Ice fishing may seem like a simple pastime, but picking the right ice fishing rod can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. If you’re in search of the best ice fishing rods, you’ll need a variety of options. You’re likely to have many different ones based on the kind of fish you’re targeting, the bait or lures you intend to utilize, and the environmental conditions under which you’ll be ice fishing.
Fortunately, with the right criteria in mind, you can narrow down your choices and pick the best ice fishing rod on the market today. So, before you go fishing this winter, check out our ice fishing rods reviews and the key factors you need to consider when shopping for this type of rods.
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Table of Contents
Ice Fishing Rods Reviews
Here is a review of top picks for the best ice fishing rods available on the market today:
1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Ice fishing rod and reel combinations are gaining popularity. A ready-to-go kit is hard to beat when you’re looking for a low-cost approach to get started. The GX2 is one of the finest rod and reel combinations for ice fishing.
Not only is this the most renowned ice fishing combination available but it’s also the preferred option for ice fishermen seeking a simple approach to target a varied variety of species. The indestructible rod blanks for which Ugly Stiks are renowned also have a very sensitive tip that works brilliantly while fishing for panfish.
Shakespeare fulfilled every angler’s need with this product. It’s a lightweight ice fishing rod and reel combination designed for optimal stability in severe weather situations. There are two length options available: 28 inches medium or 30 inches medium heavy. For ice-related applications, the size 20 spinning wheel is the best option available. You may take advantage of the ideal support and stability to easily capture a range of fish species.
The easy-to-hold EVA handles, aluminum spool, smooth draw, extremely sensitive fiberglass tip, and flexible and durable appearance are just a few of this fantastic product’s outstanding characteristics. We suggest this rod to both novice and experienced anglers due to its adaptability in tackling any ice fishing assignment.
A popular choice among ice fishers, this is one of the most advanced models of good ice fishing rods now available. Not only does it have all of the capabilities fishermen expect from an ice fishing rod, but it also has an eye-catching aesthetic appearance to impress you.
2. Fiblink 2-Piece Portable Travel Ice Fishing Rod
Occasionally, traveling to locate a hot bite in frigid conditions is necessary. If you’re not interested in lugging your pricey equipment, you might choose this new Fiblink portable ice fishing rod. Take pleasure in this exceptionally sensitive rod.
The blank is constructed entirely of monolithic E-glassy carbon and is ideal for fishing species such as pike perch and catfish. The stainless-steel guides ensure that the line travels easily and doesn’t get tangled. The handle is a good size and form, allowing you to catch fish easily throughout the day.
It’s a light and delicate carbon composite rod. You’ll have the opportunity to capture perch, walleye, trout, and panfish. Best of all, it has a vintage pistol grip feel that is unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time.
Flexible rod design that works well with walleye, perch, trout, bluegill, and sunfish. The lightweight ice fishing rod is a good option to consider when you’re looking for the best crappie ice fishing rod.
Frames and inserts are made of stainless steel and feature superior technology, a unique design, and a high level of reliability. Additionally, a luxurious thicker cotton gift bag is included for storing and mobility. It’s one of the top-rated ice fishing rods on the market today.
3. 13 Fishing Ice Fishing Rod
This ice fishing rod earns a place in our list of the best ice fishing poles because it’s affordable, lightweight, and well-made.
It has a 3A Portuguese cork handle, that’s ideal for use in sub-zero conditions. Additionally, it has a PC2 (parallel composite construction) made of linear fibers, which results in a flat tip. Why is a flat tip important? It enhances your perception of rising and descending bites.
Additionally, it provides the blank with excellent stiffness for hook-sets. An Evolve reel seat secures the reel in place. Finally, we like the ALPS thin wire guides. These rod guides accumulate far less ice than ordinary rod guides. The 13 Fishing brand provides a range of tickle stick rods, along with a super ultralight rod, a medium-light rod, and more. The rod is 23 inches in length and extends to 38 inches.
The 13 Fishing ice rod is specifically designed for improved ice fishing. The tip is totally flat due to the use of PC2 linear fibers. Ascent and descent bites are more easily detected because of the angler’s increased capacity to perceive the rise and fall of a bite, as well as the added stiffness of the blank.
For visual bite detection, it has a brightly colored tip. It’s designed to assist fishermen in detecting every hit, will elevate your ice fishing experience to new heights.
