Do expensive ice rods catch more fish?
For a few years now, the ice-fishing market has been hot with lots of new high-end rods. But why should someone pay that kind of money for a high-end rod when they’re already catching some fish with what they have?
At one time, my thinking was similar – how many more fish am I going to catch just by getting better rods? Just put a high-end rod in your hand out on the ice, paired with a quality reel matched to the proper line and lure size, and it doesn’t take long until you are hooked. The added feel you get from these lightweight setups gives you better bite detection and can definitely help put more fish on the ice.
A question I often hear is, “What is a good all-around rod that I can use to fish for crappies, sunfish, perch, and walleyes?” Well, that rod really doesn’t exist. Some rods are more versatile than others, but you are usually sacrificing either weight, sensitivity, or the ability to adequately fight a big fish. When the bite is hot and the fish are crushing your lure, any rod could work, but these bites are few and far between.
To fish most effectively when the bite slows, you will want to match your lure to the rod to give you the best feel. Use too heavy of a hook and the rod will be preloaded, meaning your rod tip will be weighted down, giving you less control over the lure you are using. On the other end, use too heavy of a rod and you don’t get a good feel for the lure, which makes light bite detection extremely difficult.
Another question I often hear is, “These rods are so expensive, why don’t they come with a reel seat?” Simple answer is balance and weight. By eliminating the reel seat, the weight of the handle is reduced, and you can also place your reel where you prefer to give you the best feel. Depending on personal preference, there are many different tapes or bands that can be used to securely fasten a reel to the handle. On some of my rods I use bands, and on others I use electrical tape.
High-end rods are pricey for a reason. They are built using top-of-the-line components to reduce weight and to increase sensitivity. Titanium recoil guides, custom-designed fiberglass and carbon fiber blanks, and specialty handles are assembled to give the ultimate feel and appearance.
I personally employ seven different rod types, depending on the fish I am targeting and the type of lures I will be using. From super-ultra-light noodle rods to heavy-action rods and everything in between. Each rod that I use is designed to handle the type of lure I’m using, giving me the ultimate control of the lure, superior bite detection, and the greatest ability to handle the fight of the fish I am targeting.
No matter what fish I am targeting I usually have at least three rods rigged and baited with different lure types ready to deploy. I tend to start out with larger lures to bring fish in, and if they won’t strike, I reduce size to determine what they prefer. If I still can’t get them to bite, I adjust colors or bait types.
How do you pick the right rod to fit your style of fishing? Simple answer would be to contact the company of the rods you are interested in and explain how you like to fish and what you expect out of the rod and they will help with your decision. I have been using Tuned Up Custom Rods for a few years.
Time on the ice may be limited, but by having quality gear, we can help assure that we are productive when we do have a chance to fish.
Good luck fishing and stay safe.