Ice fishing gems from the St. Paul Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show

Dan Zierden holds up a Bobber Buddy. This strike indicator will wake blogger Tim Lesmeister up whenever he drifts off to sleep between bites.

I have been attending the St. Paul Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show since it started, and each year I discover some product gems that I must add to my hard-water regimen. At last week’s show, I saw three must-haves, and each falls into my gadget category of “strike indication.”

The first one that caught my eye was The Bobber Buddy. This is my kind of gadget because I am prone to taking naps while fishing. The Bobber Buddy will awake me whenever a fish takes the bait. The inventors took a piece of wood, cut a groove in it, added some electronics and lighting, and created the perfect strike indicator for sleepyheads like me.

To operate The Bobber Buddy, just slide the top of the slip bobber into the slot and turn on the switch. Leave the bail open on your reel, and when the fish bites, it pulls the bobber out of the holder and an alarm sounds. You wake up and look for the light that has illuminated, grab the rod and reel away. Check it out at

Another great strike indicator perfect for my program is the Firststrike. I build my own tip-downs these days. I just take a rod-holder and screw it to a piece of wood to which I have attached a Frabill minnow bucket bubbler and set the rod into this rig with the drag set low. Fish can pull line without much resistance, but I can notice a bend when a fish strikes. My holes stay open from the bubbler, and I can fight the fish with the rod and reel.

So now the rods I’m using in my holders all have strike indicators on them. The Firststrike attaches to the rod, and when a fish runs with the bait, a flag pops up. It is perfect for my tip-down setups. Check these out at

While I like reeling in fish on my rod and reel, there remain anglers who prefer to hand-over-hand the fish on a tip-up. Both of my sons are tip-up fans, and I’m going to make their Christmas presents a Firehouse state-of-the-art tip-up. The original design for the Firehouse tip-up was an orange safety cone and pieces taken from other tip-ups already on the market. It has changed exponentially, and now it is easily one of the best tip-ups sold today.

It looks like a tiny teepee that, when not in use, collapses into an easily stored cylinder. When opened, you can put the unit over the hole and the hole stays open, and wind is no factor. When a fish trips the system, a circle of lights on the top flash and signals a fish. The flashing lights are highly visible in daylight and after dark. When you tip the Firehouse tip-up off the hole, the spool sits perfectly over the hole and you can let the fish run or pull it in. Check out these amazing tip-ups at

Categories: Blog Content, Ice Fishing, News, Tim Lesmeister

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *