Boy has ice fishing changed over the last 50 yrs. As a youngster I would get taken to a lake in the winter time packed with a couple spool of line and some hooks/sinkers in my coat pocket, a couple dogwood twigs (for set lines), a minnow pail with a few minnows and a hatchet to cut my holes with. Everything was released to “chance”, I just walked out, started chopping a hole that would start off being 3′ in diameter and after going through 2′ of ice I would finally break-through and my hole would be about 4″ in diameter at the bottom. Did I get splashed cutting through, you bet! Twigs would be set up by angling their tips just over the hole, the base would be packed with slush and snow that would instantly freeze and I would drop my line to the bottom with a live minnow and lift it up just a bit and proceed to make a couple half-hitch loops on the end of the twig. That was my set up. Sometimes I caught fish, sometimes I didn’t. I was too cold just standing on the ice to even think of chopping more holes with my hatchet.
Later I invested in a manual auger which gave me a 6″ diameter hole which was amazing and if I didn’t get bits on my 2-set twigs I would cut a couple more holes further away and move to there…wow!
Today I use a StrikeMaster battery-powered auger that enables me to cut holes whenever I want with ease and no messy fuel!
I fish from a comfortable hut with a heater and I have “underwater eyes” with my Raymarine electronics like my Element Ice Fishing Kit! What “game-changers”.
I can see my bait/lure and any fish that swim under me in both a classic “fish-finder screen” or “A-scope” real-time flasher screen. this lets me manipulate my presentation to make them respond and strike. If I don’t see fish, I simply move in comfort and cut as many holes as I need to until I find fish. Do the improvements in ice fishing technology make us more comfortable and helps us catch more fish? You bet!!