One Home Made Tip-Up Plan
To start this series on home made tip-ups, I thought I should begin with quite possibly the best tip-up design I have ever seen catch fish on the ice. I don't actually have this model at hand in my arsenal, and have just seen it in use, so you will have to bear with my hand-drawn tip-up plans, but it is so simple, there isn't any way you could screw this up. Click here to start at step 1 of this fantastic home made tip-up design
Good Engineering Is Evident in the Simplicity of the Design
Someone much smarter than me said something like that sometime. And never has it been more true than in the design of this ice fishing trap. It is hard to call it a tip-up, or even a tip-down, since it has no tips, per se, but while I covered the pond with polar traps and sophisticated, high-priced designs, these two older gentlemen stood, casually glancing at their traps, and out-caught me time and time again.
How Does It Fare Against Our Goals?
In the introductory post to the topic of home made tip ups, I set forth a few goals. Here they are, along with their rating on a scale of 1-5:
- Is it portable? 5 out of 5. you could easily carry 3 or 4 of these, even in their largest forms, in one rucksack. You could build this tip up with smaller PVC, and then carry even more of them.
- Is it fail-safe? 4 out of 5. When discussing their design with the men I saw using them, they even complained about it freezing up. The solution, though, is extremely simple. The tip-ups need to be checked to ensure they haven't frozen to the ice, and the line peeled off of the spool once and a while to ensure that at least some of it will come off of to give the fish a running start.
- Is it effective? 4 out of 5. Yes, it will hook fish. Yes, it will operate, but it has to be watched. The alarm isn't a "passive" alarm like a flag, which alerts you after any activity has occurred. Instead, you only can tell if a fish is actively spooling out line.
- Is it easy to use? 5 out of 5. Check for depth, drop down the line, wrap the line up by hand when you are done. Simple as can be.
- Can it be replicated? 5 out of 5. The most expensive part of the design is the line, and once you have the supplies at hand, it takes about 5 minutes to make one.
There are also the pieces of the tip-up, once we have dissected it. Here is how I scored each piece individually:
- Spool 4 out of 5. This trap is in and of itself, its own spool. It is very simple, which is great, and won't bind up, but the possibility for free-spooling exists (although it is a low possibility), so I subtracted one point. There is no drag, nothing to slow down a fish's ability to run with the line.
- Anchor 5 out of 5. To get this trap to go through the ice, you would have to intentionally do so. If you sprayed some Great Stuff into one end of it to make it buoyant, it would help it float as well, and wouldn't stop you from carying it out to the ice either.
- Alarm 4 out of 5. There is an alarm, but it has to be watched. If a fish pulled some line, then left the line slack, you wouldn't know that anything had happened. This alarm only operates when the fish is actively pulling line out.
Let's Get Started
- 1 length of PVC, 4" diameter works best. It must be longer than the diameter of your auger. I suggest about 18" of it.
- 25-50 yards of braided fishing line. You can use tip-up line if you like, it doesn't freeze as harshly, so it might be a good idea, but it isn't necessary.
- One can of either black, or brightly colored (pink, orange, whatever) spray paint.
- One small drill bit.
- If you have longer lengths of PVC, you will need a hack saw.
Step 1; create the anchor/spool/alarm
- Drill two holes through the PVC in its center.
- Using your spray paint,make one quarter of the PVC a different color from the rest.
Step 2; Tie on your line
- Thread the tag end of your line through both holes in your PVC
- Wrap the tag end back to your spool, and tie using a strong, secure knot of your choosing (any fishing knot recommended for line-to-line use will work)
Step 3; Spooling & Use
- Wrap the line around the center of the tip-up.
- Drill your auger holes and place the tip up with the tie-down hole directly above the ice-hole, so the line dangles freely into the water.
- Attach whichever type of tip-up rig you prefer. Tip with your favorite bait.
When a fish strikes, and takes out line, the PVC will spin, spooling off the line. From a distance, you will see the colors you spray painted flashing against the ice.
Step 4; Catch Fish!
You will need to set the hook like you standardly would on a tip-up, but otherwise you are done. To reiterate, you will need to watch this trap. This type of active alarm will not reliably tell you if activity has happened in the past, and can only identify if activity is occurring now. Good luck!