I believe fondness for ice fishing is a genetic trait among certain fishermen in the northern tier states. As many times as I have tried ice fishing, I simply cannot get excited about pulling a mess of gear out on a frozen lake, drilling holes in the ice, then sitting around those holes trying to make a fish bite. Yes, I know ice fishing is a way of life during the winter in the most northern of the northern states, but I do not have that gene. Meanwhile the the majority of my friends in southern regions where lakes do not freeze cannot understand why anyone could go ice fishing. The one exception is noted outdoor writer Jeff Samsel of Georgia, who makes repeated trips to the frozen north each winter in order to ice fish. However, Jeff proves my point that enjoying ice fishing is a genetic trait - he was born in Minnesota!
Here in NW PA during a typical winter our waterways are frozen from about January 1 to around mid-March. So what do I do during those winter months? I go ice fishing! Everyone has some part of their job which they don't like but must do it regardless. I don't enjoy ice fishing, but I must do it. That is why I look forward to Dave Lefebre's Erie Ice Camp.
"Isn't Dave Lefebre a professional bass angler on the national tournament tours?" someone asks. Yes he is. But next to chasing bass, his second most favorite activity is ice fishing. As a member of Rapala's Ice Force Pro-Staff, Dave has access to the latest equipment. When I play on the ice and need to come away with cutting edge material for stories, the best source of material each winter is Erie Ice Camp where a handful of outdoor media types gather to learn new tricks.
The first thing everyone does is strap on a pair of STABILicers (www.32north.com) in order to stay upright when walking on slick ice; without a doubt these are the most effective boot cleats I've ever used. Of course Dave dazzles everyone with the number of panfish he catches while using the futuristic Black Betty inline reel and the fantastic Tickle Stick. Dave says the new flat tip Tickle Stick renders spring bobbers obsolete. Check both out at www.13Fishing.com. On the end of 1-pound Suffix Ice Line, Dave has VMC Tungsten ice jigheads tipped with Trigger X soft plastic Nymphs and Wingdings. Intently watching the MarCum Sonar, Dave teases 'gills and perch off the bottom towards the jigs, setting the hook when the fish line and jig line merge. All these items may be found at www.Rapala.com under the Ice Force tab.
After photographing the action for couple hours in the open, I'm ready for a break. So I retire to the insulated Otter Pro XT1200 Shelter and watch a little TV - that being a MarCum Underwater Camera where I can observe fish move to jigged baits live on the screen. Now this is my kind of ice fishing!