Line Up For Ice FishingBy Bob Jensen - December 1, 2013
Back in the day, we used the same line for ice-fishing that we did for open water fishing. It coiled and curled and was hard to use in cold weather, but it was all we had. Then some folks started to make line specifically for ice-fishing. It was so much easier to manage. Now we have several lines with different characteristics so you can choose the line that best fits your needs. In fact, some anglers use two different lines on the same rod to get the exact features they're looking for.
First a bit about the different lines. Ice lines made of monofilament are manageable, reliable, and least expensive. They have some stretch so hooksets and sensitivity aren't quite as good. Bionic Ice-Fishing Line would be a good example of a mono designed for ice-fishing.
Lines made from fluorocarbon are tough and pretty much invisible to the fish. Bionic Ice Fluorosilk is a fluorocarbon line made for ice-fishing that does a great job.
Braided lines such as Bionic Ice Braid have no stretch and are really tough. Braided lines are easier to see, and some anglers believe this added visibility can spook the fish. Braided lines are also more expensive than mono or fluorocarbon.
Panfish under the ice can be very finicky. They'll come in and look and look, and if anything is wrong, they're gone. Mono or fluoro in a small diameter, say two or three pound test attached to a tiny bait is the way to go for these guys.
Sometimes you'll find walleyes, crappies or perch in deep water. You'd like to use mono for the low visibility, but mono stretches quite a bit, so you'll miss some hooksets in deep water, and line that stretches isn't as sensitive. This is when you use two different lines on one rod. You spool up with braid, then tie a small swivel to the end of the braid. To that swivel you tie a twelve or sixteen inch piece of mono or fluoro in the appropriate size. By doing so, your lure is attached to a mostly invisible piece of line so spooking the fish isn't a concern, but you still have the sensitivity and hooksetting ability of braid. I've done this quite a bit and it works well.
Ice-fishing is getting more and more refined, and ice-anglers are getting more and more successful. If you keep these ideas in mind when you "line-up" your ice rods and reels, you'll be more successful too.