More lines in the water mean more chances to catch a fish. It’s simple math, right?
However, you can only hold one rod at a time, so what’s the answer?
Ice fishing tip-ups allow you to fish multiple baits and several ice holes simultaneously. What’s the best ice-fishing tip-up to use?
Well, you are about to find out as I give you a detailed guide and some great suggestions.
In general, the best ice fishing tip-ups will be easy to see even at a distance. You’ll want to look for good cold weather durability and functionality too. Fishing is about consistency, so you should also aim to use a set of similar tip-ups for the best results.
Table of Contents
- TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups for 2023
- Ice Fishing Tip-ups – How to Choose and What You Need to Know
- Ice Fishing Tip-Up FAQ
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TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups for 2023
Ice Fishing Tip-ups – How to Choose and What You Need to Know
As you’ll have seen, there are plenty of ice fishing tip-ups out there. But how do you know which is right for you?
Don’t worry, guys.
Here’s my simple guide, so you can make the best possible choice.
Your best bet is to choose an ice fishing tip-up that is really solidly constructed. My favorite types tend to be made of either wood or metal. While these may cost a little more, they will last a lot longer.
You may be tempted to look for a cheaper ice fishing tip-up.
But, be warned. The adage “buy cheap, buy twice” is very relevant.
Often cheap ice fishing tip-ups are made with substandard materials. Plastic is OK, but certain types of plastic can turn brittle and crack very easily in cold weather conditions.
A Wide Base
I find that anything around the 16-inch mark is a nice size. Ideally, you want it at least 25% bigger than the diameter of your ice hole.
A nice wide base will give your ice-fishing tip-up excellent stability. As a general rule, the wider the base, the more stable your tip-up is. Besides this, the last thing you want is to lose a big fish and your tip-up.
You need to look at a few things when choosing an ice tip-up, and flags are actually one of the most important. If you can’t see the flag, you won’t know that you have got a fish on!
There are two qualities I look for when choosing an ice fishing tip-up based on flags:
- The flag must be easily visible.
- The flag must be durable in cold weather.
Plastic flags are good, as they don’t soak up moisture, but cheaper flags are easily frozen and tend to tear and split easily. Try choosing a trusted brand from a quality supplier and reading reviews to see if this is a problem on your chosen tip-up.
The best ice fishing tip-ups will have a feature that you won’t find on budget models.
A trip bar.
A trip bar is used to set how much pressure will be needed to trigger the flag. If you are fishing for smaller species, you’ll want your trip bar set at a light setting to avoid missing bites. Likewise, if you are looking for bigger fish, you may want to turn it up a notch to avoid being bothered by smaller ‘pecks’ at your bait.
If you’ve ice fished as much as I have, you’ll know that the wind can also be a real nuisance if it starts triggering false flags. A good quality trip bar means you can stay firmly tucked away in your ice fishing shelter until you have a real bite.
Portability and Storage
Listen, you need to be practical. And I know that ice fishing comes with a lot of gear, all of which has to be taken down onto the ice and back.
Ideally, you want to try and find a set of ice fishing tip-ups that are easy to transport. To aid you in choosing, look for one of the following types:
- Ice fishing tip-ups that stack – Disc-type tip-ups are often able to be stacked like plates, meaning they take up less room on your sled.
- Ice fishing tip-ups that are slimmer – The ‘beam’ or ‘rail’ type ice fishing tip-ups are my preference when it comes to transport and storage. They take up next to no space and are easy to transport, you could even carry them in a fishing bag.
Aside from the size, look for other features that make life easy. Things like hook holders and flag locks are also well worth paying a little extra for.
You’ll generally find two types of spools on ice fishing tip-ups:
- Plastic spooled ice fishing tip-ups.
- Metal spooled ice fishing tip-ups.
My preference is metal because it lasts longer and is less likely to crack or turn brittle in cold weather. However, plastic also has its merits.
Because it is less conductive, there is less likelihood of your spool freezing up when the weather is really cold. Plastic spools also tend to cost a little less.
Spool size is also pretty important. Ice fishing line is thicker, so it takes up more room on the spool, so be sure to choose an ice fishing tip-up with ample capacity to fit plenty of line on. This may depend on the type of species you are looking to catch and be influenced by the average depth of the lake you will fish.
Let’s face it, while we all wish we had an unlimited fishing budget, this isn’t the case.
As a result, you will want to look for maximum value for money.
A multipack of tip-ups can be a great choice and offers excellent value.
But I’d suggest going for quality over quantity. It’s better to fish with three amazing ice fishing tip-ups than 6 sub-standard tip-ups of low quality. The former will catch you more fish, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to get good quality.
Ice Fishing Tip-Up FAQ
What is the best ice fishing tip-up?
A great ice-fishing tip-up will have the following qualities. You’ll want something 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 you must have a decent ice fishing trap 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 is attached to a bobbin of line.
When the bobbin turns due to 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 the 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 will 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 I could show you a video about it instead of taking all of your time reading.
Take a look here. It will take about 5 minutes, and you can really see what it is all about.
How do you set the 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. Others 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.
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