Carpio, I agree. I started ice fishing in the late 1960's and first ice was never very productive for me. I say "was" because I don't go out on thin ice anymore. (old age does that to you--makes you more cautious) I like to have at least 4 inches and preferably 6 inches. And I never liked really clear ice as it was a spooky feeling seeing the drop-offs and end of weedbeds. I like cloudy or snow on the ice. I don't ice fish as often as I did when I was younger probably because it seems to me that the fishing is not as good anymore but that's anecdotal. Others on here seem to do good but maybe it's all the fancy equipment in use nowadays. It used to be a bucket, a hand auger, a skimmer, a couple of rods with a Skooley plastic reel, and some goldenrod galls to cut open for bait. Tip-ups consisted of a couple of cross pieces with a reel on. I should probably start a thread on the forums for this for I know I'm getting on about a lot of different things.