there let's talk through your your sled transport for all this equipment

Jay: yep so one thing you can use if you're just gonna go at it real real simple trusty five gallon bucket you know you can put all your tip ups in this whatever you need carry it out there no problem um if you have something else to put your gear in bait bucket it's cheap but what I've been using is um just this is a jet sled or otter sled I'm pretty sure it's a jet sled um it doesn't have to be covered in punk rock stickers

Brad: yeah we gotta get you a GoWild sticker man

Jay: yeah yeah I got one in my fridge but not on the sled um so this is this doubles as my dear sled uh pretty yeah sad to say a little bit of blood in there but not much uh yeah so I just use that I got this one it's one of the smaller ones because

Brad: I say it's shorter than I thought so they obviously got some various size options there

Jay: yeah this one this one I bought uh just to fit in the trunk of that honda accord yeah and I've just kind of it's the perfect size for my hand otter my hand auger breaks down into two pieces um I keep my tip ups now


this is from a company called ht my dad got me this for christmas a few years ago it's almost disintegrated it's just like a little bag you can keep your tip ups your jig rod and your lures in um I've used an old uh softball catcher's equipment bag to lug my uh tip ups around in I've used old duffel bags um but going back to the sled if you don't want to invest in a jet sled and you're not a deer hunter and you don't need a drag sled just get one of these toboggans yeah this is what I started with you know before jet sleds were a thing back in the 80s this is what my family used to transport all of our gear one of these cheapo plastic toboggans um I got this for my son he's too small for this now but I got this in february at walmart for three bucks

Brad: say like 12 bucks or less you probably can have your sled situation taken care of

Jay: yeah they work they work perfect um you might want to put a bungee cord over it till your gear doesn't flop off if you hit a bump in the ice but it worked really really well

Brad: nice I mean what I love about getting into ice fishing after talking to two of you guys about this it's so cheap to get into I mean we're talking sub 100 you can go out and try your first go at ice fishing you know string together your clothing you already have you you don't have to go out and buy you know six sets of tip ups to try it it's a very affordable thing to try this winter if you're new

Jay: absolutely yeah you can get good deals on used gear on craigslist or whatever aftermarket site you have in your community you know after the season everybody's looking to unload stuff you know either old model stuff or whatever um I found plenty of stuff at yard sales

Brad: nice nice I'm curious I'll ask you out of everything that you're using ice fishing what's your favorite piece of gear

Jay: oh man I don't know I i really like compared to the garbage that I used to fish with when I was really really little all these terrible hand-me-downs like the depression era the new tip-ups the new tip ups are really really nice I just love the fact that there's drags on them um I haven't really invested in a quality jig rod I'll just go to a big box store and you can get a rod um I might have it up here I don't even know what brand this is I don't even know if it has a brand uh it's just a cheap little oh it's made by ht there we go it's just a cheap little rod cost me 9.99 it came with a reel that was 100 plastic so I took it right off just take your open water reel open wall water reel and just electrical tape it on there works fine um and then when open water season opens back up just take it off that's what I've been doing for 15 years and back in the day we used to take the tips from old open water uh rods and just electrical tape are real onto that and that worked just fine so that's another way to kind of if you're a beginner and you don't want to invest that 20 to 25 bucks on a jig rod you can just do that it's just real simple simple stuff

Brad: awesome man Jay this was really good I appreciate you coming on and sharing four decades of knowledge and and hopefully uh you know we're gonna get this in front of some newbies and they can try ice fishing for the first time this year dude thanks so much

Jay: no problem

Brad: all right take care thank you Jay all right that was an awesome show remember the gear mentioned is in the show notes so if you click any of those links and buy it we make money if we make money we donate a percentage of our money back into raise em outdoors so literally when you buy the gear through Gearbox Talk you can help give to a camp that teaches kids how to hunt fish hike camp all that good stuff you buy the kids get more funding it's that simple you know this is our first full show of 2021 and I just want to say make sure you subscribe I have some plans with some big names I'm talking absolute rock stars in the outdoor industry I can't tell you who just yet but these people are grayson magazine covers they're hitting all the top shelf podcasts and they're on your favorite tv shows seriously this is going to be a big year for Gearbox Talk you do not want to miss it so hit that subscribe button right now whether you're on youtube or the podcast that's it for me today thanks for stopping by I'm out

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