Peer into most portable ice fishing shelters and you’re going to see a lot of mankind and a mess of gear – that’s the nature of the sport. From dunking flasher transducers and underwater cameras, playing and landing fish, and moving gear around, we’re constantly in and out of our seats with wide sweeps of arms, elbows, rods, gear and fish. Of course, then somebody needs to visit the little boy’s or girl’s room and it’s time to rearrange everything so nobody trips or deep-sixes rods, reels, electronics, etc. when they exit via the front or rear door.
Frabill’s solution? The roomy and incredibly fishable SideStep Entry Shelters: Fishouflage Ambush, Ambush DLX and Thermal Ambush Deluxe.
Now each angler has a side door with heavy-duty zipper for easy access both in and out of the shelter, meaning no wasted energy moving gear around every time nature calls or it’s time to scout new spots.
There’s the safety factor, too. We’ve seen some pretty big guys hauled off the ice who’ve smacked noggins and green-sticked various parts trying to navigate 5-gallon buckets, electronics and other gear in tiny spaces.
Speaking of man-sized anglers, they’ll love the increased headroom. Now that the front wall is upright and not sloped, there’s finally room inside for longer rods and unobstructed hooksets. And that means plenty of room for standing up, stretching, and entering/exiting the house without back strain, too.
Frabill heavyweight champ Brian “Bro” Brosdahl – a full-figured lad – approves of the clever side doors and vertical shelter face. “It’s hard for even small guys to navigate around flashers, heaters, underwater cameras and other stuff when they need to get some air. Take a guy my size, and something’s going to get broken. The new SideStep door configuration does away with tripping over bait buckets and crushing combos.
“Add in the straighter front wall, and the increase in fishable space is immediately noticeable. That, and I can finally set the hook with my longer rods without scraping the fabric wall.”
Plus, when the house is oriented with the wind to the back, side doors keep the shelter from allowing nasty blasts of wind and snow inside—or even worse, shifted off a money, fish-holding spot.
Available in three footprints that accommodate two to three anglers, each model sets up and folds down with the ease and speed of a standard flip-over shelter. And each is built into Frabill’s extra-tough, thermo-formed base sled with an easily-extended solid 7/8-inch no-condensation aluminum frame, and features modular deluxe padded swivel boat seats. Weight isn’t burdensome, either—even less than most flip-over shelters!
Plus, they look cool. The Frabill SideStep Entry Fishouflage Ambush, Ambush DLX, and Thermal Ambush DLX all feature panels of Fishouflage’s patented Walleye pattern in both a heavy-duty V600 Denier or premium 3 ply quilted insulated fabric, licensed exclusively for use on the SideStep Entry Ambush line.
Simply, Frabill’s SideStep Entry Shelter is the biggest innovation in portable ice shelters since the flip-over was first introduced.
Image courtesy Frabill