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THE ICE TACKLE TAXI

Craft your own ice fishing sled to take you far and wide across your favorite frozen venue.
By J.B. Kasper
Tags: freshwater

You know it is ice fishing time when you look on the thermometer and the mercury is buried in the bottom of the glass, or when you look at the digital thermometer and you think your readout is in Celsius because it’s reading a single digit. If you are an ice fishermen you are counting the days until you have safe ice on your favorite lake or pond. You more than likely have already gotten all your ice fishing gear in order. However, one of the most often over looked item when it comes to ice fishing gear is a means to store and transport it all.

While there are a lot of different ways to transport your ice fishing gear, nothing does it better for the serious ice fishermen than an ice fishing sled. A well built sled will not only store and transport your ice fishing gear, it can also be set up to transport your auger, ice chisel, live bait container, and a whole host of other items, in addition to serving as a warm seat to sit on while fishing on a cold winter day. So here are some tips on how to put together a serviceable sled that will more than meet your needs and tow well on ice or snow.

The first step is to secure the main component-a sled. Picking up a used sled is as easy as a trip to a second hand store, a yard sale or flea market. You might even have one in your garage or attic from your younger days that will fit your needs. Some anglers also make their sleds out of a toboggan. However, a sled makes a good choice for a frame to mount your box on because it sits about six inches off the ground, or in this case the ice, and this has its advantages.

The next item you will need to secure is an old pair of skis. Here too a second hand store or flea market will usually will be your best bet. Fastening the skis to the runners of the sled will give you better stability and will help keep the sled from tipping over. The skis give your sled a better cross section area to slide on and allow the sled to be pulled over top the show instead of having the runners dig into the snow. You can attach the skies to your sled by taking a piece of wood about 6 inches long and routing out a grove down the center of the wood deep enough to fit the sleds runner in. Next place the sled on top of the runners and position the blocks of wood in the front and back of the sled runners and bolt them to the skis.

While there are a lot of different ways to transport your ice fishing gear, nothing does it better for the serious ice fishermen than an ice fishing sled.

Next you will need a box to attach to the sled to put your gear in. Some anglers mount a cooler on the sled or build one out of wood; however a better choice is a heavy duty plastic storage container that can be purchased at most department stores. Choose one that is sturdy enough to allow you to sit on it and one that is long enough to allow you to store your tips ups and jigging rods as well as the rest of your tackle. The box should be shorter than your sled, which will leave you enough room to hold your bait container which can be secured to the sled with a bungee cord.

It’s best to secure your box to the sled with bolts and wing nuts, so you can remove the box for storage when the season is over. All that is needed to secure the box to the sled is to place one bolt in each corner and tighten the bolts down. This will secure the box to the sled sturdy enough to allow you to pick up the sled by the handles on the storage container. You can mount a piece of plywood to the lid of the box to give it extra when you sit on it. You can also section off the inside of your box with plywood dividers to keep your tip ups separate from your jigging rods and other gear. Hangers can be mounted on the sides of your box to hold ice drills, augers or chisels.

Some extras for your sled includes a hot seat to sit on, some hard plastic or metal containers like Bait Pucks to keep meal worms, mousees and other grubs in, and a small cooler that will fit on the leftover space on your sled to hold your minnows. Coolers, because of their insulated walls, bottom and lid offer more protection than a minnow bucket from the wind and cold.

There you have it an inexpensive ice fishing tackle taxi that will transport all your tip ups, jigging rods, ice cutting equipment and other gear, give you an elevated place to sit when fishing and a sled that will slide easily over snow or ice.
Check out more of J.B.’s articles and book him to speak at your next meeting at www.jbkasper-outdoors.com.

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