Because ice-fishing reels are so small, it’s important to spool up fresh Sufix line before each new season. Small spools cause coils, and coils cost you bites.
“What happens is that those coils are like a spring, and they absorb the precise movements you make with your rod tip,” explains ICE FORCE pro Tom Neustrom. “So none of that action makes it to your bait.”
The longer fishing line resides on your reel’s spool, the more “memory” it will develop. Line with a lot of memory won’t come off your reel spool straight. Instead, it jumps off in tight coils that restrict your bait’s action, preventing it from looking natural. “And because ice-fishing reels have much smaller diameters than open-water reels, they create more and tighter coils,” Neustrom explains.
Ensuring line strength is another reason to re-spool with fresh Sufix before the start of a new season on the ice.
“Not only are the edges of ice sharp, there’s a million things in your ice house, sled and garage that could have grabbed, nicked and weakened your line between the start of last season and when you hung up your rods last spring,” Neustrom says. “If you don’t re-spool, it’s not if you’ll break off a big fish, but when.”
And for the same reason, periodically removing some line throughout the season is essential as well.
“You don’t have to start from scratch and re-spool mid-season, but you do want to remove sections of line that get a lot of wear and tear,” Neustrom explains. “Simply peel off 25 to 30 yards every three or four outings, and then re-tie your baits.”
To prevent line twist when re-spooling, lay your new spool label-side down, run the line through a big book to put little pressure on it, and then reel slowly, making sure the line is coming off the spool in a counter-clockwise direction.
For winter walleye, your best bet is 6- to 8-pound Sufix Elite monofilament line. For pike through the ice, use 8- to 10-pound Sufix Elite mono. Featuring unbeatable strength, easy handling, and superior tensile and knot strength, Sufix Elite line comes in 10 test-strengths and four colors (camo, clear, hi-vis yellow and low-vis green).
Spooling up for panfish? Use 2- to 4-pound test Sufix Ice Magic line. Because panfish baits are so much smaller than walleye and pike baits, lighter line is need to make them react correctly to subtle jigging strokes.
A high-performance monofilament designed to stay manageable even in frigid water, Sufix Ice Magic features special additives that deter water absorption that causes ice build-up. Additionally, it sinks fast for a more natural presentation. It comes in six test-strengths (1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8) and two colors (clear, neon orange).