What’s your line for ice fishing?

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There are a few similarities between open-water fishing and ice fishing. Regardless of whether you’re fishing through ice or open water, you’ve got to find the fish; you’ve got to put a lure in front of them, and you’ve got to make them want to eat that lure. Most anglers generally use a rod and reel for ice or open-water fishing, although an ice-fishing rod will usually be shorter.

Of course, you need to have some line on that reel, and you need to attach the line to your lure. When you’re selecting a line to use for ice fishing, it’s important to look for line characteristics that most open-water anglers seldom need to consider.

First of all, remember that in most ice fishing situations, the fish can look at your lure a lot longer than they can when you’re open-water fishing. The lure is sitting right in front of the fish under the ice, while in open water, the lure is usually moving quickly. In open water, the fish doesn’t have time to check the lure out completely. It has to hit the lure before it gets away, so line visibility is not as much of a consideration. Not always, but usually, the fish under the ice have more time to investigate the lure, so your line visibility is more of a factor when ice fishing.

Additionally, cold weather has a tendency to do strange things to line. Lines that are designed to perform well in warm weather behave differently in cold weather. Lines that handle well when it’s warm don’t handle so well when it’s cold.

Don’t forget what the sharp edges of an ice hole can do to line. Weeds and rocks can damage line, but the jagged edges of an ice hole can destroy line. No doubt, for maximum ice fishing success, you need a line that can combat the ice-fishing challenges.

Trilene Cold Weather and Trilene Micro Ice lines from Berkley were developed with ice anglers in mind. Cold Weather line is blue (so it shows up well against the snow) while Micro Ice is clear, making it invisible below the water. Both are easy to handle in cold weather.

A new line that has many ice anglers excited is Berkley FireLine Micro Ice in the crystal color. FireLine has been around quite a while, but the new crystal color hasn’t. Underwater, the crystal color is nearly invisible. FireLine has no stretch, so hook sets are much better.

Of course, there are more things to consider than just your line, but when you have the location of the fish and the lure they want to eat figured out, line becomes very important. Select the line that fits your needs best, and you’re going to catch more fish this winter.

From the Feb. 7-13, 2007, issue

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