If you have ever wanted to get into the ancient and often very difficult hobby of ice fishing, then you’re definitely a very brave person. This not only requires skill and a lot of patience, but you’ll need the right equipment for the task at hand.
This is where fishing tip-ups come in handy. These things are designed to sit on top of the hole that you’ve drilled in the ice, quietly waiting there not disturbing the surrounding environment or startling your fishy friends.
These fishing tip ups are made from all sorts of materials, from wood to metal to plastic, each one has a different set of features that will help you to retrieve the largest fish from the deepest ice lakes.
Some of these have sub-zero lubricant and counterweights that make them equally balanced when you are wrestling with a large trout or salmon.
Not only are these utensils invaluable to you as fishing accessories, but they are also very affordable. If regular fishing is not enough for you, then you’ll need one of these tip-ups to help you retrieve your fish from the icy depths.
You’ll need a tip-up that will stick firmly in the ice and not fall into the water, lost forever.
So where can you find one of these ice fishing tip-ups? How much can you be expected to pay for one of these? What features do you need for a really good tip-up?
What is the best material for a tip-up to be made from? How many different varieties of tip-up can you buy and which are the best for your fishing needs?
Well, if you need answers to these questions and a whole lot more, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We have compiled a list of some of the best ice fishing tip-ups that you can currently get on the market, along with a buyer’s guide that will help you decide which are the best for your needs.
This first tip-up is generally considered to be one of the best on the market for ice fishing.
This comes covered in a special sub-zero lubricant that you can be sure will keep your tip-up safe from all sorts of harsh elements.
Not only is this one very secure in the ice, but it is also very stable - introducing the Frabill 1664 Classic Tip-up.
This tip-up uses a solid wire that will plunge very deep into the water.
You won’t have to worry about this tip-up shaking and dislodging when it has been grabbed by a particularly aggressive fish. This has very durable metal spools and cranks that you can use to easily wind in your fish.
- This has special lubrication that will protect the main body of the tip-up from serious damage.
- This has specially designed anti-shake technology that will make sure that your line will not disturb the surface of the water and therefore scare your fish away.
- This has a removable spool shaft, which will help you when adapting your fishing line to various ice fishing scenarios. The environment of your ice fishing will not always be the same.
- You can lubricate this spool, as it contains a spool-in-spool design. This is great for increasing the longevity of this fishing line.
- This can be quite a flimsy design for fishers who want to catch larger fish that like to thrash around.
This next thermal tip-up is specially designed to adapt to the harsher elements, coming with technology that will not succumb to ice damage.
This fishing tip-up is circular, meaning that it will cover up the entire hole, providing you with stability and anchorage for your line - introducing the Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up.
The round design of this tip-up is what makes it so unique, giving you insulation for your hole, which will give you everything that you need for a decent ice-fishing experience.
This will shut out all natural light in the hole that might be one of the warning signs that fish will steer clear of.
- This will completely seal off the hole in your ice fishing, making it virtually undetectable to all fish that are hiding underneath.
- Not only will this block out natural light, but it will stop any snow and slush from blowing into the water, which might also disturb the surroundings and alert the fish to your presence.
- You can rest a 6-gallon bucket on top of this tip-up to give it some extra security.
- Both easy to carry and store, this is a must-have accessory for any ice-fisher who is worth their salt.
- The price - this is one of the more expensive fishing tip-ups, so make sure that you are committed to ice fishing before you buy one of these items.
This next tip-up is one of the more affordable units, with a high-quality construction and a great performance.
This comes with a pre-lubricated setup, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking after repeated usage in extremely cold climates.
This has a shaft-in-shaft design that you can use to adapt it to multiple styles of fishing scenarios - introducing the Frabill 1674 Blackhawk Assault Tip-Up.
- This is a great design that will allow you to grease up the spool and wheel. This is great for increasing the longevity of your device.
- This has wonderful functionality, not only is it amazing for your ice fishing, but it is easy to carry and store in your fishing backpack.
- The price - this is probably the most affordable tip-up on our list. This makes it great for entry-level fishers who might not feel great about spending so much on a hobby they aren’t sure they like yet.