4. Fiblink Graphite Ice Fishing Rod
This Fiblink graphite-bodied ice fishing rod is available in three different sizes namely 24-inch, 30-inch, and 32-inch sizes.
The 24-inch-long power stick weighs 2.2 lb, the 30-inch-long medium power stick 2.3 lb, and the 32-inch medium-heavy power stick 2.5 lb. Each of the three models has five stainless steel guides.
A plastic seat is affixed to the cork handle. Certain ice fishers prefer EVA rings on the handle because they provide a greater grip. Cork, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring material that provides added comfort and texture. It will come in handy during extended ice fishing excursions.
5. St. Croix Rods Mojo Fishing Rod
For anglers of all skill levels, species, and environments, St. Croix’s Mojo rods are among the best ice fishing rods you can lay your hands on.
You won’t find a more sensitive rod”“or one more suited to slow bites”“than this one, crafted from ultra-stiff, strong carbon fiber. However, bear in mind that, although not as pricey as casting rods, it’s one of the most expensive alternatives we found.
Having said that, you get a great deal for your money. Stiff, sensitive, and strong: these are all terms that apply to the Mojo, and even the timidest hits will be felt with this rod. It also provides exceptional comfort, thanks to a cork/EVA handle that accommodates a variety of grip types.
That’s a premium feature we appreciated since it elevates this rod to new heights. Three stainless steel guides ensure that your line remains cool and abrasion-free.
6. 13 Fishing Widow Maker Rod
With a length of 42 inches of super-strong graphite, the Widow Maker fishing rod from 13 Fishing is a monster-taming rod.
The rod’s backbone is immediately apparent, and it’s an excellent option for larger walleye and ice fish. Additionally, the solid graphite blank is very sensitive, allowing you to feel every push and nibble, and with plenty of stiffness, hooksets are solid even when fishing deep.
You may anticipate a cork handle and a synthetic reel seat, both of which provide just enough room for a fight. We would like to see a little extra cork to accommodate large hands. But that’s not a deal-breaker, and the ALPS guides aren’t just marketing hype; they really work to decrease ice accumulation.
Overall, this is a very good medium power rod, and for hard water fishermen looking for a little more length to help them muscle a behemoth, this is an excellent place to start your hunt for the right rod.
7. KastKing Konvert Twin Tip Ice Fishing Rod
The 27′ KastKing Konvert comes in two different finishes. There is just one difference between these two rods: the blank material. The blank and points of one are constructed entirely of glass, while the other are made entirely of graphite.
The rod is lightweight yet robust. Additionally, it’s very sensitive yet capable of supporting substantial hooksets. Strike tips on graphite fishing rods are bright chartreuse, whereas those on glass rods are orange. These tips allow you to fish in even the most inclement weather. There are five guides for each blank, including the tip.
The rod is equipped with a pencil-shaped cork grip. The handle is compatible with reels and has high-tenacity reel bands.
Each of the bass fishing rods has two distinct tip portions that deliver medium or medium to light action. You get to pick the tip to use based on your preferred rod action and fishing method.
These rods are convenient to pack and carry due to their minor retractability. They may be utilized in ice shelters and huts for fishing. They are packaged in a handy travel box with a transparent storage tube.
8. Shimano Convergence Ice Spinning Fishing Rod
Some of the largest fish that may be found below the ice are trophy lake trout and pike. However, battling a 30-pound laker or a 42″ pike on a panfish rod is a fool’s errand. If trophy fish are your goal, come prepared with a pole capable of handling them.
The Shimano Convergence ice rod is one such rod that is up to the challenge. The 42″ strong power with a rapid action tip is a favorite size for lake trout and pike.
This enables you to drop the large baits required for deepwater colossi. Additionally, the powerful motor provides the strength necessary to force good hook sets and wrestle struggling fish up the hole.
Any decent trophy ice fishing rod must have a deep bend that remains loaded through massive head shaking. The Convergence does a great job with this. Shimano constructed this rod with high-quality materials to match the pricing point. The convergence ice rod is a powerful fish-fighting machine.
How to Pick the Best Ice Fishing Rods
In comparison to conventional fishing rods, ice fishing rods are actually shorter, owing in large part to the sport’s peculiarities.
In contrast to warm-weather fishing, the likelihood is that you’ll be sitting when ice fishing, making a medium to short-length pole simpler to wield since you’ll be seated and therefore closer to the hole.
