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I'm looking to buy some rods and reels for ice fishing. Seeing as how I've never ice fished before I don't know how much thought I need to put into buying the "correct" rods and reels.

Ideally I'd like about 3-4 rods each for different species or different applications. I really like Fenwick's regular rods so I think I'm going to buy rods from them. I've got a couple picked out for bass to trout to panfish. My question lies in reel selection.

 

Do I have to consider gear ratios (retrieve speed) as much as I do in regular fishing reels. Like normally, if I'm flippin' and pitchin' in the summer I like a fast gear ratio for a quick retrieve, which provides the ability for rapid presentations.

 

Seeing as ice fishing is essentially only vertical jigging, does gear ratio matter in the same regard? Is it based more on species? For example, if I'm fishing for trout would I need something that can reel faster in case they swim directly towards me, Vs. fishing for panfish where I might not need to bring in line as quickly? Does gear ratio even matter? What brands are good and reliable?

 

Geek out, the more detailed and opinionated reply you can give, the better!

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  I don’t use anything fancy for ice fishing reels,  I just take my smaller sized trout and bass reels and throw em on my jigging sticks.  Unless your trying to catch big pike and lake trout, Shimano Siennas would be fine and they’re cheap.  I’ve caught 5lb bass through the ice on noodle rods and 4lb test and they don’t even take any drag in the cold water. 

 

  I like my Cabelas Prodigy medium jigging rods,  the lighter ones are too wimpy even for trout fishing,  I broke one setting the hook on a 2lb rainbow.  I prefer the ones around 30” long.  Haven’t tried any fenwicks, just pick one that feels good to you.

 

If you have higher end taste,  st croix mojo makes ice rods.  I don’t like the handle on them though.  I bought a pair of custom 30” Loomis ice rods from eBay, they’re made out fly rod tips and have a crisp parabolic bend and full cork handles. Anxious to try them out this season. 

 

If you’re into using tip-ups and live bait, I would recommend the “HT Ice Riggers”,  it’s a tip-up that uses your jigging rods instead of a hand line.  More fun IMO.  

 

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if you get any,  make sure they have the adjustable rod holder and not that plastic tube like the pic.

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Sorry mate, no ice fishing in my part of the country :) 

 

Apologies. Couldn't resist a good-hearted, cold-weather ribbing. Good luck!

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Hey, I can maybe help you out some.  As you will likely find out the offering on ice fishing rods and reels are way more limited than open water.  The vast majority use smaller spinning reels and all about the same gear ratio, so don't get hung up on that aspect at all.  You will probably want one rod that is a medium power for jigging and catching larger fish like pike and walleye, one medium light power rod for perch/crappies, and perhaps one that is a light power for sunfish.  No clue what your fishing for, but that covers most situations.  

 

You will also probably notice quickly that the quality on a lot of the ice combos is not that great.  I would try to get some of the more expensive stuff if you can afford it because a lot of the "ice reels" don't hold up.  One rod I really like is made by *** and it is called the white out I think.  St Croix makes some nicer rods too and if you want to spend a little more you can check out Thorne Bros. 

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Not a pro but couldn’t you use a dock demon or something of that effect. With a better appropriate spinning reel. 

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Gear ratio is pretty much irrelevant in ice fishing, Unless you are going after bigger fish that will go on a run. I would consider looking at in-line ice reels, especially for your lighter panfish set-ups. They offer several advantages: easier to get lighter lures to fall, eliminate line twist which will stop your jig from spinning when in the water (this is the biggest advantage), also, the coils you get from mono will not be there. The eagle claw in line reels are pretty decent for the money.

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