Many people are interested in ice fishing, but in my experience, as soon as they learn about precautions they need to take and ice fishing gear they have to buy, they quickly lose their interest. Few that remain interested despite the difficulties, still struggle with having to do so many different things. Even though it can be exhausting, taking time to get proper ice fishing gear can be crucial. Theoretically, you could get away with having little or no ice fishing gear, except for rod and reel combo of course, but it will be miserable and exhausting. I am believer in gearing up for ice fishing, even if that means spending hundreds of dollars on it. The most important ice fishing tool of all, in my opinion, is ice auger. There are few things you should know if you want to make a wise choice.
There are three different types of augers that you can buy: manual, that requires your physical labor to make holes, gas-powered, that is motorized and runs on fuel, and electric, that runs on battery. Because of many factors, mostly considerably lower price, hand augers are the most popular type of them all. I have hand auger myself. I bought it because i could not justify spending few hundred dollars on automating a task (making holes in ice) that i don’t even spend that much time on. If i was the kind of person who likes to move around and create lots of holes, then i might’ve considered it. Except for being more mobile and more dependable than motorized counterparts, manual augers are also quieter, which is huge advantage, because lots of noise scares away the fish. Most hand augers cost around 30$ – 50$, which is very reasonable sum. Youi should also get and keep extra replacement blades, just in case something goes wrong. Keeping the blades of your manual auger sharp is also very important. Blades that aren’t sharp take much longer to make a hole, thus wasting your energy. The only disadvantage of using hand augers that i can think of, is the physical labor. I won’t lie, making holes all by yourself is very demanding, but if you’re physically fit, it’s not a big deal. You can also choose the spots carefully, so that you won’t have to make lots of holes over and over again.
If you are the kind of person who changes spots a lot and moves around the lake, electric and gas powered augers will definitely be good fit for you. Sure, they cost few hundred dollars at least, but in the long run, the time and energy they save you is worth much more. As much as we, manual auger owners like to praise our simple augers, there is no doubt that effortlessly making holes with automatic augers is very attractive prospect. One big disadvantage is that, just like anything that is high tech (at least compared to manual augers), automated augers can break down and you’ll need to somehow repair them. In my opinion, having both – manual and automated ice augers is the best option of all. You get the best of both worlds. You should search for some extra opinions on this topic though. I suggest reading this tutorial.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing manual or automatic augers is the width of the blade. You should choose a size depending on the weight and type of fish you’re trying to catch. Holes that are about four inches wide are more than enough for most small species, but if you’re aiming for larger ones, consider getting auger that is at least six inches wide. On the other hand, larger holes won’t hurt your chances with small fish, so at the end of the day, i think it’s wiser to get wide blades, so that you’re prepared for both – large and small fish.
It goes without saying that taking care of your auger should be your first priority. Normally, blades get rusty quickly, but with proper protection and care, you can avoid most of such headaches before they occur.