Also, if you’re going to be fishing in a hut or ice fishing tent, a shorter pole will be more convenient to handle. However, if you want to fish outside or while sitting, a longer rod will be much more comfortable.
Let’s take a brief look at the factors to consider while choosing the best custom ice fishing rods.
Species You’ll Be Fishing
The first item to consider when refining your selection is the fish species you are most interested in.
Panfish need a rod with a whole different set of characteristics than the northern pike. Begin by determining which fish will most likely be your preferred quarry.
Fish living in icy waters need toughness, while those covered by ice require a strong but delicate backbone to hold their hand-feeders.
Such as those found in ponds or streams which need the rod to be on the light end. However, you may make the target as delicate as the others (for fussy fish like trout and lake trout) by lifting the other with rods and hands from the side.
The majority of fishing poles are constructed of graphite or fiberglass, however, hybrids of graphite and fiberglass are sometimes utilized. Graphite is a light material, which makes it ideal for ink with a fast reaction. It’s very responsive and sensitive.
Fiberglass is strong and difficult to shatter, yet it’s light and lacks the resiliency of graphite. While other varieties of ice would chip and crumble with time, fiberglass ice rods won’t flake as much since their pushrods include springs to increase sensitivity. In composite buildings, you may mix and match the qualities of wood, stone, and concrete.
Ice fishing rods are often shorter than standard rods, measuring between 25 and 28 inches, making them ideal for use when sitting or fishing within a shelter or hut.
This means that you’ll have to use more energy to reel in the fish if you use a shorter pole rather than a longer one. However, if you want to fish from a standing position, a longer rod will be more forgiving, cushioning head movements, and strong hook settings.
Additionally, longer choices are more forgiving and assist you in landing larger fish with less physical effort. This category includes rods up to 40 inches in length.
Sensitivity is critical for hard water fishermen. Firstly, many species are far less aggressive in the winter. This is especially true for panfish.
Grip and Handle
Because you’ll be wearing gloves while fishing, a solid and comfortable grip on your ice fishing pole is critical. Rods are often equipped with cork, foam, or plastic handles.
Cork grips are ideal for ice fishing because of its low weight, comfort, and susceptibility. It enables the detection of small hits.
Certain high-end graphite-based grips are incredibly sensitive yet rather costly. EVA foam is a lightweight and durable material. A handle-friendly design that enhances biting detection.
Action and Power
Statistics indicate the amount of force required to bend the rod, and ranges from very light to somewhat heavy. When fishing for panfish, you should start with low action and gradually increase the force to catch bigger fish like trout or walleye.
Having said that, experts concur that the most frequent error is choosing an excessively stiff rod. Although this may assist in landing a monster fish, it’s excessive when considering the typical fish species sought when ice fishing.
Additionally, rods with greater action or bend make jigging simpler and will assist you in catching light strikes by bending the tip when the fish comes into contact with the bait.
When purchasing a rod, keep in mind the lures you want to use. The rod and lure must be adjusted properly. If they aren’t, you’ll lose sensitivity and will be unaware when a fish is approaching your line.
Because you choose lures depending on the kind of fish you want to target, all of these aspects should be considered. If you’re fishing for bluegills, for instance, a jig lure is an excellent alternative.
If you intend to jig aggressively, you want your rod tip to have very little flex. However, if the tip is too frail, you will rapidly weary. If you’re going to be jigging for bass, you’ll need a rod with a lot of power and rapid action.
A rod intended for fishing in cold temperatures must have a high degree of stiffness. Simply said, the strength of the materials and the structure of the pole will have a considerable impact on how long an ice fishing product will survive.
A proper reel seat protects a worn or damaged pole from holding residual stress, hence preserving the pole’s performance.
Graphite, which is more robust but has a higher fatigue resistance to cracking, is lighter and may be employed in lighter applications. Composite rods may be made of two or more constituent materials, but are often stronger.
If you’re seeking a unique outdoor experience, ice fishing is ideal. It’s distinct from open water fishing and needs specialized equipment. With the proper knowledge and practice, you’ll be able to appreciate cold weather in a whole new manner.
The fishing pole you use is important, as you’ve just read. Ice rods are shorter and more sensitive than standard rods. They come in a range of actions and capacities, so keep in mind which ones you’ll want depending on your approaches and fish species.
The rods featured in this review provide excellent performance but if you’re looking for the best ice fishing rods, we highly recommend the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo Reel & Rod. It’s a perfect reel and rod combination that delivers excellent performance and durability.