How do I Rig an Ice Fishing Tip-Up?

How do I Rig an Ice Fishing Tip-Up?
How an angler rigs her tip-ups for ice-fishing outings will depend upon the species she targets through the ice. In addition to the line the tip-up requires, other pieces of terminal tackle will be part of the mix, including swivels, leaders, weights and hooks. Rigging the tip-up correctly often means the difference between an outing being memorable because of a prize catch or being memorable for the one that got away.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ice fishing tip-up
  • Braided nylon or dacron line
  • Barrel swivel
  • Leader line
  • Hooks
  • Split shot
Step 1
Spool a braided nylon or Dacron ice-fishing line onto your tip-up. Tie an arbor knot with the braided line around the tip-up's reel, and carefully hand wrap the line evenly in a clockwise direction. Otherwise, when a fish bites and pulls the line off the reel, the reel will not turn after its trigger mechanism encounters and catches on the flag-tripping device. Select a 20 to 30 lb. test line for fish such as bass, but choose heavier tests---up to 40 or 50 lbs.-for bigger species, including lake trout, salmon and pike.
Step 2
Attach a barrel swivel to the line using an improved clinch knot. The barrel swivel rotates, reducing the chance of line twist. Tie on a braided steel leader when you target fish such as large pickerel and northern pike. Their sharp teeth can easily chew through a regular monofilament leader. The steel leader, attached via an improved clinch knot to your braided line, eliminates the possibility of these fish biting through your line.
Step 3
Tie about 3 feet of leader onto your barrel swivel when you fish for species such as crappie, bass, walleye, trout and perch. Use fluorocarbon fishing line to make it nearly impossible for the fish to see the leader as it goes into your hook. You can also use regular monofilament or opt for regular braided line as well. A Trilene knot works best with a fluorocarbon leader, while the improved clinch knot will suffice for other types of leaders.
Step 4
Tie your hooks onto the leader, using a knot appropriate for the type of line you chose. The hook size and type again depends upon your target species. Crappie and bluegill anglers typically will use the longer Aberdeen hook, making it easier to unhook the fish after they catch them. A size 4 bait holder hooks work well for most other species. The extra barbs on their shafts help hold a shiner in place.
Step 5
Pinch a split shot closed around the line as close as 4 to 5 inches from the hook. This added weight helps to keep a lively shiner from swimming back up to the top of the hole once you deploy the tip-up. Use smaller split shots for smaller minnows and larger ones for bait as large as chubs and golden shiners.

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