Rarely are straws drawn when it comes to seeing who will be the first to venture onto early ice; it’s usually the biggest, bravest buddy in the bunch (a.k.a. “the lab rat”) who forges out ahead of the rest. With a spud in hand and Hail Mary’s rolling off the tongue, it takes a throw-your-arm-out-of-its-socket thrust from one of those dime-store ice chippers to get steel to strike and penetrate the surface, even through unsafe ice. If all goes as planned, the spud never breaks, nor does the surrounding ice.
But take heart. Whether a big boy or average-size Joe, Frabill’s new Ice Chisels help ease an angler’s uncertainty and tools you up like the White Knight of ice fishing. All models are breakthrough in design (pun intended), heavy in weight and sport a machined, stair-stepped cutting surface that, unlike spuds of the past, send significant chunks flying with each whack.
“Chisels are essential gear, whether it’s first ice, last ice, or when testing pressure cracks and heaves on the Great Lakes,” said Captain Pat Kalmerton, warrior ice-fishing guide and Frabill Pro Staff. “Catching fish isn’t worth falling through, and Frabill’s new Ice Chisels are an inexpensive price to pay for peace of mind when I’m testing ice conditions.
“And as an admitted tip-up-a-holic, the Ice Chisels are primo for reopening frozen holes when I’m working strings and strings of holes, constantly relocating flags in extreme cold temperatures.”
Four new models come chopping through for 2011-12: three with PVC-dipped handles and safety tether, and all with a protective sheath to separate blade from angler and Murphy’s Law.
Chunkier than the typical chipper is Frabill’s Standard Ice Chisel, coming in at 53-inches and 5.5 pounds of nastiness. The 60-inch 1-Piece Ice Chisel bottoms out the scales at 10-pounds for maximum crushing and striking. Next is the 2-Piece Ice Chisel that stretches out to 64-inches, weighs a bold 12-pounds, yet breaks down into two 32-inch sections for easy transport and storage. A 26-inch, “mini me” 4.5-pound Short Chisel is forged to unseat conventional tip-ups from frozen holes and chip out everything aside from your partner’s boot.
Although your ice spud’s been around longer than Great Grandpa himself, it’s really just a blunt steel pole when jousting up against Frabill’s new Ice Chisels.