You don’t need a gas or electric auger to drill through hard ice efficiently. With the right manual ice auger and some expert techniques, you can spend more time fishing and less time struggling. Here are four pro tips to help you get the most out of your manual ice auger.
Opt for the Right Size: Select an ice auger that suits your needs. If you don’t require large holes, go for a 6-inch auger instead of an 8-inch model. A 6-inch auger cuts through ice more quickly and smoothly, and it’s perfect for catching trout, panfish, and pickerel. For larger species like pike or walleyes, you might consider a wider hole.
Keep Blades Sharp: Invest in spare blades and carry an extra pair with you in case of accidental nicks or dulling. Sharp blades are crucial for efficient drilling. If you notice your blades are biting more than they’re cutting, use a file to hone them. The sharper your blades, the easier the drilling process becomes.
Dress Smart: To stay warm and comfortable, choose your clothing wisely. Opt for a thin, moisture-wicking base layer to prevent post-drill chills. You’re likely to work up a sweat while drilling, and moisture-wicking materials will keep you dry. Staying toasty while actively drilling is one thing, but a wet cotton base layer can lead to discomfort when you’re sitting motionless over a hole.
Master Proper Drilling Form: Effective hand auger drilling is all about using the right form. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and ensure secure footing, perhaps by wearing ice cleats. Position the handle at chest height. Your top hand should maintain a steady position without unnecessary side-to-side movement, applying constant pressure, while the bottom hand turns the screw. Maintain an upright posture throughout the drilling process—avoid hunching over for better results.
With these expert tips and a suitable manual ice auger, you can conquer the ice with ease and enjoy more productive and comfortable ice fishing adventures.