Ice Fishing Tackle ice fishing sled

Published on April 15th, 2018 | by The Iceman

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Do you need a sled for ice fishing?

Do you need a sled for ice fishing? It sounds like the sort of question a significant other might ask when you start purchasing even more fishing gear. It is also a question you hear from a lot of people new to ice fishing though.

There is a real difference between what you need and what you might want. A lot of tools like the ION 19150 Ice Auger are really good and can help totally transform your fishing, but the fact is that you can ice fish without a power auger or even an auger at all. There are people who still chip a hole through the ice with a spud bar.

Ice sleds and equipment

I started ice fishing many years ago. At the time I had a single short rod, some ice fishing jigs, and a five gallon bucket to sit on. That was it. I didn’t have proper insulated boots or a flasher or anything else. It was just me, my rod, my jigs and my bucket. And I still caught fish by the dozen.

ice fishing sled packed

Nowadays I am much better equipped. I take an ice fishing shelter, a lithium ion power auger, a flasher, a minnow bucket, seats, portable heaters, food and more out on the ice with me when I go out on the ice. It would be tough carrying all of this without a sled. I usually fish with a partner. Even with us sharing a lot of things such as the shelter and auger, we still pack two sleds to the top on almost every outing.

I’m still not up to the level of the guys who have ice fishing trucks that pull specially designed ice houses that double as trailers and access distance fishing holes with the use of snow mobiles or air boats. I do ice fish all over the United States but I access all of the places I fish by foot, even if my feet are covered by a nice pair of Nationplus Boots.

Do you need a sled?

So, to answer the original question: do you need a sled for ice fishing? No, not really. Once you get into the sport you will probably accumulate some ice fishing accessories though. One of them will probably be a sled. It is the only accessory that can help you carry other accessories.

Ice fishing sleds don’t cost much either. Why not shell out a few bucks for a plastic sled to pull behind you on the snow if you can spare the money? What else will help you that much for the same amount of money? You might even be able to find a kid’s sled laying around somewhere for free. They don’t have the same high walls as purpose built ice fishing sleds, but they are better than nothing.

Dragging an ice fishing sled can also help with safety. Not only can ice fishing sleds be used in some bad situations to help you or others around you, but they are also easier to carry things in. That means you might be more likely to bring a flotation device or a long piece of rope with you out of habit without worrying that either will burden you. Those are very good things to have if things ever go sour, but I hope that you and I never need them.


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