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As the season approaches and the snow flies, I'm always looking to find additional doodads that make ice fishing more comfortable in my portable.

Found this cool item: a bucket seat cover that rotates silently. Gotta bring buckets anyway, might as well make 'em useful and comfortable to sit on in the process. I've already lost two lawnchairs and one of those little tripod chairs from stress caused by the uneven ice surface so am done with those.

http://www.cabelas.ca/product/14942/ht-polar-bucket-camo-swivel-seat <-- Edit: Now with 100% more corrected links and prices in Canadian dollars!

If anyone in the Saint John area is interested in ordering one along with me to split postage or something, let me know.

Are people finding any other neat little gadgets or have any little tips or tricks to make their ice fishing experiences easier?
 

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That is a cool seat. I have one I bought some years back that does not rotate and was more expensive then that - good price!

I recently sold my clam pop-up shelter and pull-behing sleds and bought a clam nanook shelter:
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And an old snowmobile to tow it. I`m done with walking in deep snow! haha. Maybe I`ll post pics when build is complete, but I`m putting a power auger mount and rod / scoop holder on it.

I bought a vexilar flasher I found on kijiji last year and used it for the season and I cannot imagine fishing without one now. It`s much better then a fish finder, and knowing there is fish there interested (but not biting) has greatly increased my catching. I was intimidated at first not knowing anything about them let alone seeing one in use or using myself. But I could not believe how easy and intuitive it is to use, and noticed a big difference in my fishing success right away on my first trip out last year with it. Simply switch lure to something until they bite... better then simply jigging hoping something will hit. You can even see them come up for the lure to bite so you can predict when to set hook (right away) and so you don``t miss as many fish. You can easily ``scan`` hole to hole to see if fish are present.

If I only had an auger rod and reel and a couple lures, and could only afford one more gadget, I would buy a flasher over anything else - shelter, heater, power auger, even sled.

vex-gp1812.jpg
 

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Just a note that the price in the initial link was for US only. They're 12 bucks, plus shipping, which still isn't too bad at all. Canadian Tire has a fixed one for $20. If anyone sees them at a local store, please post to let us know.

Thanks for the tips on the flasher, sdavis. Wasn't familiar with them myself, and found this article to read up on them. http://vexilar.com/info/how-to-ice-fish-with-a-vexilar-flasher-article/

They strike me as more of a tool for larger fish than for the swarms of smelt we get in the brackish water down here and that seem to move around a lot. Is that right?

Thinking about getting an underwater camera system myself for those. Something small like this that would go into the kayak during the summer might be the ticket: http://www.cabelas.ca/product/60262/aqua-vu-micro-ii-underwater-viewing-system.

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I know there's smartphone versions that bluetooth to the phone display but they're almost as expensive and I'd rather keep my smartphone packed safely and as far away from the water as possible. From what I've heard, Newton's Fourth Law is "if there's a hole in the ice, your smartphone will be instantly and irrevocably attracted to it". ;-)
 

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I think having a camera would be an obvious step up from a flasher, as you can potentially see beyond the hole as well if pointing the camera sideways. I have not used one personally however. Strangely enough most camera systems are cheaper then flashers, so there is some benefit there as well!

The flasher will pick up very small fish / objects. I usually have the settings so I can see my tiny 1/8 ounce jigs on the flasher! and you can go even more sensitive. I have not used it in a smelt fishing situation so I have no idea what a school of fish would look like on it. But it would certainly pick it up. It uses sonar afterall, same as a fish finder. Just the display is much more simple / sensitive and easier to read then a fish finder. Some new fish finders have a flasher display option, but I have not tried any of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Two advantages of a flasher: it can shoot "through" the ice, whereas a camera requires a drill to get to water before it's of any use, and it works at night.

Given the ice was almost two feet thick last year with that crazy winter, I think I'd appreciate knowing that there were fish there before I drilled if we happen to get a repeat cold-season performance. :)
 

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fish cameras usually have infra-red led lights on them that only the lens picks up so you can shoot at night or in dark without any visible light to scare fish. Same system as wildlife cameras or car back-up cameras, or security system cameras. you can check the camera specs before purchase to see if they include - or otherwise inspect the lens itself. If it includes infra-red lights you will see a row or more of what looks like LED bulbs in a ring around the lens, or at either side or above/below.

True about being able to shoot through the ice, but only works on ice directly so you still have to shovel ice surface clean of snow, and ice needs to be solid without bubbles, which may be impossible in most cases, especially at mid to late season where top layers of snow/slush have formed into 'bad' ice.
 

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Aah, cool, didn't know to look for that.

Jim, can you post a short review of yours? Interested in comparing sizes, prices, brands and such, what works and what doesn't, etc..

The model I posted above does have infrared lighting, triggered automagically by light levels. Think I'm-a gonna have to get one, just because. :)
 

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retroboy the one from the link you posted says in the description there is automatic IR lighting included around the lens.
 

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My buddy has a fish tv camera do-hickey. They're the cat's meow, that's for sure! We used it last year to locate a fishing rod and our ice chipper that both went down the hole. Pulled them up with my rare earth magnets, and then messed around with the smelts. Here's a video of us attempting to smelt fish with it. Note: Had we not had the fish tv, we would have thought there were absolutely no fish that night.


I am sooo getting an Aqua-vu micro II!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you do, keep the receipt because here's the rebate form for the free case and car charger. http://www.aquavu.com/FORM-01-WEB.pdf

I'm thinking you won't get the same quality as the youtube video you posted, but something that gives you a look under the ice sure is a lot better than nothing and just guessing.
 

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Stroover, very nice footage. lots of fish around the 1:22. 3:40 fish is interested.

Think i know what my next toy is...

VE9WH, you'll have to come down this year to the shack.
 

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These seem like a neat idea, probably easy to duplicate for anyone with access to heavy tooling machinery and some scrap metal..

$_12.JPG


A pic of how they're deployed is available here: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Ice-fishing-shanty-fish-house-anchor-Secures-your-portable-in-place-4-PACK-/390764758779?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5afb6506fb

Instead of the pain of screwing in ice anchors, drill a 6" to 10" (for those pictured, at least) auger hole partway down and then insert one of these and open it. The teeth grip the ice and form an anchor that's probably a lot faster to remove and add. Hmm... wonder if I can kludge something like this together...
 
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