Gear Up For The Ice With Rapala
“When lakes are frozen and the cold, dark mornings start with a crackling fire on the ice, that’s when you know the ice fishing season has started”
A Rod for bending big ones!
The temperature here in Sweden has been swinging on both sides of 0 Celsius degrees and it has made fishing difficult for those who love to get out on the ice. I’ve just got home from a couple of days at my buddy’s in north of Sweden, where we tried out some new ice fishing gear from Rapala.
The car was packed to its limit with everything from bags, Ismete-rods, augers, sledges and camera gear. Excited and happy, we started the wonderful and cold morning on the first lake. This was a lake with clear water and huge amounts of white fish, trout, perch and, of course, big pike! To top it off, last season I got my hands on the new Ismete set from Rapala, The Fathom!
Fathom Vertical Ice is a 120cm long glass fiber rod with a heavy action designed for nailing those big predators at any lake with ice! It has a blank through handle and is equipped with aluminum oxide guides. The handle is made from EVA and has a nice little hook-keeper for securing your hook at any time. It comes with an attached low-profile reel, also from Rapala.
The reel has a graphite frame and the spool is made from aluminum. It has a gear ratio of 6.3:1 1+1BB which works really well out on the ice. During this fishing trip, we used two different lines from Sufix - the 131 G-Core braided super-line and a Sufix Ice Magic monofilament line.
The Fathom set is in my opinion a trustworthy rod and reel which has become a favorite to me and all my friends out on the ice. It’s almost hard to explain and needs to be tested. The kickback and the action in this rod are what I love the most. To fight the fish with that crispy feeling this set gives you is a winner. The reel lays steady and firm in your hands and works well even in cold conditions. Definitely something worth looking in to!
Drilling holes while waiting!
-Hey Jimmy, are all the rods out?
-No, not yet! We have 4 of them left. You can start drilling in that line over there.
While pointing in a direction across the lake I grabbed the auger and started walking. Something fresh and new for me this season is the lightweight Lite-Flite Lazer Drill unit. Both me and Jimmy were quite impressed by it and eager to see, how this drill would actually work.
We are using it on a handheld electric chuck but there is a compatible 40V Lithium Ion Powerhead from Strike Master, which I’ve heard is amazing to use with the drill. Maybe I’ll get one for next season, who knows. We took a good long look at the drill and tried bending those segmented molded flights that come along the drill. It’s a blend of synthetic resins and we looked at each other thinking, would this really work?
I would lie if I said I was a master at augers and drills, far away from that. Lucky for me, Jimmy has a long experience of ice fishing and working in a garage with all kinds of materials and tools, so he knows more than a bit of this kind of stuff.
I was mainly amazed of how smoothly this drill went through the ice. It’s a lightweight best friend out on any ice - the super sharp chrome-alloy stainless steel Lazer blades were almost scary to touch. But it makes precise and clean cuts every time, that’s for sure. We were both impressed and happy with this drill. It comes with a blade guard and an NDA-3 two stage drill adapter and protection flange. My days of struggling with making holes in the ice are over - no more “stucks” on those icy edges!
-So, mate the 4th and last hole was drilled! Let´s hope for a big pike now!
All the rods were in place and the crackling fire warmed our frozen fingers. It was a quietness only a winter morning can give.
Pelagic pike & Jigging perch!
The morning came and went and there was still no life underneath the ice. We placed all our rods in a half circle towards a drop off from shore, all the way down to 15 meters, but rigging our bait to the maximum depth of only 2-3 meters. So, pelagic fishing for sure.
Suddenly, a bell was ringing! We flew up, looking for that one rod with a strike on it.
-Where is it?
-There, the last one on the right.
Jimmy was the one to run towards the running spool of line, while I swiftly grabbed the camera and wasn’t far behind him. He sat the hook and a short and undramatic fight had started and ended before I knew it. It was a smaller but well-fed pelagic pike that came out from that hole of ice. First catch of the day and soon, a beautiful patterned belly was slowly swimming back into the depths of the lake.
The day went on with poor activity on both our pike rods and the jigging for perch, but as a silver lining, I had time to take a closer look and review my third and latest purchase this year from Rapala. It’s also another rod and reel combo from the Fathom series: A Spinning Combo.
For my use, a combo to jig big perch, trout, and smaller predators in our Swedish lakes. This rod is also made from solid glass fiber and comes in 3 different setups: From Light with 61cm to Light Medium and Medium with 71cm for European and Swedish customers. The reel is ball bearing driven and runs smooth in my hand so that’s a big plus. Another thing I appreciated was the pre spooled line from Sufix that you get when buying this combo - the Sufix Ice Magic line, rod and reel all in one ready to go. I used the medium action rod today and it felt well balanced when using the bigger jigs, like the 7 cm
Jigging Rap® from Rapala.
The lack of both pike and perch that day was frustrating and as we sat by the fire and the sky was turning darker, we already planned for next day and new adventures. I’m planning to visit a smaller lake to try out my new Fathom spinning rods on some classic jig fishing for big chars in Sweden - that will be awesome! So, if you are into ice fishing and need to buy some new gear, I hope I’ve inspired you to try out some of the gear that I wrote about and use myself. I wish you the best and catch a “biggie”!