How to Use Tip Ups

How to Use Tip Ups
Of the two types of fishing equipment that ice fishermen employ to catch fish, the tip up is the one that may confuse a first-time user. A jigging rod is simply a smaller version of a rod and reel used in warm weather, but a tip-up is a device that comes in many varieties. All have the same basic premise, which is to deploy a small flag when the fish bites to let a person know when a fish has taken the bait.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

How to Use Tip Ups

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ice auger Ladle Wooden tip up Bait
  • Ice auger
  • Ladle
  • Wooden tip up
  • Bait
Step 1
Drill a hole in the ice with your auger. Ladle out any ice chips left over.
Step 2
Unfold the arms on your wooden tip up. Loosen the nuts that hold the arms in place and position them so that they form the shape of an "X" before tightening them again. You will see that one arm now supports another perpendicular arm, which has a small reel on the bottom, a flag on the top and a trip mechanism which runs from the reel up the length of the arm.
Step 3
Bait your hook and lower the line into the hole. Set your bait to the desired depth, but make sure it's not sitting on the bottom. By using a heavy sinker on another spool of fishing line, you can measure the water's depth and know how much line is required.
Step 4
Fold the flag down into the notch on the trip mechanism. Be careful to not leave your face over it, as they can release by accident and cause a painful slap.
Step 5
Adjust the trip mechanism so that the small piece of metal that extends from the reel is resting against the bottom of the trip wire. Slide the top of the flag arm into the notch at the top of the trip mechanism.
Step 6
Put the tip up over the hole, positioned so that the two arms support it over the opening. Monitor it carefully.
Step 7
When your flag goes up, walk to the hole carefully so you don't spook the fish. Check to see if the reel is spinning, which indicates that a fish is running with your bait. Double check the line to see if it's extended out under the ice away from the hole, which is another sign that a fish may be on the line, even if the reel isn't spinning.
Step 8
Pick up the tip up as carefully as you can without pulling on the line. Set it down on the ice, and then take the line into your hand and feel for the fish. Set the hook and then bring in the line hand-over-hand, being careful to avoid tangles as it goes onto the ice behind you. This extra is slack to be used if the fish makes a run when it gets to the hole. Bring the fish up through the hole head first.

Tips & Warnings

Practice deploying your tip up at home before you hit the ice, so it will be a familiar process to you, rather than trying to do it for the first time in what may be sub-freezing conditions.
Never go ice fishing alone. Walking on ice can cause accidents such as a serious fall or breaking through thin ice.

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