- This has plenty of durability, as well as a great look. The design of this one will ensure stability and great fishing results.
- Some users have reported that this tip-up is not the most sturdy and that they have trouble digging it into softer snow.
This next tip-up is designed to withstand the most extreme conditions.
It comes with anti-lube technology that will allow you to operate all the mechanisms without it jamming in cold conditions.
This is another model that seals the ice completely, blocking out any natural light that might disturb your fish - introducing HT Enterprise PTE-200 Polar Therm Extreme Tip-Up.
- This has a very neat and compact design, with a circular shape that will be very easy to store in your bag without it snagging on any other equipment.
- This comes with an added tackle box that comes designed with a snag-free handle and a patented trip mechanism.
- This can support a 6-gallon bucket, so you can have that extra bit of durability when you’re fishing in windy conditions.
- This comes in a stacked design that will allow you to store and transport this one from one area to another.
- The price - this is another very expensive option, possibly owing to the sheer range of features that this tip-up has to offer.
This next tip-up comes with a freeze-proof design that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for a very decent fishing trip experience.
This has sub-zero lubrication like a lot of our tip-ups, giving you everything that you need for a solid fishing line - introducing the Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up.
- This one has an insulated thermal bottom, so you won’t have to worry about the ice damaging your tip-up.
- This is another circular design that will completely enclose around your ice hole. This will stop any light, sound or snow from polluting your fishing zone and scaring away any fish.
- This has sub-zero lubricant that will stop the device from locking up or literally freezing. This is very important for getting a reliable fish and reeling in a hefty trout or two.
- This comes with a 50 yard line that will enable you to nab fish from right in the very depths of the coldest lake.
- The price - this is another very expensive tip-up, which might not be that appealing to a newbie ice fisher.
This next tip-up comes in a very simple design and comes with a decent price tag to match.
This is made from wood, so it will be very resilient to any damage that might be caused to it in tundric conditions.
This comes with a fishing line that will enable you to roll off easily in vertical spools - introducing the Frabill Stick Tip-Up.
- This tip-up comes with an extra-long spool shaft, allowing you to be able to go even deeper to get those tasty larger fish.
- This spool is designed to work in deeper and more frosted conditions. It has a protective insulated design that will definitely help you to maintain functionality.
- This device can be easily folded up for more compact storage. You won’t have to worry about this one adding too much weight to your gear bag.
- This has a very long flag that will enable you to see it even in the snowiest conditions. This will help if you want to go back to the tent or hut to warm up.
- Some users might find this device a little difficult to figure out, with a construction that might seem a little unstable on the first few uses.
This is another great model from Frabill, with an arctic fire model that uses plastic instead of wood as a main material.
This makes this device all the more durable, allowing you to anchor it properly in the snow.
It is brightly colored and will allow you to find it even in the deepest blizzards - introducing the Frabill Arctic Fire Tip-Up.
- This spool has a wind-up handle that will allow you to quickly reel in any fish that you happen to snag on your rod.
- The price - this is one of the less expensive rods that you can get for your money. Not only is it durable, but you can buy more than one in case it gets carried away by a fish.
- This is made from Polypropylene plastic, which is very resilient to low temperatures, allowing you to wind in your favorite larger fish that might thrash around and break a less well-made rod.
- This comes in a very stable design that you can use to anchor your line in the water without disturbing the water.
- This is one of the cheaper tip-ups, which certainly comes across in some of the construction features.
Next up, we have another tip-up that comes with a circular design that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for a solid fishing line.
This is made from very durable and thermally-protected plastic.
This comes with a long flag that will be easily visible even in the most blizzard-like conditions - introducing StarPike Original Ice Fishing Tip-Up.
- The 12-inch base diameter will really help you to cover most types of holes. Not only will this keep the surface of the water undisturbed, but fish won’t know any difference.
- This comes with a telescopic flag pole that is easy to store and will be very visible to you even when a storm is raging on your ice lake.
- This is a great unit for night fishing, coming in a vibrant red color that will be plainly visible in most scenarios.
