Somewhere Along The Ice Belt, North America Oct. 25, 2011 – One of the sweetest things about my boat is what’s called “fishability.” My Lund is simply the most supremely comfortable and convenient craft from which I’ve ever battled a hawg walleye. Every last piece of my gear—rods, livebait, electronics, tackle, tools, even snacks and beverages—all reside within handy reach or at least direct line of sight. It’s like fishing from the big recliner in my living room, clicker and cold drink always at my fingertips. Organization is a huge deal anytime I’m on the water, even if that water happens to be of the hard, frozen variety.
For years, I’ve been waiting for someone to come along and engineer a truly fishable, functional “boat on ice.” I’m talking about an ingenious portable ice shelter that begets mobility and comfort; one that fishes, tows and functions as slick as it looks. Be nice too, if this new boat-on-ice offered an intelligently designed gear storage system. And of course, none of this matters unless the shelter keeps you warm, while also offering a layout that simply “feels right” when you’re seated and jigging.
I’m happy to tell you that Frabill got it right when they recently launched their revolutionary ‘Shuttle Program.’ Only these aren’t spaceships. Rather, they’re “iceships” truly worthy of the name.
The fundamental “bass boat / walleye boat” design is built upon a benchmark hull. So too is Frabill’s new hard top MAX series, which feature Shuttle bases. Just like your summer boat, the Shuttle base gives you an integrated rod locker that houses numbers of rod and reel combos. It has a center console that keeps essential gear, such as lures, clippers and bait ready for a quick grab. A bulk storage hatch provides fast access to my MarCum flasher and underwater camera. And a roomy base allows for even more bulk storage of large items, such as tackle bags.
It’s why my new shelters for winter guiding are the Frabill Trekker MAX and Commando MAX. For hot evening bites or night crappie runs, I’ve even tricked out my shelters by clipping on several of Frabill’s Super Bright Shelter Light and 4-way Light Bar. These things discharge a blazing volume of light on a mere few AA batteries. Plus, each light is fully directional, so I can focus right on my lure, while tying knots, another light stays pointed at my hole and one at my bait container.
My clients and I fish warm, comfortably and organized all winter—it’s a big reason why we’re always leaps ahead of the crowd. And if I do say so, we look rather sporty out there while whacking the fish.