Don’t let an empty bank account keep you from a great hard water outing. These items can make all the difference on tough days, and at under $5 each you can still afford to pack some beverages! Berkley Bucket Rod Holder: A steal at $3.99, I regularly use this rod holder for securing my dead-stick rod when soaking a minnow for walleye, perch or crappie. I highly recommend it.
Depth finder weights are traditionally used to quickly find bottom when setting tip-ups and other stationary lines. I also like to use them to add extra weight to an underwater camera if needed.
Snaps make lure changes an easier process than retying baits. They also don’t constrict lures. In some cases this encourages better action compared to snug-fitting knots. Swivels reduce line twist, which is your worst enemy when trying to get fussy fish to bite.
Team Fin-S-Fish, Gulp! Minnows, or Squirt Tubes, with a small jig head for a great day on the ice. Small profiled plastics will catch panfish, whitefish, walleye, stocked trout and many other species.
Hand warmers can banish the bone-chill in fingertips and let you get back to catching fish. I don’t use these often, but there have been a few times when they’ve saved the day. I often keep a few on me during outings just in case.
Add a glow bead or two before tying on a single or treble hook for a set-line minnow rig. Regularly “charge ” the bead with a lantern or flashlight to keep its luminescence strong. This little addition can help put walleye on the ice in darker waters or after nightfall.