Can You Use A Regular Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing? (2021)

Can you use a regular fishing rod for ice fishing? Yes you can. Should you use a regular rod for ice fishing? No you should not. Let me tell you why is that.

An ice rod increases the probability of your catching fish and also the comfort. So, if you plan to ice fish a lot, getting ice fishing rods will always be the suggestion.

Can You Use A Regular Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing
Can You Use A Regular Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing

A Detailed Discussion

Winter is coming and so is the white walkers, or at least for the cold-water fishes. Ice fishing is an ever so popular activity and surprisingly still increasing interest among the angler community. It’s one of the big excitements of the season for people like us and its already time to gear up.

The evergreen question

Along with the growth of the ice fishermen community, confusions of the newbies are evergreen (unlike the season of course). People new to ice fishing always ask themselves (and others) if they need an ice fishing rod. If you are one of them, then congratulations; we got you covered.

The truth

The truth about this is, you can catch fish with anything. But like every other thing, ice fishing with regular rods have its pros-cons. So, to answer the titular question, let’s dive deep in. (see what I did there?)

Ice Fishing with A Regular Rod

To get yourself the answer, I suggest you try fishing with a regular rod first. You can go through your beginners’ phase that way. There is nothing better than some good old fashioned not-so-pleasant experiences.

It would take some time to master your way through the ice. Some hard times, if you know what I mean. But once you get the hang of it, you should understand what you did wrong. Or more precisely, why you should invest in ice fishing rods (and reels) as an angler.

Assuming you have went through that rough terrain, let’s get into the pros and cons:

Pros of Using A Regular Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing

  • Easier to catch big fish. Longer rods provide the extra legroom to pull bigger and stronger fishes like walleye. Gets you extra leverage.
  • Gives the longer distance needed between the hole and angler for wary fishes that need casting (which you mostly won’t need in ice fishing). So those fishes do not feel your presence.

Cons of Using A Regular Fishing Rod for Ice Fishing

  • Uncomfortable using a small hole. The first and foremost lesson you’ll learn doing this that’ll make you wish you had brought a shorter pole. It is really hard to fish with such long rods in holes that are roughly six-seven inches wide.
  • Lacks the sensitivity needed for sluggish cold-water fish. As in ice water, the movement of your target is mostly slower, smoother, and hard to detect. They will bite off your bait without leaving any traces or making you notice. It is even harder with longer open water rods.
  • Lacks the backbone to pull from a hole in the ice. Regular rods usually don’t have the strength and mass distribution needed for angling cold-water fishes like walleye or lake trout. The sweet combination of sensitiveness and sturdiness is missing in these blanks.
  • Uncomfortable to fish from ice fishing shelters. In the limited space of your cramped ice shelters, you’ll find it harder to fish with a regular length rod.
  • Jigging is harder. Ice fishing needs precise jigging than whatever the hell you do in regular fishing. And you’ll find that regular rods are not ideal for this kind of artistry (which jigging in ice fishing is).

More cons than pros? Huh! Does that bother you?

Well, of course. It should. Not to be more biased than the subject already is, but if it doesn’t hurt your pocket, it’s time you look for an Ice fishing rod.

Why You Should Buy an Ice Rod?

Why you would buy an ice rod you ask? After all this? Well there’s no shame in seeking knowledge and we are here for you. It’s better you know what advantages ice rods gives you.

1) Better Suitable for an Ice Hole

Remember the problem you were having with long rods on a small hole? Well, now the problem is gone. Ice rods are perfect in length to put on a six-inch hole.

Ice rods are generally 24-36 inch in length and should definitely up your fishing game. It’s easier to see the tip movement too.

2) Sturdy Yet Sensitive

Ice rods solve the backbone and sensitivity problem found in regular rods. These two are odd couples and generally not found in just anything. That’s where ice rods come in.

Ice fishing rods are specially made to meet these criteria. They are stronger and got the mass distribution just perfect. So, you won’t have a problem with your pull or jig.

They are also made sensitive so that you can feel your fish through handle. Graphite rods and Fiberglass blanks are top choice for this nowadays. They also include a sensitive tip to detect bites.

3) Perfect for Fishing from Shelter

If you don’t want to be cold or just enjoy fishing from your shelter, use a goddamn ice rod. These are just perfect for use in limited space. You’ll find casting, pulling and jigging the bait much easier.

4) A Brush to the Jigging Art

Jigging in ice fishing is very important and a subtle art. You can’t just do whatever you do. And an ice fishing rod gives you all the control you need.

Jigging with regular rod ain’t precise. You may lose more energy still getting chaos in the name of jigging. Detecting a bite through the tip becomes less likely. An ice rod solves all of this.

That’ll be most of the important things you need to know. Now you know that you need an ice rod and also why do you need an ice rod. And ice rods are not even that expensive.

Final Verdict

Sure, you can use a regular fishing rod for ice fishing. And you will angle fish no matter what. Just like the old-fashioned way. But there are some serious issues with it that needs to be solved for a modern-day angler like you and me. 

A special thanks to fishingduo.

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