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Ice Fishing Articles by Noel Vick with On Ice Tour

Light’s on, Heat’s on, and this Puppy’s Moving
Noel Vick with On Ice Tour

Oh, the good old days… Chip and Tommy reminisce about afternoons-spent ice fishing from a wood heated shanty. Toasting by the stove. And that march out to the fish house; pulling the Radio Flyer; carrying buckets of gear; shuffling through drifts of snow. Such fond memories…

"Wait a minute…maybe it wasn’t so great after all," says Tommy. "My hands and feet were always cold and I went home smelling like burnt wood."

Chip adds, "Yeah, and you were always underdressed or overdressed. Not to mention the fact that holes were constantly freezing over."

Lucky for these guys, the dark ages of ice fishing are long gone. Modern ice anglers are fortunate to have equipment that keeps their environment warm, well lit, and on the go.

The Right Ice Fishing Shelter

A home is the single largest and most significant purchase you’ll ever make. In ice fishing, the same goes for procuring a portable shelter, and the choices are many. On Ice Tour employs "mobile ice fishing shelters". Not portables, suitcases, framed tents, or foldables. Mobile ice fishing shelters. Here’s our checklist:

  1. It has to be able to move from spot to spot at a moment’s notice.
  2. When collapsed, it has to double as an equipment-carrying sled.
  3. The sled needs to be durable.
  4. Easy to pull by man or machine.
  5. You need to be able to get in and out of it quickly.
  6. Its shell must be made of pliable material that breathes (doesn’t sweat).
  7. Built-in seating is required.

You’re probably thinking that either we’re too picky, or that a shelter which meets so many demands simply doesn’t exist. Wrong on both accounts. The Fish Trap is to ice fishing what the Remington 870 is to hunting: durable, reliable, lightweight, and the best in its class.

Ice fishing legend, Dave Genz developed a mobile ice fishing shelter that meets the previously stated provisions. And now the classic has two bigger brothers, all of which maintain the signature blue profile.

Tips for Using the Trap

Why shovel all the way down to the ice before erecting a fish house? Your wasted work results in excessive slush, percolating water, and subsequently an iced-in shelter. Instead, pick your spot, snow or no snow, drill your holes, and set the Fish Trap in place. It works.

Marking or pre-spacing holes before drilling is a room saver. Leave space for a lantern, heater, flasher, second hole, etc.

If wind is a factor, turn the Fish Trap’s backside (as seated) directly into it. And when temperatures aren’t sinister but the wind is – typical early and late ice scenario – flip your Trap back to the halfway position and use it as a windbreak.

Towing? Chip and Tommy regularly pull their Traps with a snowmobile or ATV. Coleman Deluxe Links – similar to climber’s quick-clips – are perfect for fastening a Fish Trap’s hand rope to the back of snow machine. The boys add bolted eye-hooks to the sled’s trailering end so they can link several Traps together and travel caravan style. To solve the recurring problem of having your Trap come sliding into the snowmobile upon deceleration, Fish Trap manufacturer, USL Products, makes the Snow Tote Hitch.

Heat on the Go

What’s wrong with conventional heat sources? Here’s a list of common complaints:

  1. Too big and too heavy.
  2. They produce dangerous carbon monoxide while robbing a fish house of oxygen, and they’re too heavy, and they’re too heavy.
  3. Impossible to light, and they’re too heavy.
  4. Exposed flames are hazardous and they easily singe fishing line, and they’re too heavy.
  5. Leaking propane gas and liquid fuels are dangerous and difficult to detect until it’s too late, and they’re too heavy.

"LOSE WEIGHT NOW! ASK ME HOW!" We’ve all read the florescent signs stapled to power poles. Well, Chip and Tommy have also figured out a way to free themselves of unwanted bulk. They leave 20-pounds of propane cylinder back on the patio grill.

Go ahead and treat yourself to one of Coleman’s new portable heaters.

The amazing BlackCat series of heaters solves the aforementioned problems. They’re compact, lightweight, self-igniting, and safer than any other portable heater. The BlackCat’s catalytic technology provides flameless warmth, which is powered by a disposable cylinder. The PowerCat, new for 2001, also circulates air with its electric fan!

Light Up My Life

Your shelter is lightweight and mobile and so is its heat source. Lighting must fall in line.

There isn’t an ice angler or outdoorsman in North America who hasn’t owned or least been the beneficiary of a Coleman lantern; the timeless green appliances are icons, and they still get the job done. But again, through the good fortune of progress, there are improved alternatives.

Coleman’s NorthStar lanterns are the reigning kings of the night sky. Brighter than the stars, the powerful Northstar Electronic Ignition Propane Lantern runs off the same cylinder as your PowerCat. Its revolutionary Insta-Clip tube mantle, which mounts from top and bottom, is far more durable and easier to install than conventional mantles. And oftentimes the NorthStar’s own heat is sufficient to keep a Fish Trap toasty.

But there’s more…

A reliable backup to the NorthStar – if you should run out of propane – is the 4 D Pack-Away Lantern. It’s bright, as expected, collapses to half of its original size (easy to pack), and runs on alkaline batteries (no messy fuels).

Just as important to Tommy is his headlamp. No finger fumbling when this winter angler ties on jigs after sunset. Powered by only 2 AA batteries, Coleman’s Floating Head Lamp provides pinpoint illumination while keeping your hands free.

We’ve suggested products for sheltering, heating, and lighting on the ice. And in no single instance was mobility sacrificed. It seems that your children’s future memories of ice fishing trips will be warmer, brighter, and probably involve more fish.

On Ice Tour is an intensive effort directed at expanding the sport of ice fishing. Cofounders Chip Leer and Tommy Skarlis offer public seminars and kid’s clinics; appear at in-store events; exhibit at sport shows and ice fishing competitions; broadcast a weekly radio show and conduct hands-on product demonstrations. On Ice Tour produces an annual ice fishing publication (On Ice), and they can be found on the Internet at www.onicetour.com

This Fishing Article is brought to you by Noel Vick with On Ice Tour
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