Resorts & Lodging
Fishing Guides
Bait & Tackle Shops
Products & Services
Important Links
Classified Ads
Contact Us & More
Minnesota Fishing Reports
Articles : Multi-Purpose and Timeless Tip-Up
Posted by LSF on Feb 07, 2013 (1465 reads) News by the same author

Take a peek across the frozen face of any body of water and you’d be hard pressed to not spy a swath of tip-ups surrounding ‘bout every shanty. The fact of the matter is these hands-off tools of the ice-fishing trade play a major part in everyday winter angling.

frabill tipupWith that said, tip-ups aren’t admired like today’s newly-designed ice rods and reels. For instance, on more than one occasion I’ve spotted ‘boards,’ as they’re sometimes called, haphazardly tossed into my buddies’ five-gallon buckets. All are bonded together by a wayward knot so involved you’d never be able to duplicate it again.

And there they stay ‘til sliced apart in spring. What a shame.

Perhaps this lack of appreciation is due to the tip-up’s unsophisticated makeup in comparison to other modernized equipment. But what looks to be just a facelift of the newest tip-ups in town drills well beyond the surface.

Yes, modern- tip-ups, like vintage ones, still sport a free-spinning spool filled with line that sits stationary below the ice. And the apparatus that triggers the spring-loaded arm and flag to alert anglers when a fish strikes hasn’t changed much, either. And neither has the hand-over-hand battle until your quarry is subdued. But the fact of the matter is that contemporary tip-ups yield so many more features and advantages.

Need proof? Take Frabill, the company that puts the ‘ice’ in ice fishing, and their colossal collection of tip-ups. Each has a style and look all its own. But the differences in appearance are more than just a marketing ploy to get anglers to buy more. Each model has a purpose; a time; a place.

Beyond supplementary strikes
Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s Pat Kalmerton and his gang of guides are no strangers to ‘tip-up diversity.’ They’ve been guiding on ice for well over a decade, and their methods of tip-up madness are proof positive there’s a perfect model for every species and scheme.

“Years ago we realized every style of tip-up has its place. Since then, by setting the right model for the conditions and species we’re targeting on a specific day, our clients have landed more fish. It’s as simple as that,” says Kalmerton.

Depending on the weather conditions and the species he’s after, the proprietor of “Wolf Pack Adventures” and his guides choose their weapons wisely.

frabill tipup“But it takes some preparation before I start sending spools down their holes,” Kalmerton adds. “Tip-ups work so well because they are left to do their work without anglers near them, making noise and spooking fish. That’s why I prepare the area we’re going to fish the moment we get there.

“First things first, I fire-up the Jiffy and bore all the holes I can muster. We make all commotion at once, early on, well before daybreak or dusk. This lets everything settle down in time for the peak bite.”

Once holes are drilled and the remaining ice shards scooped, it’s time to set.

Reasons and seasons
Frankly, there are so many styles of tip-ups because there are so many species and unique situations.

Tip-ups for panfish, you ask? You bet. Kalmerton and his posse purposely target crappies, perch and even bluegills with Frabill’s miniaturized Dawg Bone and Spider tip-ups. Both fold and fit into parka pockets and are perfect for hole-hopping when following schools of these smaller-bodied light biters.

They are ideal for panfish because spool tension can be managed so line can be stripped with ease, a tiny tear-drop nipped with a maggot or minnow is about to cause lip fatigue.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, for predator-sized-portions is the Big Foot Wood Tip-Up. The panel of Wolf Pack guides use these heavy-duty devices when their objective is big northern pike. The Big Foot’s large line capacity lets pike run violently and for great distances without maxing-out line, which can lead to break-offs or ‘drops’ when the fish senses excessive resistence.

These beefed-up tip-ups also work wonders when plying the depths for lake trout and other fathom-dwellers. The outsized flag on the Big Foot is easy to spot from a distance, too, so Kalmerton uses them on the outskirts of his tip-up field for quick spotting of a tripped flag.

On days when wind and snow are creating havoc and covering holes, Kalmerton and his cronies set up Pro Thermal Insulated Tip-Ups, which cover up to a 10-inch hole entirely to keep drifts from sealing them shut. Because Pro Thermals are manufactured in different colors, the crew simplifies rigging while on the ice by color coding them depending on line test and their target species – very inventive.

By far and away the most advanced tip-up on today’s market is Frabill’s Calibrator with its multiple digital readouts. It does more than just let you know how deep your bait is in the water column, too; it reveals how far a fish has run after engaging the bait.

Kalmerton flat-out hooks more pike and walleye with the Calibrator. Pike are notorious for swimming several yards after biting the bait, and a fierce hookset is needed to penetrate their Vice Grip-like jaws. The Calibrator lets Kalmerton know exactly how far the fish swam off, as well as when it stops to chew. And because walleye rarely move more than a few feet after the strike, he can guess the species and set the hook accordingly. With walleyes, Kalmerton knows to set the hook with a sweep, rather than a hard jerk. If very little to no line has been unwound from the spool, more than likely the wind tripped the flag or minnow got overly rambunctious, and the rig can be reset without having to pull the bait up and risk killing it.

Thought provoking
While tip-ups may be the most simplistic mousetraps on the ice, thinking through tip-up selection has its rewards.

It’s best to have a few different models within reach. Just watch the weather, and know your target species before you head out.

Other articles
May 16, 2016 - St. Cloud to Host 2017 Governor's Opener
May 05, 2016 - Hot Prices on Meat!!
Apr 29, 2016 - Minnesota State Record Program
Jan 01, 2016 - MN Group Launched Gun Owner Advocacy Organization
Aug 02, 2015 - Mille Lacs Walleye Season Closing


Copyright © 2004-2013 Lake State Fishing P.O. Box 577 Deerwood, MN 56444 612-414-5593
All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners. |  Lake State Fishing |   Login Facebook Page Twitter Page LinkedIn Page YouTube Page