I spent last weekend at the 12th annual St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sports Show. It was my first show and it won't be my last.
It was neat to see all the new gadgets, gizmos and gear. I had my new rental house there for the public to see. It sure got the traffic. I think a lot of the people who dropped by were hoping for free cheeseburgers, but instead they got jerky and summer sausage.
I didn't bring home a whole lot of merchandise, but I gained a bit of knowledge. One thing I've never tried using in winter is a LCD graph. I always believed a flasher would show me what I wanted to see. But after attending a seminar by a Lowrance salesman I think I've been converted. Not only does the graph show your lure and fish, it has a mapping system that can be used both on ice and on open water. The true test will come in the days ahead, but for now I'm sold!
It's amazing how far ice fishing has advanced in the past 20 years. A lot of what's happened in the industry is due to one man, Dave Genz, the sport's true pioneer/innovator. My Dad bought one of his original one-man Fish Traps when I was a youngster and I inherited it not long afterward. It had a wood floor and white canvas and finally wore out after I'd pulled it down Meadow Lane and Luther Way one too many times. I wished I'd kept it. One day it will be worth a lot more than its original purchase price of $125.00. And I think the white Fish Traps were a little more attractive than the blue ones of today. I guess the color change was made for safety reasons -- blue is more visible than white on ice -- but snowmobiles haven't been out in the numbers we used to see when we got snow. Now watch, we'll get dumped on!
My Dad and his buddy, Tom, came to the show on Sunday. I think they were also quite amazed by how far ice fishing has come, especially since they grew up in the pre-spoon (auger) era. A chisel and a piece of wood with line on it was how they got their start down on Wood Lake. Compare that to the snowmobile that Brian "Bro" Brosdahl fishes from and we're talking major advances.
What's next? Well, there's the jiggin muff, a heated wrap that goes around the handle of a fishing rod, and even a motorized fish house!
Q: Walleyedan, what's the best power auger on the market?
A: Wow, tough question. I've used all three major brands and they all do the trick. Right now I'm using an Eskimo brand auger and it sure is nice.
Good luck on the ice!
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