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Tip ups are some of the simplest tools for getting multiple remote lines spread out over an area on the ice. They’re easy to setup and can be adjusted for any species you might be fishing for from panfish to pike and beyond. Wisconsin fishing guide and co-owner of Wolf Pack Adventures, Pat Kalmerton, shares a couple beginner tutorials for ice fishing with general tip ups so you can put them to use more effectively based on your target species.

How to Use Tip Ups Effectively

The functionality of most rail style tip ups is about the same. To adjust the compression on the spring, or rather the bite sensitivity of the tip up, simple move the shaft attached to the reel up and down. The further the reel is positioned upward, the less resistance on the compression of the flag which is most ideal for panfish. Positioning the reel further down, on the other hand, creates more resistance and is best for targeting larger species, especially when setting your lure with a live minnow. To further reduce the resistance for the lightest biting or finicky panfish, you can angle the shaft to the side to make the line even easier to pull from the spool.

Keep in mind that most round style thermal tip ups offer almost the same functionality as the rail style shown in the video above, so the same principles apply for making adjustments when targeting different species on those as well.

A couple of general tip up pointers to remember:

  • Make sure your line goes through the line guide. This ensures that your line won’t swing around in the hole or get peeled off the spool in a mess, and makes it easier to grab to set the hook and easy to reel in to reset.
  • Ensure that your reel and the line coming out of it are not touching the edge of the ice. This is especially important when tilting your tip up shaft to the side to reduce or increase bite sensitivity.
  • When you go to set the hook after a flag goes up, feel gently for the weight of the fish before setting the hook.
  • If you find yourself fighting with freeze-over constantly in your rail style tip up holes, here’s a tip on a simple product that can help.
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