Brett McComas

Don’t forget to “summerize” your ice-fishing gear

Because we betcha haven’t done it yet…are we right? Lol.

It can be easy to pile all your ice schtuff in the corner of the garage and leave it for next year — I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been “that guy” and it cost me…never again. Taking the time to properly “summerize” your ice gear can save you from a big headache come next season.

Portable fish house storage

> If you’re running a flip-over style shack, odds are the bottom of your sled is preeeetty gross from a season’s worth of fish slime, bait, and who knows what else.

> I’ll take a deck scrub brush with a little warm + soapy water and clean out those nasty crevices — wipe dry after. Not fun at the time, but you’ll thank yourself come fall.

> One of the biggest killers from long-term shack storage is moisture…ultimately leading to mold. A super easy way to air out your shack(s) is to set ‘em up in your yard on a sunny day and really let ‘em dry — neighbors might look at you funny but it works.

> Throw some dryer sheets and cheap car air fresheners in your shack to keep the critters out. Shouts to Brad Hawthorne for the tip! Said he likes the Gain brand ones ‘cuz they smell horrible (lol). Throws 8-10 of ‘em and a pair of air fresheners in each shack.

> Another great way to keep the critters outta your shack is to get it up off the ground. Lots of different budget-friendly ways to do it, but one of the better options we’ve see (if you’re willing to spend some $$$) is the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift. Fish-head Steve Kloos just installed one and is already thinking ’bout picking up another — easy to see why.

> If you position a lift system like that just right, you can lower the shack to tailgate height and slide it right into the bed of your truck…. Can also get a drill attachment to crank the whole thing up and down. #Jackpot

Rods, reels and tackle

> Dial back the drags on your reels! Definitely increases the longevity of drag systems.

> Leaving line on ice reels over the off-season can leave you with a coiled mess come first ice. Way easier to strip the line off your reels now and start fresh come next season.

> The end of the season is also the perfect time to grease/oil your reels. It’s cheap and can add years to your gear.

> I like to take all my reels off my ice rods and store separately. You can fit a pile of rods securely in a hard case like this super-popular one from Otter.

> Empty out your tackle boxes and wipe down lures for any moisture that’s left, then wipe the inside of the boxes. Nothing’s worse than rusty jigs come first ice.


> Gas augers: Be sure to change the oil and clean the spark plugs. Some like to drain any remaining gas and add fuel stabilizer — making sure to pump through the fuel lines with the primer bulb.

> Draining gas can be a huge pain and sometimes do more harm than good. It can dry out and crack gaskets, and seals…or invite corrosion = no bueno.

> Additive like AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer fight fuel deterioration and can “help keep fuel fresh for up to 12 months…prevents the formation of varnish and sludge…eases starting process when taken out of storage.” Only takes 1-oz to treat 2.5 gallons of fuel that contains up to 10% ethanol.

That’s how you summerize…here’s how we summarize: Without Gasoline Stabilizer, your motor could get:


> Electric augers: Charge your batteries throughout the off season — monthly if possible — to get the most out of ‘em. Same goes for electronics.

One last thing…when you’re going through your gear, take an inventory and make a list of what you need for next season. If you’re like me, the list might be pretty long….

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