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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, looks like my son and I are getting into ice fishing. But we dont ahave a clue as to what we need to start off with. Obviosuly we need, as he says" the little fishing poles" but what else would the learned ones of this forum include in a starter kit? We'll be at Ford Field most of saturday, with checkbook in hand.

Thanks
 

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One of the great things about ice fishing is that you really don't need much if you want to keep it simple.

You do need those little rods, but the cheap ones are fine - 5 bucks or less apiece. They usually come with line and a reel already an them.

Then you need something to tie on the line to hook the bait to - little "teardrops" or spoons are cheap and work fine.

Then there's bait, of course - ask the guy at the bait store which he recommends - they're all pretty cheap.

You'll want a little weight with a clamp on it to put on your line and guage the depth under your hole. They're about a buck.

You need a bucket to sit on and one to carry the fish in - can be the same bucket. Some folks get tricky a cut a hole in the side of their bucket about 6 inches from the bottom so they can kinda' nonchalantly slip fish in there when they catch them without anyone seeing - helps keep the crowd away from you.

Warm clothes are a must. I have a friend who wears a long insulated coat with a hood and when he sits down it looks like he's in his own little shanty!

The only thing that can run into a little cash is the device you will use to get through the ice. A spud will work (chop,chop,chop) but an auger is the ticket! A manual one is fine, although they make some slick power ones.

No wonder ice fishing is so popular - it's a great way to spend a few hours and get in touch with your thoughts in a quiet environment (unless you're in front of Bud's, err Bobby Mac's, on a Sunday).

Have Fun! Don't keep your kid out there too long - if he freezes, he may tell you you're nuts the next time you want him to go.
 

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Safety equipment is even more important than fishing equipment when it comes to ice fishing. It sounds like you haven't done it before or in a long time.

The MDNR and local sheriffs recommend everyone ice fishing wear a lifejacket. I don't ever see anyone doing it, but the last time I went. I had to pull someone out of the water. If no one is close, a life jacket could keep you afloat even after the cold water makes it hard to think straight.

Some kind of ice-pick like device is handy to pull yourself out if you fall through. A common homemade tool is cut two sturdy wooden dowels. Hammer in a large nail halfway or so into the end of each and cut of the head of the nails. Attach a rope about 3 feet long between each dowel and put them in your coat pocket.

I don't ice fish anymore, but in all the years I did, I never went all the way through. If you check the ice in front of you carefully before you move forward, you should be okay. I don't like spuds for making holes (I use a 6" hand auger), but they do make excellent safe ice detectors.

The odds are great you'll never have a problem, but it's good to be prepared. Remember that ice doesn't have to be uniformly thick and usually isn't on any body of water. Current areas cause thin ice. Springs cause thin ice. Objects sticking through the ice can attract heat and weaken nearby ice.

The guy I pulled out was shy and decided to walk up near shore into an old dead reed bed. It was sparse, but those dead reeds poking through the ice still weakened it enough for him to fall through. The shoreline attracts heat too, so it's common for the ice to be thinner right along shore.

Avoid those kinds of things. Docks are another example. River mouths and canals with water movement can be treacherous - even out a ways into the lake. There are plenty of canals on St. Clair that are unsafe, especially near bridges and water discharges. St. Clair has a lot of complex currents out into many parts of the lake. Just always assume the ice in front of you could be drastically thinner. Walk slowly until you are sure the ice is safe.

Even if you see a bunch of anglers out a ways, you don't know what direction they came from so don't assume the ice is guaranteed all the way out to them.

Ice fishing is a lot of fun and stays that way as long as you respect the fact you're standing on top of very cold water. Have fun. Be safe.
 

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Ooo - good points all. I do have a pair of sticks with nails in them that I overlooked mentioning - you can buy things of this sort, too. One slick one is spring loaded and retracts into the handle while in you pocket so you don't poke yourself. Staying the hell out of the water in the winter is like telling a boater to keep the water outside the boat in the summer - we all should know it but it can stand to be repeated.

A life jacket is a good idea, too, I understand - but I never have worn one and have also never seen anyone do it. That's doesn't mean it isn't a great idea! I'm digging around to find the most comfortable, best fitting now.

One other glaring ommission - I forgot the scoop! Ya' gotta have that to keep your hole cleaned out. Another cheapie - a buck or two.

And if the ice isn't snow covered, you might benefit from some sort of gripper attachment for your boots. I wear fairly smooth bottomed Sorels and I have some strap-on metal teeth I wear on shear ice.

Of course, gloves are important. I like gloves with the fingertips cut out and mittens over those.

Stay warm, stay dry, don't take stupid chances, and don't overdo it. You and your son will have fun, I'm sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We appreciate all the advice and tips everyone is giving us. Hopefully once we get outfitted, we can get out on the ice and try our hand at this. Wouldnt even mind hooking up with someone the first time, just to work the bugs out. I am also looking for a shanty for us, more for him, to keep the wind off and help him see into the hole better. I know that would be a big winning point for him and wouldnt hurt these "older" bones as well.

Thanks again.
 

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Stop by the Lake St. Clair Walleye Assoc. booth the guys will be more than happy to help you and your son. We are not selling tackle but they can steer you in the right direction. I will be working at the booth Sun. 10am-2pm, stop by and say hello. Also our club is having a kids outing on Sun. Feb. 16 at Jiggers in Fair Haven, food, fun and fishing. Take Care><> AL
 

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If I may add my 2 cents worth, not so much for your son but get a bucket or some type of chair with a back on it so you can lean back every once in a while. It maybe a little cumbersome to haul out there, but it'll save your back from aching the morning after! After even 4 hrs of bending over watching down the holes the back tends to feel it. You can't help (at least I can't) looking down the whole, especially when you have a school of perch mouthing your baits, or you see a 30inch pike come nose to nose with your minnow. Good luck.
 
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