Ice fishing tip-ups – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison
If you don’t have the time to go through many tip-ups reviews but still want some suggestions for a good product, then our short guide should provide just that. Considering the amount of positive feedback it received from both casual and expert anglers we find that the Frabill 1680 is the tip up most likely to satisfy your demands. Folks who used it found it durable and easy to maintain, “strong enough to last you a lifetime”, to quote one of the reports. The orange flag is easy to see against the ice, and the dual trip mechanism will give you more of a tell whenever a fish bites. The tapered rail design of the plank makes it faster to place over the fishing hole. If the 1680 is unavailable, it’s close cousin, the Frabill 1664 will make for a good alternative.
Our top choices
Finding the best ice fishing tip among the many choices available for sale can prove a chore. To give you a hand, we selected a handful of top scoring products from the dozens we’ve looked at for you to consider.
As a manufacturer of fishing supplies, Frabill has quite a history behind it, and there’s little chance it would risk its good name by delivering a less than viable product. The Frabill 1680 further confirms this general rule of commerce, gaining praise for its sturdiness and good functionality from many customer reviewers.
You shouldn’t let the fact that its base is made of synthetic material instead of steel or wood put you off, since this particularly lightweight piece is sturdy enough to hold to the biggest catch while also maintaining its properties under the constant effect of the sun, humidity and cold weather, while oxidation shouldn’t even factor in as a possibility.
Besides being a lightweight solution, the cut-out construction will make the whole thing easier to handle and carry. The advantage of being able to hold multiple units in one hand shouldn’t be neglected since anglers rarely use only one tip-up per fishing session.
The mechanism also comes pre-lubed for sub-zero temperatures, and the metal parts are thin enough to resist flexing in the strong wind. A bright orange was chosen for the flag, which will make it highly visible even through fog and heavy snow.Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.99)
This one’s for the purists that appreciate a good old hardwood design and are willing to pay a couple of extra bucks for it. The base is made of dense wood, fully furnished to give it a nice shine and good all-weather resistance.
Hard essence wood is naturally tough and flexible, so it should hold well to the heaviest of northern fish, and at 1.8 lb per unit, you won’t have any difficulties stacking a bunch of these underneath your arm and getting them far away fishing holes.
For easier maintenance and cleaning, the spool shaft is fully removable, and an ultra-glide design was employed to reduce the friction. It already comes lubricated with Frabill’s patented sub-zero solution, so you won’t have to waste any time for initial preparations. Thanks to the shaft in shaft design, it will be easier to re-oil when necessary.
Like the slightly cheaper 1680, it also features dual trip settings for better functionality, and the flag is a bright orange, easy to see from a couple of hundred yards on bad weather. Wind shouldn’t pose much of a problem, as the narrow flag shaft cuts cleanly through the air.Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.85)
It also offers some highly useful features, like the spool tension being fully adjustable, so you can use it with any species of fish, no matter how small.
While the cross-shaped base does cover a wide area when deployed, making it more stable and harder to be tipped under strong winds, its arms can easily be removed without any tools as they are connected with butterfly nuts to the main shaft.
The body is almost exclusively synthetic material, which cuts down on the weight quite a lot with only a small decrease in sun and cold resistance as opposed to steel. This will make for fewer trips to your favorite fishing spots since you will be able to carry more tip-ups in one go.
This product’s remarkably low price really opens it up to be bought in bulk, and since when disassembled will only occupy as much space as a small bundle of twigs, they won’t take to much space in your trunk either.Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.97)
Seeing how its actual functionality is more predicated by what you place at the end of the line rather than the item itself, choosing a good ice fishing tip-up should be straightforward enough, as long as the buyer is decided on how exactly he or she wishes to employ it. Things like how many ice fishing holes you want to “rig” at one particular time, the weather you’ll be expecting or the length of service you desire of the product should all be considered, together with a few other factors.
All fishing tip-ups will perform pretty much the same regardless of cost, but more expensive units should be expected to last you a longer time and be somewhat easier to work with.
Some anglers like to saturate the icy surface of the lake with tip-ups, in the hopes that having more lures under will significantly improve their chances of scoring a catch. If this is closer to your style, then you should definitely consider cheaper and more lightweight models, but if you only operate from 2 or 3 spots at a time, than the increase in durability might justify going for a more expensive unit.
Wood or steel are commonly employed as building materials, and when adequately treated they can stand very well to cold, UV rays and snow while also offering a good deal of tensile resistance.
Needless to say, you should look for steel with good corrosion resistance properties, or just settle for wood if the manufacturer you are considering seems dodgy since a lot of Chinese made products don’t actually employ the type of metal specified on the label.
Thanks to advancements in chemistry, plastic can be made to resist cold and the sun fairly well, while corrosion will never get to be a problem. Plastic is also significantly lighter, so well worth considering if portability is a big issue.
Portability and convenience
Few use only a single tip up, so their weight and size will become major factors when considering that you will be carrying a number of them around on the ice, or in the trunk of your car among a whole lot of other gear.
You should look for compact units that are easy to tie into a bundle, or at least can be swiftly disassemble, so no parts protrude.
As a final note, the flag should be easy to see in low visibility, winter weather. Opticians consider that orange is the best color to facilitate this, so try to avoid the yellow used by some manufacturers.