Do you fish with more than one rod? Or just want to stay dry under cover? Keeping an eye on several things at once, and staying warm and dry whilst you do so, can be a challenge.
If only there was an easy way to do it…
Well of course there is.
By using one of the best ice fishing tip ups you can easily identify when you’ve got a bite.
This article is going to look at the best ice fishing traps and things you need to think about when choosing one.
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Table of Contents
- TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups of 2021
- A Quick Guide to Ice Fishing Tip Ups
TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups of 2021
A Quick Guide to Ice Fishing Tip Ups
If you are just starting out, or looking to invest in something new there is a massive range of choice when trying to decide what is the best tip up for ice fishing.
I’m going to go through a few things that you may want to consider when making your purchase.
Decide on Your Budget
Like most fishing tackle there are a range of options to suit all wallets. And with ice fishing tip ups there is certainly an element of getting what you paid for.
As a general rule the more features, the better the ice fishing trap will be.
Normally you will have to invest a little more if you want features, but they should make your fishing experience easier and more fun, so you have to decide what that is worth to you.
How do You Want to Fish?
With our selection above you have two options. You are either going to be fishing using the ice fishing trap on its own as an all in one solution, or you are going to use the ice fishing tip up to supplement your bite detection using a rod.
It is worth noting that if you are using the all in one solution, then this may be an entirely new technique.
I’ll cover the differences in the FAQ below.
Is the Flag Material Important?
Yes, it is. Plastic may stay dry, however, in very cold conditions it can become brittle and crack. With the premium brands this happens less often (but let’s face it the flag is replaceable).
Cloth flags can be a great solution, however, if they get wet and freeze, they can weigh down their ‘pole’ a little which may hinder bite detection.
Consider the Conditions
If you are purely a fair-weather fisherman then you can maybe afford to go a little lighter and less sturdy on your choice of ice fishing trap.
However, if you want to go out in all weathers and conditions you are going to need a trap that is sturdy, visible and doesn’t ‘pop up’ at the first hint of a breeze.
Want to know what you are looking for?
You want long, bright flags for a start. Further to this you will want a body that is thick, durable and brightly colored. Ideally, it should be constructed of a material that will resist the long-term effects of being cold and wet.
Do you fish in conditions where your hole quickly starts to shrink as ice and snow is blown into it? If the weather is particularly cold you can find that you will either need to have something to keep your ice hole open, or have a really great ice auger.
If this is going to be an issue for you, I would definitely go down the route of circular ice fishing tip ups. Whilst I am talking ice augers, if you are tired of working to keep a hole open, you could always consider something electric. Why not take a look at my quick guide to the best electric ice fishing augers?
Consider the Species
If you are only going to be fishing for Panfish, then you don’t want to miss bites by using something that is too ‘heavy’
The ability to set and change the pressure required to ‘fire’ the flag is a really nice thing to have in an ice fishing tip up.
It will allow you to alter your style to catch a range of species. I would probably advise against anything that is too light if you are going to fish for bigger species.
What is the best ice fishing tip up?
A great ice fishing tip up will have the following qualities. You’ll want something that is portable, convenient and easy to bring out onto the ice. It should be really easy to set up too.
Once you are fishing you will need the ability to detect bites. This includes avoiding ‘false flags’. If your setup is too light you may find that smaller fish, the wind, or even a slight undertow may give a false indication, therefore it is vital that you have a decent ice fishing trap that is suitable for the conditions.
How do ice fishing tip ups work?
They are quite a simple solution. If you are using an ‘all in one’ style of ice fishing tip up, you don’t actually need a rod. Essentially You have a few elements.
Let me explain…
The tip up spans your hole in the ice. Mounted upon the tip up will be a spring-loaded flag. This flag is held down by a trigger mechanism or catch. The catch is normally attached to a central spindle, which in turn is attached to a bobbin of line.
When the bobbin turns as a result of the fish taking line, the spindle also turns releasing the catch and allowing the flag to pop up. This indicates to you that you have a bite. You then haul the fish in using your hands.
What is the best line for tip ups?
Think about what I have just said above.
Traditionally you don’t ‘reel in’. You bring the fishing line in by hand. As a result, you will find that fishing line for tip ups is generally a lot thicker than normal fishing line.
Tip up fishermen will use a variety of lines to suit individual tastes. Braid is a popular choice as it offers a really high breaking strain for a relatively small diameter.
You might see other lines too.
Because it is going to be handled directly with your hands often coated lines may be the best choice. They aid in grip especially when you are wearing ice fishing gloves.
How do you rig an ice fishing tip up?
Well, there are several styles. However, I thought it might be best if, instead of taking all of your time reading, I could show you a video about it.
Take a look here. It will take you about 5 minutes and you can really see what it is all about.
How do you set depth on tip up?
It does depend on the species you are trying to catch. However, you’ll find that most anglers attach a marker to their line when they know they have reached the required depth.
As to assessing what that depth should be, the old-fashioned way used to be to attach a plumb weight and lower your line into the water.
So, what’s the best way to assess depth?
Well, let’s be slightly more methodical in our approach. We want accuracy. One of the best ways to ensure this is to use a depth finder, or if you want to get really technical you may want to consider using an ice fishing flasher.
If you are unsure about this kind of technology don’t worry as I have a really handy ice fishing flasher guide just here. This works exactly the same way as sonar in a submarine. It is super useful for assessing depths, learning what is on the bottom, and even giving you advanced warning of when you are about to get a bite! Cool eh?
What is an ice fishing tip down?
Remember how we talked about different approaches?
An ice fishing tip down is a slightly different solution. In this scenario, you will be using your existing ice fishing rod and placing it in a holder.
Depending on the model of tip down that you go for, bites may be indicated by a flag that raises when your rod moves, or you might just have to keep an eye out for your rod moving in its mount…
Literally, the tip moves down, hence the name! You can find an example of a really good ice fishing tip down in my product review.
Each angler is different, some will prefer to use the purely tip up method, other might want to get the best features of an ice fishing tip down.
Fortunately, my ideas on the best ice fishing tip ups should have you covered regardless. I appreciate that this might be new ground for some of you folks. But I am committed to always giving you the most up to date information.
If you want to keep on top of your game why not subscribe to my newsletter where I share all the best tactics, tips and products. I offer advice on everything from the best line to the best ice fishing boots!
Alright, let's get serious. Fly fishing in saltwater has to be tried to be believed. Man, those fish battle hard. Your standard river rod just isn't going to cut the mustard. You're going to need...
We've all been there. Sat for hours, not a single fish showing on the surface. Where could they be? Well, I'll tell you. Deep down on the bottom. A floating line just isn't going to cut it....