- This has all the tackle that you need for stable fishing, allowing you to hook it into the ice and retrieve the fish quickly and easily using a retractable spool.
- This tip-up is not the most durable and some fishers have relayed stories about this one disappearing into the drink at the end of a very aggressive fish’s mouth.
Next, we have a pack of very cheap fishing tip-ups that come with 3 in a pack and are very cheap.
This is definitely the first port of call for any newbie fisher who wants something cheap that they don’t mind experimenting with as they get to grips with ice fishing - introducing the Multi 3 Pack tip Up.
- These fishing tip-ups are easy to install and set up, giving you secure anchoring in the ice.
- Because there are 3 in a pack, you won’t have to worry about losing one on your first fishing trip. Knowing that you have spares will make you more inclined to be adventurous on the ice.
- You can spread more bait over this ice than you would be able to with a regular tip-up. This is great if you want to increase your chances of finding a fish.
- This has a very solid steel design that will enable you to withstand some of the harsher elements that the snow has to throw at you.
- This is cheap and will soon be outgrown by the novice as they search for something a little more durable.
Our final tip-up comes with a solid orange base that is made from durable materials colored visible orange.
This has plenty of motor operation, allowing you to control your spool in many different directions, making it one of the more adaptable tip-ups on this list - introducing the Celsius SBTU-50 Plastic Tip-Up.
- This has a telescopic flag that can be retracted for easy storage. When it is fully retracted, it will be very visible.
- This is a great unit for using in a gale-force wind or snowy conditions where you might not be able to see more than a few inches in front of your own face.
- This has wonderful functionality, allowing you to slide it from one side of the bracket to another.
- This is well lubricated with sub-zero oil. This means that you can use it for much longer, with the plastic and metal components not seizing up or freezing under sub-zero temperatures.
- This might be too expensive for fishers who are first hitting the ice. Sometimes there is such a thing as having too many features.
When it comes to getting a new tip-up for your ice fishing, there will be some attributes that you will absolutely need: resistance to the cold, a decent shape that will cover up the hole, enough properties that won’t disturb any of the fish underneath the surface, foldaway features that will allow you to store it safely.
Here are just a few things that you’ll be looking for when you next look for an ice fishing tip-up:
How Easy Is It To Store?
As you have already seen from some of the products that we’ve listed above, these come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. A lot of them can be folded away and stored in your backpack.
One of the major things that will cause you issues will be trying to keep your gear bag light. With all the rods and other gear that you’ll be carrying, you’ll want an ice fisher that won’t contribute overly to the weight of the bag.
Does It Have Thermal Protection?
Obviously, you’ll be working in sub-zero temperatures, so you’ll need plastic that can withstand freezing temperatures. Often plastic or metal components will be better, although even these have a propensity to freeze on occasion.
Ideally, you’ll want some sub-zero lubrication, which is what you should use to spray your ice fisher. This will keep the mechanism working, allowing you to snag your favorite fish without disturbing the surface of the water.
What Is The Shape Of Your Tip Up?
The shape is very important when it comes to keeping your presence amongst the fish completely secret. Having a circular cover will not only keep your presence a secret from the fish below, but it will prevent debris such as slush and dirt from disturbing the surface of the water, which will also scare your fish away.
How Long Is The Spool?
The length of the line will often determine how low you can sink one of these lines without it causing too much chaos between you and your fish. If you have a lot of distance between you and the end of your line, then the greater the chances are that your fish will take a bite.
A thick spool will also be a lot stronger, meaning that they will enable you to yank harder on the line without taking the whole tip-up with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does A Tip-Up Work?
A tip-up is a stationery line that is put over a pre-drilled hole that will allow you to snag a fish under the icy depths of the water. This should be sturdy and dug hard into the ice. Not only should it be durable, but it should be made from materials that will not succumb to icy temperatures.
You will suspend your line at a specific length beneath the surface of the ice. This way you can be sure that your fish will not be able to detect you as you sit in wait above the surface. You have to make sure that the base is securely fastening to the ice before dropping your line in.