How to Set Up Ice Fishing Tip-Ups

How to Set Up Ice Fishing Tip-Ups
Ice fishing tip-ups are devices designed to catch fish through holes drilled in the ice. The most common type of tip-up is the wooden tip-up. Part of the tip-up supports the entire contraption over the hole, and an "arm" to which a reel of line attaches opens up and allows the reel's submersion in the water. When the reel turns as a fish takes the bait, it trips a flag on the tip-up to stand up, alerting you to the biting fish. You can learn to set up wooden tip-ups and enjoy a day on the "hard water."


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Study the tip-up at home, looking at its assorted features and learn how it works. The typical wooden tip-up has three wooden arms about 15 inches in length. Two of these arms support the tip-up over the hole in the ice. The other holds the reel at one end along with a tripwire that releases the flag. The flag is on the reel arm on a long thin strip of flexible metal. The flag is usually fluorescent orange and attaches to the very end of this metal strip. The end of the metal strip, right above where the flag attaches, has a V shape. The tripwire runs from the bottom of the reel arm to about three-quarters of the way up the arm. At the top is a small catch into which the flag goes. When the reel turns, a piece of metal on the reel moves against the bottom of the tripwire, which then moves the top of the tripwire, releasing the flag so that it will stand straight up, letting you know you have a bite.
Step 2
Open up the wooden tip-up so you can deploy it. When you open up a wooden tip-up, you prepare it to place it over the hole in the ice. You will notice the one piece of wood to which the reel attaches and the two others running parallel to it. Push those two pieces up so that they combine to form the shape of a cross with the reel arm.
Step 3
Tighten by hand the wingnut that holds the lower piece of the two pieces of wood to the reel arm. This will keep that particular piece of wood from moving. Hold the reel arm with one hand and move the top piece of the two wooden pieces until it forms an X with the bottom piece. Tighten the wingnut that holds it to the bottom piece until snug. You should now have these two wooden pieces forming a cross, with the reel arm perpendicular to them.
Step 4
Pull the flag up the reel arm carefully so as not to bend it. Bring the flag up as far as you can until the very bottom of the metal strip it attaches to is about half an inch from the bottom of the metal band near the top of the reel arm that holds the flag in place.
Step 5
Bait your hook after pulling some line off the reel. Most anglers use some sort of minnow or shiners as bait. After hooking the shiner, lower it into the hole drilled in the ice until you have it at the depth at which you desire it to swim. Keep the entire tip-up at chest height as you do this.
Step 6
Grasp the reel firmly so it cannot turn. Bend the flag and place the notch at its end into the catch of the tripwire. Holding the reel as you do this ensures the reel cannot cause the tripwire to move, which in turn would release the flag.
Step 7
Move your hand to where the flag strip meets the notch of the tripwire. Hold the tip-up here as you lower it over the hole in the ice. This prevents the flag from coming out of the catch on the tripwire and setting the tip-up off. Place the tip-up over the hole, putting the reel in the water as the two wooden pieces forming a cross support the tip-up and keep it from falling through. Your tip-up is ready for action.

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